MANILA — The Supreme Court en banc has accepted the retirement of Associate Justice Edgardo Delos Santos, leaving the high court with 2 vacancies — one for his post and the other for the post vacated by Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo.
In a notice released Monday, the Supreme Court said magistrates decided in an en banc session on May 12 to accept the retirement of Delos Santos.
“Acting on the Letter dated May 5, 2021 of Associate Justice Edgardo L. Delos Santos, the Court Resolved to APPROVE his request for optional retirement, effective June 30, 2021, for reasons pertaining to his current state of health, subject to the (i) availability of funds and (ii) usual clearance requirements,” it said.
Delos Santos told Supreme Court Public Information Office chief Brian Keith Hosaka in March that he was considering that possibility due to health reasons.
No other details were given regarding his sudden decision to retire.
His announcement in March came after a photo of his letter to the staff thanking them for their hard work circulated online.
In that letter, he confirmed his “decision to hang my judicial robe early” and thanked his staff for their hard work.
Delos Santos’ early exit from the high court follows several early retirements — from Justice Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla, who retired also due to health reasons; to Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta’s decision to retire with 1 more year left, which is still unexplained to this day.
15 VIE FOR CJ’S ASSOCIATE JUSTICE POST
Meanwhile, 15 applicants are vying for the associate justice post vacated by Gesmundo when he assumed to top magistrate post.
Six of the 15 applicants are from the Court of Appeals:
-Associate Justice Nina Antonio-Valenzuela
-Associate Justice Apolinario Bruselas, Jr.
-Associate Justice Ramon Cruz
-Associate Justice Japar Dimaampao
-Associate Justice Ronaldo Martin
-Associate Justice Maria Filomena Singh
Four of the applicants are justices from the Sandiganbayan:
-Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang
-Associate Justice Rafael Lagos
-Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg
-Associate Justice Alex Quiroz
Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez and his deputy Raul Villanueva are also applying for the post, as well as former Ateneo Law School Dean Sedfrey Candelaria.
Finance Undersecretary Antonette Tionko and private practitioner Benedicta Du-Baladad are also in the running.
Du-Baladad, Econg, Lagos and Martin are set to be interviewed on June 2 by the Judicial and Bar Council, the body tasked to screen applicants to the Judiciary.
The public interviews of Quiroz, Tionko and Villanueva are scheduled for June 3.
The rest still have valid public interviews.