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Arroyo Charter allows 10-year term for SC justices – Colmenares

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Young members of the Supreme Court may end up jobless under the Arroyo-sponsored federal constitution, former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said.

Colmenares said under Article X, Section 12 of the draft Charter under Resolution of Both Houses No. 15, “Members of the Supreme Court shall hold office during good behavior for a term of 10 years or until they reach the age of 70 years, whichever comes first, or become incapacitated to discharge duties of their office.”

He said many young justices whose terms will end after 2022 would find themselves jobless if they have been with the high tribunal for 10 years.

“The 1987 Constitution does not include this limitation,” said Colmenares.

He said incumbent judges may also find themselves unemployed since the draft Charter might allow abolition of their respective office

“Article XVIII Sec. 9 paves the way for the termination even of lower court judges by providing that ‘The incumbent members of the Judiciary shall remain in office until the removed for cause, or by the abolition of their office,” said Colmenares.

Colmenares explained that justices from the Court of Appeals down to Regional Trial Courts may be removed by the abolition of their offices under the same provision

“Giving government employees separation pay is of no help as they will find it difficult to get new employment,” said Colmenares.

The former solon said providing for the massive termination of public officials and government employees was “distasteful and insensitive” if the House leadership under Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo at the same time provide for the lifting of term limits of lawmakers in her proposal.