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G.R. No. 191002 : March 17, 2010 ARTURO M. DE CASTRO, Petitioner, v.

JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL (JBC) and PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL - ARROYO, Respondents. x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x G.R. No. 191032 JAIME N. SORIANO, Petitioner, v. JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL (JBC), Respondent. x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x G.R. No. 191057 PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION (PHILCONSA), Petitioner, v. JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL (JBC),Respondent. x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x A.M. No. 10-2-5-SC IN RE APPLICABILITY OF SECTION 15, ARTICLE VII OF THE CONSTITUTION TO APPOINTMENTS TO THE JUDICIARY, ESTELITO P. MENDOZA, Petitioner, x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x G.R. No. 191149 JOHN G. PERALTA, Petitioner, v. JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL (JBC). Respondent. PETER IRVING CORVERA; CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM; ALFONSO V. TAN, JR.; NATIONAL UNION OF PEOPLE'S LAWYERS; MARLOU B. UBANO; INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES-DAVAO DEL SUR CHAPTER, represented by its Immediate Past President, ATTY. ISRAELITO P. TORREON, and the latter in his own personal capacity as a MEMBER of the PHILIPPINE BAR; MITCHELL JOHN L. BOISER; BAGONG ALYANSANG BAYAN (BAYAN) CHAIRMAN DR. CAROLINA P. ARAULLO; BAYAN SECRETARY GENERAL RENATO M. REYES, JR.; CONFEDERATION FOR UNITY, RECOGNITION AND ADVANCE-MENT OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (COURAGE) CHAIRMAN FERDINAND GAITE; KALIPUNAN NG DAMAYANG MAHIHIRAP (KADAMAY) SECRETARY GENERAL GLORIA ARELLANO; ALYANSA NG NAGKAKAISANG KABATAAN NG SAMBAYANAN PARA SA KAUNLARAN (ANAKBAYAN) CHAIRMAN KEN LEONARD RAMOS; TAYO ANG PAG-ASA CONVENOR ALVIN PETERS; LEAGUE OF FILIPINO STUDENTS (LFS) CHAIRMAN JAMES MARK TERRY LACUANAN RIDON; NATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS OF THE PHILIPPINES (NUSP) CHAIRMAN EINSTEIN RECEDES; COLLEGE EDITORS GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES (CEGP) CHAIRMAN VIJAE ALQUISOLA; and STUDENT CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT OF THE PHILIPPINES (SCMP) CHAIRMAN MA. CRISTINA ANGELA GUEVARRA; WALDEN F. BELLO and LORETTA ANN P. ROSALES; WOMEN TRIAL LAWYERS ORGANIZATION OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by YOLANDA QUISUMBING-JAVELLANA; BELLEZA ALOJADO DEMAISIP; TERESITA GANDIONCO-OLEDAN; MA. VERENA KASILAG-VILLANUEVA; MARILYN STA. ROMANA; LEONILA DE JESUS; and GUINEVERE DE LEON. Intervenors. x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x G.R. No. 191342

... JR.: SEPARATE OPINION: NACHURA. chanroble svirtua|awliba ry Not unexpectedly. J. SEPARATE OPINION NACHURA. They have.. and have ushered an open season for unfettered discussion and for dire prognostication. Instead. 191420 PHILIPPINE BAR ASSOCIATION.. Reynato S. v. The second is the possibility of the appointment by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Courtafter the compulsory retirement of incumbent Chief Justice Reynato S. Respondent.ATTY.R. captured the public imagination. INC.: BRION. The Antecedents In recent weeks... J...: "No amount of exigency can make this Court exercise a power where it is not proper. chanro blesvi rt ua|awlibary It does not matter that these two situations are merely possibilities.-x G.. J. Puno.. I am unable to concur in all of his conclusions. JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL and HER EXCELLENCY GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO.: DISSENTING OPINION: CARPIO MORALES.. and in coffee shops.. in various lawyers assemblies. This has generated frenzied debates in media. two potential scenarios have gripped the public mind. However. Bersamin.. INTING (IBPGovernor-Eastern Visayas). Petitioners. Petitioner. nonetheless. J. v. I vote to dismiss all the petitions because they have utterly failed to present a justiciable controversy. in the academe.. chanro blesvi rtua|awl ibary The core issue is whether the sitting President of the Philippines.: CONCURRING OPINION: ABAD. ROLAND B. (IBP Governor-Southern Luzon). JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL (JBC).."1 cralaw cЃa I am deeply impressed by the very well written ponencia of Justice Lucas P. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. x ... TOLENTINO. Respondents. No. The first is the specter of the failure of our first ever automated election which has evoked numerous doomsday predictions. J. that they are conjectural and speculative at this moment in time. . AMADOR Z.. the controversy posed by the second scenario involving concerns closest to homehas arrived in this Court through various petitions and interventions. Puno on May 17. and ATTY. can validly appoint the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court when the incumbent Chief Justice. It has even spawned a number of rallies and demonstrations by civil society groups and by self-styled constitutional experts... 2010...

