MANILA - Thirteen applicants are vying for the post to be vacated by Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Jose Mendoza, who will be hanging up his robes in August as he reaches the mandatory age of retirement of 70 in the judiciary.
Mendoza's replacement will be the fourth magistrate appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte since he assumed power last year.
The applicants to the post are:
-- Court of Appeals (CA) Presiding Justice Andres Reyes;
-- CA Associate Justice Ramon Bato Jr.;
-- CA Associate Justice Apolinario Bruselas Jr.;
-- CA Associate Justice Rosmari Carandang;
-- CA Associate Justice Stephen Cruz;
-- CA Associate Justice Japar Dimaampao;
-- CA Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando;
-- CA Associate Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier;
-- CA Associate Justice Jose Reyes, Jr;
-- CA Associate Justice Samuel Gaerlan;
-- Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez;
-- Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard Mosquera; and,
-- Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo.
The applicants, with the exception of Mosquera, Gaerlan, and Gesmundo, will no longer undergo public interview by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) in light of their previous interviews over another impending vacancy following the mandatory retirement on July 6 of Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes.
Reyes and Mendoza are fraternity brothers of Mr. Duterte at the San Beda College of Law's Lex Talionis Fraternitas, Inc.
The JBC, the body tasked to screen applicants for posts in the judiciary, Office of the Ombudsman, and Deputy Ombudsmen, is mandated to submit a shortlist for the two SC posts to President Duterte, who has 90 days from the time of vacancy to make his appointments.
A shortlist was already submitted to Malacañang for Reyes' replacement which included CA Presiding Justice Reyes; CA Associate Justices Carandang, Reyes, Jr., Bruselas, Dimaampao, and Lazaro-Javier; and Centro Escolar University Law School Vice Dean Rita Linda Ventura-Jimeno.
The JBC is composed of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, one representative each from Congress, retired SC justices, the academe, private sector, and Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
Duterte's first appointments to the high court are Associate Justices Samuel Martires and Noel Tijam.