11 vie for vacant Supreme Court justice post

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 30 2021 08:04 PM | Updated as of Jul 30 2021 11:09 PM

MANILA — Eleven applicants are vying for the Supreme Court (SC) post vacated by retired Associate Justice Edgardo Delos Santos.

Of the 11, two are from outside the judiciary, based on a list released by the Judicial and Bar Council Friday.

They are Comelec Commissioner Antonio Kho, Jr. and Finance Undersecretary Antonette Tionko.

Kho, a former Justice undersecretary during the time of former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, was appointed to Comelec by President Rodrigo Duterte in July 2018 and is expected to serve until February next year. He is a fraternity brother of Duterte and Aguirre.

Tionko, on the other hand, has served in the Department of Finance’s revenue operations and corporate affairs groups since September 2016. Previously, she was a partner at tax firm SGV & Co - Ernst & Young.

Both are set to be interviewed via Zoom on August 11 in the morning.

The other applicants include Court of Appeals justices Apolinario Bruselas, Jr., Ramon Cruz, Japar Dimaampao, Ronaldo Martin and Maria Filomena Singh.

Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Justice Geraldine Faith Econg are also in the running, as well as Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez and his deputy Raul Villanueva.

Their interview is scheduled on August 11 and 12.

Except for Kho, Tionko and Bruselas, all the 8 other applicants have also been shortlisted by the JBC for the vacant SC associate justice post left behind by Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo.

Econg, Villanueva and Martin were recently interviewed by the JBC but SC spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka said a JBC member has the prerogative to recall an applicant for interview.

The also announced 5 vacancies at the Court of Appeals and 1 at the Office of the Ombudsman. 

These are for the associate justice posts vacated by justices Stephen Cruz and Celia Librea-Leagogo when they compulsorily retired last year and by justices Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla and Ricardo Rosario when they were appointed to the Supreme Court and by CA Presiding Justice Remedios Salazar-Fernando when she assumed her current post.

The JBC is also looking for applicants to take the place of Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Paul Elmer Clemente who is set to retire on November 6, 2021.

The oldest among the vacancies is the post of Baltazar-Padilla which had been vacant since July 2020. 

She has since retired from the SC and her SC post has already been filled.