MANILA -- Supreme Court Associate Justice Mario Victor Leonen said Monday he declined the Supreme Court en banc's nomination to replace Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin.
Leonen, as one of the 5 most senior justices in the Supreme Court, was automatically nominated for the position, subject to his acceptance.
In a statement, Leonen said declining the nomination was the "right thing to do" not only for himself, but also for the Court and the country.
"I will be able to do what I do best for our people in my current position at this time," he added.
Other associate justices who are also automatically nominated are: Antonio Carpio, Diosdado Peralta, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa. They have yet to accept or decline the nomination.
The deadline for for applications and acceptance of nomination is on Tuesday.
Bersamin is set to retire on Oct. 18. - report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News