Friday, June 29, 2012

Questions that must be asked of shortlisted nominees for Chief Justice

In our letter to the JBC last June 28, we put forth questions we believe every candidate for Chief Justice must address. Below are some of my questions but if you have your own, feel free to share them here.

1. How will you maintain your independence regardless of your relationship with the President or any of his political allies and/or critics?

2. What is your stand on the use of the JDF and on allegations regarding the lack of transparency in utilizing this fund?

3. Is the conviction rate of 16 percent in criminal cases acceptable to you? If not, what do you intend to do to raise conviction rates in the country comparable to that of Hong Kong, for example, which has a conviction rate of 79 percent?

4. How will you ensure that our judges and justices do not succumb to corruption?

5. What is your plan to fill up the massive vacancies in courts around our country?

6. The vacancy rate for judgeship positions is now pegged at 25 percent. Is this acceptable to you? If not, then what do you intend to do to address this problem?

7. The average case life in the first-level courts is six years. Is this not a clear violation of the constitutional right to a speedy trial? If you become Chief Justice, what do you intend to do to shorten the trial period? How do you intend to ensure that the average of six years is reduced considerably?

8. Do you think the JELACC should be convened to help address key problems of the justice system? How can the JELACC be an instrument for modernizing the judiciary?

9. Is it fair for the judiciary to be receiving one percent of the national budget? Would you have any proposals in regard to budgetary reforms for the justice system?

Thank you in advance for considering this letter. We fervently hope the JBC members will consider raising these questions to nominees during the public interviews.

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