MANILA - Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Mariano Del Castillo has declined his automatic nomination for the chief justice post vacated by retired Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, the high court bared Friday.
In a letter to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) dated October 12, 2018, Del Castillo said he was honored to be automatically nominated to the chief justice post but expressed doubt if he has enough time to work on notable projects as top magistrate.
“My compulsory retirement next year, however, compels me to respectfully decline the nomination. I foresee that, as Chairperson of the 2018 Bar Examinations, my work will extend to the months just prior to my retirement. That will leave me not much time to embark on notable projects that a Chief Justice will normally want to have an imprint on,” he said.
Del Castillo will retire on July 29, 2019 when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Aside from Del Castillo, 4 other associate justices are automatically nominated for the CJ post, currently vacant after the retirement of De Castro, who served in the post of 41 days.
She was named to the post just over a month before her scheduled retirement to replace Maria Lourdes Sereno, who was ousted from her post in May. De Castro was among eight magistrates who voted to remove Sereno from office.
Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin and Diosdado Peralta have already accepted their nominations and have also been interviewed by the JBC during the selection of nominees for Sereno's post.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has also accepted his nomination.
Only Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe has yet to make any statement on her automatic nomination.
The JBC, meanwhile, has extended the deadline for application for the chief justice post. Originally set on October 15, the JBC will now accept applications until October 26.
The SC is also looking to fill the associate justice post left vacant when De Castro became chief magistrate.
On Wednesday, President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Court of Appeals Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando as a new Associate Justice of the 15-member high court.
He took the position left vacant when former Associate Justice Samuel Martires was appointed Ombudsman.