MANILA - Five Supreme Court justices are in the running to become the country's new Chief Justice following the retirement of Teresita Leonardo-de Castro.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, a member of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), revealed this Friday after the lapse of the deadline for the submission of nominations and applications for the top magistrate's post.
“No additional contestants for the CJ position,” Guevarra said in a
text message to reporters shortly before 5 p.m.
The JBC, the body that screens applicants for posts in the judiciary, will consider the following magistrates in drafting its shortlist:
Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio
Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta
Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin
Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe
Associate Justice Andres Reyes Jr.
Bersamin and Peralta were among the first to accept their automatic nominations and submit the necessary requirements.
Carpio accepted his automatic nomination on October 12 but submitted his required documents on October 24.
Bernabe also accepted her automatic nomination and submitted her papers on October 15.
Bersamin, Peralta, Carpio and Bernabe were automatically nominated, being among the five most senior SC justices.
Another senior justice, Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo, declined his nomination as he is set to retire on July 29, 2019.
Associate Justice Andres Reyes Jr., on the other hand, accepted the nomination of retired Sandiganbayan Justice Raoul Victorino, who nominated all sitting high court justices.
Reyes submitted his documents on October 25.
With the lapse of the nomination and application period, the JBC will now proceed to conduct a closed-door interview of Carpio and Bernabe.
Bersamin, Peralta and Reyes have earlier interviewed for the post after the ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno, and their interviews are valid for one year.
The JBC earlier decided to exclude senior SC justices and those who have spent 5 years in the SC from public interviews, following a unanimous en banc resolution.
The 1987 Constitution requires that an SC justice post be filled within 90 days after the vacancy occurred. Per procedure, the JBC will send its shortlist to the President, and the chief executive will choose his appointee.
De Castro, among magistrates who voted to oust Sereno, retired on October 10 after serving as chief magistrate for less than two months.