Marquez bid for SC justice post

MANILA – The Publishers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PAPI) has thrown its unequivocal support for the appointment of the Supreme Court administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez as associate justice of the high tribunal. PAPI is presently headed by Nelson Santos as president.

PAPI is the fifth organization to endorse Marquez following the announcement and letters of support by the Philippine Judges Association (PJA), Philippine Trial Judges League (PTJL), Metropolitan and City Judges Association of the Philippines (MetCJAP), and the Philippine Association of Court Employees (PACE) to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).

Juan P. Dayang, PAPI chairman emeritus, said their group’s endorsement is an affirmation of their trust in Marquez’s experience in the high court, and in appreciation for his abiding concern in protecting the welfare and survival of community newspapers, particularly in the publications of judicial and legal notices.

Dayang said “in many PAPI previous engagements on various concerns, including issues affecting the press, Marquez has always been clear in his position relative to community journalists and the exercise of press freedom, something the media should also be proud of.”

A former president of the Manila Overseas Press Club (MOPC), Dayang stressed that the court administrator’s familiarity with the high tribunal and his supervisory function over lower court judges make him decidedly qualified to become a Supreme Court associate justice.

He also expressed regrets over the move of certain sectors that have raised opposition to Marquez for being shortlisted by the JBC roster.

Recently, in an effort to derail Marquez’s SC bid, Rjhay Laurea, founder of the Group of Unified Youth for Social Change, filed a complaint against on the supposed misuse of the $21.0-million loan from the World Bank.

Marquez, who was SC official spokesman under two chief justices, however, responded and said the project and its funds never passed through his office despite his numerous positions. “That was under the Program Management Office, which was never under my watch,” he explained.

Dayang noted that the move to remove Marquez from the JBC shortlist is not only suspicious given the timing of the complaint and use of a 2003 report as basis. His exclusion will also deprive the community press in the country of an able defender. ####