Valenzuela and Hon. accept comments on or opposition to the applications. in the given situation. chan roble svirtua|awliba ry As to the time to submit this shortlist to the proper appointing authority. 2010. unanimously agreed to start the process of filling up the position of Chief Justice to be vacated on May 17. in light of two apparently conflicting provisions of the Constitution. 2010 upon the retirement of the incumbent Chief Justice Honorable Reynato S. except temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety. existing laws and jurisprudence.2 cЃa On the other hand.5 cЃa On January 20. thus Sec. Any vacancy shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence thereof. chan roblesv irt ua|awliba ry For the lower courts. respectively. Bago City and of Branch 24." Accordingly. the appointments were nullified. 2010. chanroble svirtua|awliba ry The perceived conflict was resolved in administrative matter. viz. Section 9. the JBC formally announced the opening. thus . chan roble svirtua|awliba ry It will publish the opening of the position for applications or recommendations. Puno. in the light of the Constitution. and prepare the shortlist of candidates. Article VIII. Section 4(1). or seven Members. Any vacancy shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence thereof. for application or recommendation. in its en banc meeting of January 18. Cabanatuan City. 2010. Two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term. Vallarta as Judges of the Regional Trial Court of Branch 62. a President or Acting President shall not make appointments. The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every vacancy. 1998 of Hon.: Sec.4 Therein. In Re Appointments Dated March 30. It may sit en banc or. the President shall issue the appointments within ninety days from the submission of the list. On January 18. conduct public interviews of candidates. publish the names of candidates. The Supreme Court shall be composed of a Chief Justice and fourteen Associate Justices. However. in divisions of three. Placido B. cЃa chanro blesvi rtua|awl ibary The petitions were filed following certain acts of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) related to the constitutional procedure for the appointment of Supreme Court justices. provides a constitutional limitation on the Presidents power of appointment. 9. the JBC welcomes and will consider all views on the matter. Article VII. Section 15.3 in relation to Article VIII. 4(1). specifically in the matter of the appointment of Chief Justice Punos successor. Section 15. were valid. which states that cЃa Sec. 2010. issued within two months before the presidential election in 1998. Article VII. in its discretion. Section 4(1) contains an express mandate for the President to appoint the Members of the Supreme Court within ninety days from the occurrence of a vacancy. has primacy over Article VIII. Mateo A. because the former was "couched in stronger negative language. 15. deliberate on the list of candidates. The Court answered that. Valenzuelas applicability to the present controversy is challenged by most of herein petitioners. the JBC passed a Resolution which relevantly reads: The JBC. five. Such appointments need no confirmation. the Court was confronted with the question of whether the appointments of the concerned RTC judges.compulsorily retires on May 17. of the position of Chief Justice of this Court.

