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C. Appointments to the judiciary

1. Qualifications of members of the judiciary

a. QUALIFICATIONS

1) In general

A Member of the Judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity, and independence. (Section 7[3], Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)

2) Supreme Court

No person shall be appointed Member of the Supreme Court unless he is:

1) A natural-born citizen of the Philippines;

2) At least forty years of age; and

3) Must have been for fifteen (15) years or more a judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines. (Section 7[1], Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)

3) Lower collegiate courts

No person shall be appointed Member of the Supreme Court or any lower collegiate court unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. (Section 7[1], Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)

4) Lower courts

The Congress shall prescribe the qualifications of judges of lower courts, but no person may be appointed judge thereof unless he is:

1) A citizen of the Philippines; and

2) A member of the Philippine Bar. (Section 7[2], Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)

a) Regional Trial Courts

No person shall be appointed Regional Trial Judge or Regional Trial Judge-at-Large unless that person is:

1) A natural-born citizen of the Philippines;

2) At least thirty-five (35) years of age; and

3) Has been engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines or has held a public office in the Philippines requiring admission to the practice of law as an indispensable requisite, for at least ten (10) years. (Section 15, B.P. Blg. 129, as amended by R.A. 11459)

b) Metropolitan, Municipal, and Municipal Trial Courts

No person shall be appointed judge of a Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Circuit Trial Court, or a Municipal Trial Judge-at-Large unless that person is:

1) A natural-born citizen of the Philippines;

2) At least thirty (30) years of age; and

3) Have been engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines, or has held a public office in the Philippines requiring admission to the practice of law as an indispensable requisite, for at least five (5) years. (Section 26, Ibid.)

b. TERM

The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts shall hold office during good behavior until:

1) They reached the age of seventy (70) years’ or

2) Become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office. (Section 11, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)

2. Judicial and Bar Council

a. Composition

1) Composition

The Judicial and Bar Council shall be composed of:

1) The Chief Justice as ex officio Chairman;

2) The Secretary of Justice; and

3) A representative of the Congress as ex officio Members;

4) A representative of the Integrated Bar;

5) A professor of law;

6) A retired Member of the Supreme Court; and

7) A representative of the private sector. (Section 8[1], Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)

a) SC Clerk of Court as Secretary ex officio

The Clerk of the Supreme Court shall be the Secretary ex officio of the Council and shall keep a record of its proceedings. (Section 8[3], Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)

2) Supreme Court supervision

A Judicial and Bar Council is hereby created under the supervision of the Supreme Court. (Section 8[1], Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)

3) Presidential appointment for regular members

The regular Members of the Council shall be appointed by the President for a term of four (4) years with the consent of the Commission on Appointments. (Section 8[2], Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)

3) Emoluments

The regular Members of the Council shall receive such emoluments as may be determined by the Supreme Court. (Section 8[4], Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)

The Supreme Court shall provide in its annual budget the appropriations for the Council. (Section 8[4], Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)

b. Powers

1) Principal function

The Council shall have the principal function of recommending appointees to the Judiciary. (Section 8[5], Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)

a) SC Members and Lower Court Judges

The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least three (3) nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every vacancy. (Section 9, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)

Such appointments need no confirmation. (Section 9, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)

1) Lower Court Judges

For the lower courts, the President shall issue the appointments within ninety days (90) from the submission of the list. (Paragraph 2, Section 9, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)

2) Ancillay function

It may exercise such other functions and duties as the Supreme Court may assign to it. (Section 8[5], Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)

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