MANILA - The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and some senators on Wednesday lauded the appointment of Supreme Court Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta as the country’s new top magistrate.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier on Wednesday picked Peralta to replace Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin who stepped down on Oct. 18. Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio had served as acting chief magistrate for a few days.
The IBP noted that the seniority rule was followed in Peralta's appointment. He has served the court longer than two other contenders, Associate Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Andres Reyes Jr.
"We are hopeful that, under his leadership, the judiciary will resolve cases much faster inasmuch as his 25 years as magistrate are notable for speedy disposition of cases and innovations to expedite court processes," IBP national president Domingo Egon Cayosa said in a statement.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the President "couldn't have chosen a better qualified Chief Justice."
"CJ Peralta is backed by a wealth of judicial experience. He is known for his integrity and competence who enjoys the respect of his peers and others inside and outside the legal circle," Lacson said in a statement.
Sen. Richard Gordon also praised Peralta, saying the new top magistrate "is more than qualified and the most senior to occupy the post of Chief Justice."
"He can continue to stabilize and provide harmony started by CJ Bersamin. He can and must provide independent judgement by the Supreme Court on all issues of the day. He has been visiting all Courts throughout the Archipelago observing, listening and guiding judges," Gordon said.
It can be recalled that during his interview with the Judicial and Bar Council earlier this month, Peralta told the panel while fighting back tears: “I deserve to be Chief Justice because I worked very hard all these years.”
Peralta was appointed to the high court in January 2009. Previously, he was Sandiganbayan associate and presiding justice from 2002 to 2008.
A native of Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, he graduated from the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law in 1979 and worked in the private sector before he joined the government as an assistant city prosecutor in 1987.
In 1994, he was appointed regional trial court judge in Quezon City, where he became close friends with Bersamin.
- with a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News