former Solicitor General Estelito P. a definitive ruling on whether. chanroblesv irt ua|awliba ry The Philippine Constitution Association (PHILCONSA) and John Peralta. or prohibition.7 cЃa These developments. obviously hedging against the possibility that the cases would be disallowed on the ground of prematurity. based on the hypothesis that the authority to appoint the Chief Justice pertains exclusively to the Supreme Court.R. plead for the same relief. 2010. Jaime Soriano seeks the issuance by the Court of a writ prohibiting the JBC from continuing with its proceedings. chan roble svi rtua|awli bary Applications or recommendations for this position must be submitted not later than 4 February 2010 (Thursday) to the JBC Secretariat. or even as an administrative matter). PUNO. whether the constitutional prohibition in Article VII. Included in the list of applicants are: (1) Brion. 191057 and 191149. 191032. Jr. petitioners came to Court using different procedural vehicles. and Article VIII. the Court consolidated the petitions and required the JBC and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to file their respective comments. they (except the Soriano petition) share a common bottom line issue. The next stage of the process which will be the public interview of the candidates. c hanro blesvi rt ua|awliba ry Amador Tolentino.M. Section 15. particularly the screening of applicants for Chief Justice. Arturo D. applies to positions in the judiciary and whether the incumbent President may appoint the successor of Chief Justice Puno upon the latters retirement. (3) Corona. chanroble svi rtua|awliba ry Notably.R.. for the guidance of the JBC. in G. Significantly. the JBC. Renato C. 191342. 191002. No. Section 15 of the Constitution. No.. in light of the perceived conflict between Article VII. 10-2-5-SC. petitioners in G. chanroble svirtua|awliba ry .. Antonio T. 2010. stated: 11. in its February 25. (5) Leonardode Castro. of the position of CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT. including the interview of the constitutional experts. (2) Carpio. respectively. imploring this Court to rule.. Section 15. cha nrob lesvi rtua|awl ibary In a cleverly crafted petition which he denominated an administrative matter. 2010 Comment. REYNATO S. having already engendered near-hysterical debates. the JBC decided to proceed with the process of announcing to the public the names of the candidates for the position. impelled a number of petitioners to file suit. No. He posits that it is the Court that must commence its own internal proceeding to select the successor of Chief Justice Puno.. Nos.. as may be needed. although the petitions sport different appellations (for mandamus. Teresita J. chanro blesvi rtua |awlibary In G. and the preparation of the shortlist of candidates have yet to be undertaken by the JBC as of this date. chanro blesvi rtua|awl ibary Thus. chanro blesvi rtua|awl ibary In G. However.e. Edilberto G. Section 4(1). i. HON. to the incumbent President during the period covered in Article VII. which will be vacated on 17 May 2010 upon the retirement of the incumbent Chief Justice.6 cЃa In its February 8. petitioner Arturo de Castro entreats the Court to issue a writ of mandamus to compel the JBC to send the list of nominees for Chief Justice to the incumbent President when the position becomes vacant upon the retirement of Chief Justice Puno on May 17. the incumbent President can validly appoint a Chief Justice after Chief Justice Puno retires on May 17.R.R. No. x x x. including that of Chief Justice. 2010 meeting. Conchita. Mendoza filed A. (4) Carpio Morales. and (6) Sandoval. asks this Court to enjoin and restrain the JBC from submitting the list of nominees for judiciary positions.The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) announces the opening for application or recommendation.

