Panganiban wonders why Tijam backed JBC’s age cap on Justice wannabes: Noel would’ve been too old for SC
Retired Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban reckons former Associate Justice Noel Tijam should be the last person to back the Judicial and Bar Council’s imposition of an age cap on persons aspiring for the Supreme Court.
“By voting for this new rule, did Justice Tijam imply that he is now in favor of barring those who, like him, are to serve for less than two and a half years? Does he now agree that it is extremely difficult to contribute meaningfully to the work of the Court with a term of less than two and a half years?” said Panganiban in his Inquirer column.
Tijam is part of the seven-member JBC which approved the 2020 Revised Rules requiring applicants for Associate Justice or Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to have at least two and a half years to serve in the post (if they have served as court judge, court administrator, chairperson of a constitutional commission; Solicitor General; or Department Secretary) and at least five years remaining to serve in the post if they have experience.
Panganiban said these rules effectively placed an age cap of between 65 and 67.5 years old on aspirants because they “need some time to adjust to the Internal Rules of the Court and to its distinct judicial culture.”
Panganiban pointed out that had this age cap been adopted three years ago, Tijam would have been disqualified because he was already over 68 years old in March 2017.
“His (Tijam) critics — including then CJ Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno precisely questioned his short stint in the Court: from March 8, 2017 to Jan. 5, 2019. Despite Sereno’s opposition, four JBC members voted for him because of his undisputed qualifications (San Beda College salutatorian/cum laude, notable CA track record) and his commitment during his JBC interview to dispose of 1,000 cases during his brief stint,” said Panganiban who pointed out that Tijam penned the decision ousting Sereno via quo warranto.