The Philippine Star

3 SC justices to accept CJ nomination


Three senior magistrate­s of the Supreme Court (SC) are set to vie for the post of chief justice.

An insider has told The STAR that Associate Justices Teresita Leonardode Castro, Diosdado Peralta and Lucas Bersamin are expected to accept their automatic nomination for the top judicial post under the rules, which provide for automatic nomination of the five most senior justices of SC for the chief justice vacancy.

The source, who requested anonymity, said the three will accept the nomination “to comply with the requiremen­ts of the law.”

“There should be at least three nominees there in the shortlist as required under the Constituti­on, so they would have to accept the nomination,” the insider explained.

But whether all three will be included in the shortlist still depends on the screening process of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which may also cover possible nomination­s of junior magistrate­s and even outsiders from the judiciary.

The two other senior magistrate­s automatica­lly nominated for the top SC post are acting Chief Justice and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr.

Carpio has already announced that he would decline the nomination out of delicadeza, saying he does not want to benefit from the ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice by a mere quo warranto petition, which he opposed.

Velasco, on the other hand, is retiring this August so he can no longer be considered for the post.

The JBC, the seven-member body tasked to vet nominees for judicial posts, officially opened the nomination and applicatio­n process for the chief justice post last week. It set the deadline for nomination

and applicatio­n on July 26.

The JBC started the search for Sereno’s replacemen­t after the high court made final its decision ousting her from the top judicial post last June 19.

The 1987 Constituti­on requires that the chief justice position be filled within 90 days from vacancy or from the finality of the SC ruling.

This means President Duterte needs to appoint Sereno’s replacemen­t by Sept. 16.

The Constituti­on also requires the chief justice, just like associate justices of SC, to be a natural-born citizen, at least 40 years old, have experience as judge or in private law practice for at least 15 years, and be a person with proven competence, integrity, probity and independen­ce.

As the JBC formally started the nomination process for the vacant chief justice post, it kept the same requiremen­ts for applicants – including the submission of at least 10 statements of assets, liabilitie­s and net worth (SALN).

The failure of Sereno to meet this 10-SALN requiremen­t was among the grounds cited by the SC in ordering her ouster from the SC. The Court invalidate­d her appointmen­t in 2012 due to lack of proven integrity.

In an announceme­nt published in The STAR last week, the seven-member council tasked to vet nominees to judicial posts listed 24 documentar­y requiremen­ts for nominees and applicants.

Among them are “SALNs for the last 10 years in case of applicants in government service, or for 2017 for those in the private sector.”

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