MANILA—With the retirement of 3 members of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta’s appointment, the high court has reorganized its 3 divisions.
Peralta will now head the 1st Division, replacing retired Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin.
Senior Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe will take over the 2nd Division to take the place of retiring SAJ Antonio Carpio.
Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, meanwhile, will head the 3rd Division, which Peralta used to lead.
Associate Justices Henri Jean Paul Inting, Rodil Zalameda and Amy Lazaro-Javier are designated additional members of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd divisions respectively. They are the most junior members of the court.
In addition, Bernabe will now head the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the En Banc Raffle Committee while Leonen will lead the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and Division Raffle Committee.
There are currently 3 vacancies in the high court: the first one vacated by retired Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza who retired in September with 13 applicants in the running.
The second one is to be vacated by Carpio when he retires.
The third one is the associate justice post vacated by Peralta. The Judicial and Bar Council has yet to open the period for nomination for this vacancy.
Once President Rodrigo Duterte fully fills these vacancies, he will have 12 appointees in the current Supreme Court. Only 3 – Bernabe, Leonen and Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa are Aquino appointees.
By the time Duterte’s term ends in June 2022, he could also name a 13th appointee to take place of Bernabe who will retire on May 2022.