CA, IPS - 25 September 2014

The Commission on Appointments (CA), yesterday, in its plenary session presided by President of the Senate/Chairman of the Commission Franklin M. Drilon, gave its consent to the nomination of Hon. Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez as member of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) representing the Retired Justices of the Supreme Court and the ad interim appointment of Hon. Jose V. Mejia as member of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) representing the Academe, Supreme Court of the Philippines.

Sandoval-Gutierrez will serve a full-term of four years vice Hon. Regino C. Hermosisima, Jr.. Mejia, on the other hand, whose first term as JBC member expired last July 9, 2014, was granted another four-year term ending on July 8, 2018. He already served as a member of the JBC from May 2011 - July 2014.

Sandoval-Gutierrez, 76, is a Batangueña, who, apart from her various achievements as a lawyer and academician, takes much pride in having raised three lawyer children. Prior her appointment in the JBC, she was dean of the Graduate School of Law at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM), Manila, a partner of the Juris Praesidum Secundum (MCLE Provider), chairman of the Board of Directors of Aliw Broadcasting Corporation (Radio Station DWIZ) and independent director of the Ginebra San Miguel, Inc., Philippine Polypropelyne, Inc. and Purefoods Co. Inc. of the San Miguel Corporation. In public service, Sandoval-Gutierrez was presiding judge at the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila, Branch 19 and Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 37, associate justice at the Court of Appeals, Manila and associate justice at the Supreme Court of the Philippines. She earned her Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) and pursued post-graduate studies and programs at the University of Southern California Delinquency Control Institute, Los Angeles; University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada; University of Texas in Dallas; and at the Harvard Law School. She distinguished herself as the first woman product of UST to be appointed associate justice of the Supreme Court and the first woman president of the Manila Regional Trial Court Judges Association. A recipient of various awards, citations and recognition, she was twice chosen by the Supreme Court as bar examiner in Criminal Law, served in different judicial bodies/committee in various capacities as a member of the High Tribunal and was conveyed the Hall of Fame Award by the Philippine Judges Association in 2013.

Mejia, on the other hand, a native of Polangui, Albay, is also a lawyer and has been with the academe most of his professional career. He was a faculty member and university secretary and legal officer of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) and a professorial lecturer at the International University Foundation, College of the Holy Spirit and Ateneo de Manila University. Prior his appointment as member of the JBC he was a faculty member and professorial lecturer at the Commercial Law Department and College of Law of the De La Salle University (DLSU). He also worked in government where his past positions include being the director of the Special Concerns Office at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and as senior technical assistant and legal consultant at the Office of then Sen. Rene Saguisag. In the private sector, he was an associate at the Sepidoza and Laogan Law Offices, vice president of the Legal and Corporate Affairs of TVI Pacific Group of Companies and a senior partner at the Ligon Solis Mejia Florendo Law Firm. He earned both his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Laws degrees from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1980 and 1985, respectively.

The confirmation of both Sandoval-Gutierrez and Mejia’s nomination and ad interim appointments breezed through swiftly at the Commission’s justice and judicial and bar council committee, headed by Sen. Aquilino “Koko” L. Pimentel III. There were no oppositions or adverse reports against both appointees. During the deliberations on their appointments, they were practically just given the opportunity to make their opening statements without the committee members actually asking questions on them. After a moment of some serious discussions with Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo C. Fariñas about the appointees’ thoughts on relevant issues and their qualifications for their posts, Pimentel recommended their confirmation to the plenary with no objections raised.

The Commission’s committee on constitutional commissions and offices, chaired by Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III, likewise, conducted its deliberations on the ad interim appointment of Hon. Arthur D. Lim as Commission on Elections (COMELEC) commissioner. At the committee level, Lim’s appointment was favorably recommended for confirmation in plenary. The Commission en banc, however, deferred the confirmation of Lim due to the letter submitted by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, who was not present during the committee deliberations, manifesting that she will invoke Section 20 of the Rules should the confirmation of Lim’s appointment be taken up at the plenary session.