MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed appellate court justices Mario Lopez and Edgardo Delos Santos to the Supreme Court, sources from the Court of Appeals and Malacanan told ABS-CBN News Tuesday.
The 2 appointees replace Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who retired on Sept. 26 and Oct. 26 respectively.
A native of La Union, Lopez finished his law degree at the San Beda College and graduated cum laude. He later took his master of laws at the University of Santo Tomas.
He served as prosecutor of the Tanodbayan, now known as the office of the Ombudsman in 1985 and became executive judge of Batangas City in 1997 before his appointment to the Court of Appeals.
Delos Santos, on the other hand, is a Cebu-based appellate court justice who wanted to end his 4-decade career in government service at the high tribunal.
The Visayan justice earned his bachelor of laws degree from the University of San Carlos in Cebu.
He initially served as a municipal trial court judge in Dumaguete and later became regional trial court judge in Bacolod before his appointment to the appellate court.
Duterte's latest appointments are his 7th and 8th respectively out of the current 15-member composition of the high court, a clear majority who will decide on pending crucial cases involving the administration such as petitions challenging the legality of anti-drug operation Oplan Tokhang, and the Philippines’ withdrawal from the International Criminal Court.
The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, has also yet to rule on the election protest of losing vice presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo.