The long shortlist
By Marites Dañguilan Vitug
The Judicial and Bar Council’s 8 choices for chief justice are dominated by insiders, incumbent Supreme Court justices. But since the process opened up to include those who are not from the Court, the JBC sprinkled its list with 3 outsiders.
This indicates the strong pull of tradition. The most senior member of the Court is usually picked to lead it. Only once in the past, during the occupation of the country by the Japanese forces, was an outsider appointed as chief justice. As Chief Justice Cesar Bengzon said in a speech in 1961, “the conqueror was not then aware or bound by the precedent.”