took the position that the incumbent President of the Philippines can appoint the successor of Chief Justice Puno when he retires on May 17. 10 The rationale for this requirement is to prevent the courts through avoidance of premature adjudication from entangling themselves in abstract disagreements. among others. Teresita GandioncoOledan. because they do not raise an actual case or controversy ripe for judicial determination. chan roble svirtua|awliba ry Oppositors-Intervenors Antonio Gregorio III. Marilyn Sta. on the other. Article VIII of the Constitution. and a denial thereof. the pleadings must show an active antagonistic assertion of a legal right. Section 15. because the prohibition in Article VII. and National Union of Peoples Lawyers uniformly contend in their pleadings that the consolidated petitions should be dismissed outright. (2) that the interests of the parties be adverse. Section 15. several motions for intervention with oppositions-in-intervention were received by the Court. that the petitions for mandamus are premature because there is yet no final list of nominees and the position of Chief Justice is not yet vacant. Meanwhile.11 cЃa cЃa cЃa Thus. In other words. Walden Bello. on one hand. Romana. of the Constitution does not apply to appointments in the Supreme Court. 2010. and for us to be satisfied that the case does not present a hypothetical injury or a claim contingent upon some event that has not and indeed may never transpire. the OSG. chanro blesvi rtua|awl ibary As an essential ingredient for the exercise of the power of judicial review.9 The controversy must be justiciabledefinite and concretetouching on the legal relations of parties having adverse legal interests. My Position After careful perusal of the pleadings and painstaking study of the applicable law and jurisprudence. in light of Section 4(1). because of the absence of an actual case or controversy ripe for judicial adjudication and because of petitioners lack of legal standing to institute the cases. cha nro blesvi rtu a|awlibary Oppositors-Intervenors Yolanda Quisumbing-Javellana. and that in the interim. and (4) that the determination of the controversy will result in practical relief to the complainant. in its Comment dated February 26. 2010. Verena Kasilag-Villanueva. Belleza Alojado Demaisip. that is.8 cЃa On the other hand. Peter Irving Corvera. Loretta Ann Rosales. an actual case or controversy involves a conflict of legal rights. which provides that vacancy in the Supreme Court shall be filled within ninety (90) days from the occurrence thereof. Ma. There ought to be an actual and substantial controversy admitting of specific relief through a decree conclusive in nature. 2010 before the 90-day period for appointment mandated in Article VIII. among others. Article XXII of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines. as distinguished from an opinion advising what the law would be upon a hypothetical state of facts. an assertion of opposite legal claims susceptible to judicial resolution. that the incumbent President is prohibited from making appointments within the period prescribed in Article VII.Likewise. Section 4(1) expires. Leonila de Jesus. justiciability requires (1) that there be an actual controversy between or among the parties to the dispute.12 cЃa . the case must concern a real and not a merely theoretical question or issue. the JBC has yet to take a position on when to submit the shortlist to the proper appointing authority. the duties of the Chief Justice can be exercised by the most senior of the incumbent Supreme Court justices. that the next President will still have ample time to appoint a Chief Justice when Chief Justice Puno retires on May 17. chanro blesvi rt ua|awliba ry Oppositor-Intervenor Mitchell John Boiser posits. and Guinevere de Leon contend. I earnestly believe that the consolidated petitions should be dismissed. Article VIII of the Constitution concerning the ban on Presidential appointments "two (2) months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term" and Section 261(g). (3) that the matter in controversy be capable of being adjudicated by judicial power. Section 15.

Justices Carpio and Carpio Morales. This is only the initial stage of the procedure for appointment of a Chief Justice. cЃa cЃa chanrob lesvi rtua|awl ibary PHILCONSA. however intellectually challenging.20 While Mendoza and the other petitioners espouse worthy causes. contends that two applicants for the post. this fact "has created a dilemma/quandary to respondent JBC whether to exclude [from] or include [in the list] the names of said two Senior Justices.By these standards. it has yet to prepare the shortlist and to decide whether it needs to interview constitutional experts. as early as February 10. the same is in the nature of a petition for declaratory relief. it appears that. manifested their interest in their nomination on the condition that the same will be submitted to the next President. cЃa chanrob lesvi rtua| awlibary De Castros and Peraltas submission tends to mislead the Court. Let it be noted that a writ of prohibition is issued to command a respondent to desist from further proceeding in the action or matter specified. of a ministerial duty. Section 15 and Article VIII. The JBC merely started the screening process. they have presented before this Court issues which are still subject to unforeseen possibilities. the consolidated petitions do not present a