Peralta now presides over JBC

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 06 2012 12:44 PM | Updated as of Jul 07 2012 01:50 AM

Peralta is 5th most senior SC justice

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will now be presided over by the 5th most senior justice of the Supreme Court (SC) in its search for the next Chief Justice.

Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, who opted not to accept his automatic nomination for the top judicial post, will now serve as the council's Acting Chairman.

The 4 other most senior justices who are also automatically nominated have accepted their nomination: Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco, Jr., Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, and Arturo Brion.

Carpio, who took the place of former Chief Justice Renato Corona as presiding officer, and Velasco and De Castro, who are both JBC consultants for being the 2nd and 3rd most senior magistrates of the high tribunal, have inhibited from sitting in the JBC since they are now candidates for Chief Justice.

Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin will now serve as one of the consultants of the JBC.

Asked why he declined to vie for the post, Peralta said he felt that the more senior magistrates should be given preference.

"In deference to the four senior justices I declined the nomination for Chief Justice," he said.

Peralta said the public can expect "lively proceedings" during the public interviews of the candidates. 

In an an banc decision dated July 3 but released to the media only on Thursday, the Supreme Court, ruling in Dulay vs. the Judicial and Bar Council and Exec. Sec. Paquito Ochoa, held that the most senior magistrate of the high court who is not an applicant for Chief Justice "should participate in the deliberations for the selection of nominees for the said vacant post and preside over the proceedings in the absence of the said constitutionally named Ex-Officio Chairman."

Peralta's career in the Judiciary spans 2 decades. He has earned the monicker "hanging judge" for never hesitating to impose the death penalty on those he found guilty of heinous crimes alleged against them when he was still a trial judge in Quezon City. He imposed the death sentence to 44 accused in the 20 cases that he handled as an RTC Judge, including former Central Police District (CPD) Station Commander Supt. Francisco Ovilla and 9 other police officers who were convicted for qualified bribery after receiving P650,000 from two Chinese drug pushers. He was one of the convenors of the "Guillotine Club, and possessed a 90-percent conviction rate as trial judge.

Peralta was one of the three justices of the Sandiganbayan who found former President Joseph Estrada guilty on Sept. 12, 2007 for the crime of plunder. 

Peralta obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in 1979. He is a professor, reviewer, and lecturer in criminal law and criminal procedure in UST, Ateneo College of Law, University of the East College of Law, Philippine Christian University, San Sebastian College, Cosmopolitan Review Center, and other bar review centers.

He is a recipient of the Judicial Excellence Awards.

Peralta is married to Court of Appeals (CA) Justice Fernanda Lampas-Peralta.