MANILA - Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro will take her oath before President Rodrigo Duterte on August 31, Friday, Special Assistant to the President Bong Go said.
Go said De Castro “has communicated to OP [Office of the President] that she will endeavor to take her oath at the earliest time as soon as SC [Supreme Court] is in receipt of her appointment paper.”
De Castro, 69, will technically be the first woman to serve as chief justice. She replaces Maria Lourdes Sereno, whose appointment to the high court was invalidated last May for failure to submit all her Statements of Assets Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) when she applied for chief justice.
With Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio declining the top judicial post, De Castro became the most senior applicant for chief justice.
She has served in government for 45 years. She was presiding justice of the anti-graft court, Sandiganbayan, before she was appointed to the Supreme Court.
De Castro and 6 other associate justices are facing an impeachment complaint at the House of Representatives for alleged betrayal of public trust over Sereno's removal.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, one of those who filed the impeachment complaint, expressed hope that De Castro's appointment can still be reconsidered given that Malacañang has yet to release her appointment papers.
"Until the President signs the appointment of presumptive Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Teresita de Castro, then there could still be some reasons to reconsider that listing of De Castro...," he told ANC Saturday.
"The fact that the presumptive new chief justice will be appointed very soon by the President, that means to say that everything was rushed and the impeachment complaint should have been given due consideration," he added.
President Duterte has defended De Castro’s appointment, saying he was just following the time-honored tradition of choosing the chief magistrate based on seniority.
Duterte said he will follow this practice not only in the judiciary but in the entire government.
He added there was no politics involved in De Castro's appointment and that he follows a merit system in choosing his appointees.