MANILA - Fifteen personalities have so far applied or were endorsed for the position of Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice, the last magistrate of the high tribunal to be appointed by President Aquino before he steps down in 2016.
The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) opened the period of application, in view of the compulsory retirement of Associate Justice Roberto Abad on May 22.
Among the nominees are Commission on Audit (COA) chairperson Maria Gracia Pulido-Tan, Court of Appeals (CA) Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr., several magistrates from the CA and Sandiganbayan, and Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza.
Pulido-Tan was appointed by Mr. Aquino in 2011 to head the COA up to Feb. 2, 2015, 3 years short of the 7-year term for COA chiefs.
She will head the commission only for 4 years because she is only serving the remaining years of the term of her predecessor, Reynaldo Villar.
Tan served as Finance undersecretary from 2003 to 2005; prior to that, from 2002 up to 2003, she was a member of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).
The COA, under Tan, conducted a special audit on the usage of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers. The special audit report stated misuse of the fund by several lawmakers, and served as basis for the filing of graft charges before the Office of the Ombudsman by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
CA PRESIDING JUSTICE ANDRES REYES JR.
CA Presiding Justice Reyes is a 3rd generation Reyes magistrate; his grandfather, Alex Reyes, served as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, while his father and namesake, Andres Jr. also served as Presiding Justice of the appellate court.
Reyes served the Office of the Ombudsman through its Special Prosecutors Office, and also served as a judge of the Makati Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 61.
Under his leadership, the CA established a one-stop processing center.
He was previously shortlisted for SC Associate Justice.
CA ASSOCIATE JUSTICE NINA ANTONIO-VALENZUELA
Valenzuela served as Presiding Judge of the Manila Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 30, and Vice Executive Judge of the MeTC Manila.
Then she served as Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge of Manila RTC Branch 28.
Valenzuela was also a member of the academe prior to her appointment to the appellate court: she taught at the St. Scholastica's College, and at the Adamson University College of Law.
CA ASSOCIATE JUSTICE APOLINARIO BRUSELAS
Before being appointed to the CA, Bruselas was a special commercial court judge, and 1st Executive Judge of the Quezon City RTC.
He also served a member of several task forces in the Dept of Justice (DOJ).
He handled the case involving the custody of US serviceman Daniel Smith, who was charged for the rape of a Filipina in Subic.
He is a Bar Examiner for Remedial Law in the 2013 Bar Examinations.
Bruselas was previously an applicant for the same SC post.
CA ASSOCIATE JUSTICE ROSMARI CARANDANG
Carandang was 9th placer in the 1975 Bar Examinations.
She graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines College of Law.
Carandang served as a Manila RTC judge.
She was previously shortlisted for SC Associate Justice.
SANDIGANBAYAN ASSOCIATE JUSTICE MARIA CRISTINA CORNEJO
Cornejo served as Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Makati prior to her appointment as magistrate of the anti-graft court.
She was Bar Reviewer in Remedial Law and Criminal Law.
She finished Law from the University of Sto Tomas, cum laude.
CA ASSOCIATE JUSTICE STEPHEN CRUZ
Cruz is both a member of the Philippine Bar and the US Bar.
He served as Presiding Judge of the Lucena City RTC Branch 60, and later on as Vice-Executive Judge.
He is among the CA Division that recently handled and junked the habeas corpus plea of property developer Delfin Lee.
JUDGE REYNALDO DAWAY
Daway is the Presiding Judge of the Quezon City RTC Branch 90.
Among cases he handled is the internal row within Stradcom Corp. between the Sumbilla and Quiambao groups over control of the company.
JOSE MANUEL DIOKNO
Diokno is the Dean of the De La Salle University College of Law, and chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG).
He is a former Special Counsel of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
He previously applied for the SC Chief Justice and Associate Justice posts.
COMMISSIONER MA. ROWENA GUANZON
Guanzon is a commissioner of the Commission on Audit (COA).
She served as Mayor of Cadiz City, Negros Occidental.
Before joining COA, Guanzon taught at the University of the Philippines College of Law, and is a founding member of the Asia Cause Lawyers Network.
CA ASSOCIATE JUSTICE RAMON PAUL HERNANDO
Hernando served as Executive Judge of the San Pablo City, Laguna RTC, and Presiding Judge of the Quezon City RTC Branch 93.
He also served in the executive branch, as a State Prosecutor of the Dept of Justice.
Hernando was also part of the academe, teaching in various schools, and served as a Bar Examiner in Commercial Law in 2009.
SOLICITOR GENERAL FRANCIS JARDELEZA
Jardeleza was Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon prior to his appointment to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).
He placed 3rd in the 1975 Bar Examinations, and is also a member of the US Bar.
Jardeleza served as Senior Vice-President and Legal Counsel of San Miguel Corp.
He was shortlisted for the post of Chief Justice in 2012.
SANDIGANBAYAN ASSOCIATE JUSTICE RAFAEL LAGOS
Lagos was the topnotcher in the 1980 Bar Examinations.
He served as a judge in Quezon City and Lucena, and was also part of the executive branch during the term of President Fidel Ramos as Asst. Secretary.
As a private law practitioner, Lagos served as an attorney of Caltex Philippines, Inc.
Lagos is part of the Sandiganbayan's First Division which handles the case against former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo on the alleged misuse of funds from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
CA ASSOCIATE JUSTICE JOSE REYES, JR.
Reyes served as Presiding Judge of Pasig City MeTC Branch 69, and San Mateo, Rizal RTC Branch 76.
He also served as Executive Judge from June 1995 to July 2003.
Reyes is the chairperson of the CA's Twelfth Division.
CA ASSOCIATE JUSTICE NOEL TIJAM
Tijam served as Presiding Judge of the Quezon City RTC Branch 221.
He was Legal Consultant of the Senate for the following committees: Blue Ribbon Committee, Economic Affairs Committee, Ways and Means Committee, and Ethics and Privileges Committee.
Tijam also served as Asst. Vice-President of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
He was part of the CA's Seventh Division that junked the plea of Reynald Lim, brother of alleged "pork barrel" scam brains Janet Lim Napoles, against the Dept of Justice's finding of probable cause on serious illegal detention charges.
He also inked the appellate court's Special Seventh Division ruling upholding the closure of Banco Filipino.
More names may still be added to the list of applicants for the SC post since applications are also received by mail; the deadline for applications was on March 18.