justiciable controversy because of the absence of clashing legal rights.17 Thus. the issues they raised are hypothetical and unripe for judicial determination. they claim that the Court can now resolve the constitutional question and issue the writ prohibiting the JBC from submitting the list of nominees to the incumbent President. It is clear from the narrated facts that there is yet no list to submit. chanroble svirtua|awliba ry Arturo de Castro and John Peralta justify the propriety of the filing of their respective petitions for certiorari and mandamus by a common thread: that the JBC has deferred its decision as to whom to submit the list of nominees. cЃa cЃa chanroble svirtua|awliba ry . for its part. while it is captioned as an administrative matter. The JBC is still in the process of screening applicants for the position. to the incumbent President. chanroblesv irt ua|awliba ry Settled is the rule that petitions for declaratory relief are outside the jurisdiction of this Court. without a shortlist. cЃa chanroble svirtua|awliba ry As earlier mentioned. if it is already in existence. Since there is no list to be submitted. despite their conditional acceptance of their nominations. like de Castro and Peralta. According to PHILCONSA. From its comment. the Court does not sit to adjudicate mere academic questions to satisfy scholarly interest. Petitioner Mendoza specifically prays for such a ruling "for the guidance of the [JBC]. There is no quandary to speak of. it has yet to undertake the public interview of the applicants. The JBC has merely started the selection process by accepting applications and nominations for the position of Chief Justice. By the JBCs own admission.19 Moreover.18 Likewise." 16 It then prays for this Court to rule on the issue." a relief evidently in the nature of a declaratory judgment. 2010. De Castro and Peralta have not shown or even alleged that the JBC has refused or has been unlawfully neglecting14 to submit its list. Mendoza pleads that this Court interpret two apparently conflicting provisions of the ConstitutionArticle VII.13 They are then asking the Court to compel the JBC to submit the list to the incumbent President. Jr. Jaime Soriano and Amador Tolentino. the JBC had already included the two justices. Section 4(1). in the list of applicants for the post. Mandamus is proper only to compel the performance. there is nothing that this Court can mandate the JBC to submit to the President. allege that the JBC has already started the screening process for Chief Justice.15 The mandamus petition therefore has no leg to stand on as it presents no actual case ripe for judicial determination. when refused. is not completely truthful. The JBC has not even intimated concretely that it will perform the act sought to be prohibitedsubmitting a list to the incumbent President. absent a shortlist of nominees for Chief Justice prepared by the JBC. In other words. cЃa chanroble svirtua|awliba ry As to the petition filed by Estelito Mendoza. there can be no deferment of its submission. there is yet nothing that the Court can prohibit the JBC from submitting to the incumbent President. chan roblesv irtua|awliba ry To justify their petitions for prohibition. cЃa c hanro blesvi rt ua|awliba ry PHILCONSA.

are a "purely academic exercise. the President appointed judges within the constitutional ban and transmitted the appointments to the Chief Justice. 21 which this Court dismissed through the pen of Chief Justice Puno.25 Here. To accede to it is tantamount to an incursion into the functions of the executive department. in his concurring opinion in Director of Prisons v. may decide to submit the shortlist of nominees either before or after the retirement of Chief Justice Puno. It would impair the confidence in its ability to live up to its trust not only on the part of immediate parties to the litigation but of the general public as well. the Mendoza petition cannot be likened to the administrative matter in In Re Appointments of Hon. an indictment of officiousness may be hard to repel. The JBC. Even if the teaching of decided cases both here and in the Philippines is not as clear therefore. but is exercised only to remedy a particular. in other words. The Court only adjudicates actual cases that . 2010 in order to have the principal issue be ripe for judicial determination. an actual controversy ripe for judicial determination existed in that case because a positive act had been performed by the President in violation of the Constitution. to borrow the words of Chief Justice Puno in Lozano. " cЃa cra|aw Further. Again. thus cЃa cЃa cЃa Moreover. as discussed above. the allegations in all the petitions are conjectural or anticipatory. In that case. But still. If it decides to submit the list after May 17. any resolution that this Court might make would constitute an attempt at abstraction that can only lead to barren legal dialectics and sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities. the utmost reluctance on the part of any court to arrogate for itself such a prerogative. these consolidated petitions involve "uncertain contingent future events that may not occur as anticipated. Chief Justice Enrique Fernando. petitioners are asking this Court to render an advisory opinion on what the JBC and the President should do. chan roblesv irt ua|awliba ry The ponencia holds that "we need not await the occurrence of the vacancy by May 17. 2010. I would assume that those of us entrusted with judicial responsibility could not be unaware that we may be laying ourselves open to the charge of presumptuousness. no positive act has been performed by either the JBC or the President to warrant judicial intervention. it may opt to transmit said list of nominees to President Macapagal-Arroyo or to the next President. What if the JBC does not finish the screening process during the subject period? What if the President does not make the appointment? Verily. chanroble svirtua|awliba ry Thus. as shown above.26 This will further inappropriately make the Court an adviser of the President. there may be less than full respect for court decisions.At this point. the incumbent President may either appoint or not appoint the replacement of Chief Justice Puno. Here. again. cЃa chan roble svirtua|awliba ry To repeat for emphasis. there must be the palpable presence of an actual controversy because. The loss of judicial prestige may be incalculable. the Court must not intervene." similar to the recently decided Lozano v. after it has screened the applicants. this Court does not issue advisory opinions.24 cЃa cЃa Moreover. to say the least. Neither can we truly predict what the incumbent President will do if such a shortlist is transmitted to her. there must first be an actual controversy ripe for judicial adjudication. No actual controversy between real litigants exists. Here.22 over which the Court assumed jurisdiction. 23 These consolidated petitions. Ang Cho Kio. several contingent events are still about to unfold. If the list is transmitted to her. Considering that the exercise of judicial authority does not embrace the alien role of a presidential adviser. Valenzuela & Hon.27 specifically counseled against this undue portrayal by the Court of the alien role of adviser to the President. "judicial review is effective largely because it is not available simply at the behest of a partisan faction. before this Court steps in to wield its awesome power of deciding cases. or indeed may not occur at all. the function of the courts is to determine controversies between litigants and not to give advisory opinions. the situation calling for the application of either of the conflicting constitutional provisions will arise only when still other contingent events occur. Vallarta. We cannot assume that the JBC will do one thing or the other. there should be. For us to do so would be to engage in conjecture and to undertake a purely hypothetical exercise. Thereafter." Hence. concrete injury. Clearly. the exercise of which is fraught with possibilities of such undesirable character. It is indefinitely worse if the advice thus gratuitously offered is ignored or disregarded. As no positive act has yet been committed by respondents." That may very well be desirable. Nograles.

Valeo28 and Regional Rail Reorganization Act Cases29 to support its position that "the reasonable certainty of the occurrence of the perceived threat to a constitutional interest is sufficient to afford a basis for bringing a challenge. in Buckley. in those cases. hypothetical." The cited American cases only considered the issue of ripeness and did not confront the absence of an actual case or controversy. NACHURA Associate Justice .30 cЃa With the above disquisition. chanroblesv irtua|awliba ry A final note. I vote for the dismissal of the consolidated petitions. It has not yet transmitted a list to the President. To be sure. cЃa c Ѓa chan rob lesvi rtua|awli bary Here. Further. provided the Court has sufficient facts before it to enable it to intelligently adjudicate the issues. chanroblesvi rt ua|awliba ry The ponencia also sought refuge in the American cases of Buckley v. as. ANTONIO EDUARDO B. or contingent questions. it still has to make the list. the relevant laws. in fact. and ultimately render themselves ineffective dispensers of justice. this is an evil that clearly confronts our judiciary today. As fittingly phrased by Chief Justice Puno in Lozano Given the sparseness of our resources. For courts to indiscriminately open their doors to all types of suits and suitors is for them to unduly overburden their dockets. The President has not yet made an appointment for there is yet no vacancy and no shortlist has yet been transmitted to her. Thus. In light of the foregoing. let it be stated that enough guidance is already provided by the Constitution. they may not even be called into operation. If petitioners only want guidance from this Court. there was the inevitability of the operation of a challenged statute against the appellants.present definite and concrete controversies touching on the legal relations of the parties having adverse legal interests. the capacity of courts to render efficient judicial service to our people is severely limited. It is not time for the Court to intervene. the factual and legal setting is entirely different. I find no compelling need to discuss the other issues raised in the consolidated petitions. No such situation exists in the cases before us. The constitutional provisions in question are not yet in operation. The Court must not be unduly burdened with petitions raising abstract. then. and they were about to exercise powers under the likewise challenged provisions of the statute. The JBC only started the screening of the applicants. and the prevailing jurisprudence on the matter. the members of the Commission were already appointed under the statute being challenged as unconstitutional.