SC justices Peralta, Reyes join search for next CJ

MANILA Two more Supreme Court magistrates have accepted their nominations for the position of Chief Justice (CJ), Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed on Wednesday afternoon.

Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta and Andres Reyes Jr. have submitted letters stating their acceptance of the nominations, Guevarra, an ex-officio member of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), said.

Peralta is one of the five most senior justices of the SC while Reyes is one of the junior members of the High Court, who was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte last year.

On Tuesday, Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin was the first to submit his acceptance of the nomination for the top judiciary post.

Peralta, former presiding justice of the Sandiganbayan, was appointed by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the SC on Jan. 13, 2009. He penned the ruling allowing the burial of the late president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. He will retire in March 2022.

It can be recalled that retired Sandiganbayan justice and former JBC member Raoul Victorino nominated all incumbent SC justices for the top magistrate post.

With reference to former justice Victorino's omnibus nomination of all 14 justices, you may view Justice Reyes' application as indeed an acceptance of a nomination, Guevarra said in text message sent to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Prior to his appointment to the SC, Reyes served as presiding justice of the Court of Appeals.

Reyes penned a ruling declaring as unconstitutional then justice secretary Leila de Lima's Department Order 41, which authorizes the Secretary of Justice to issue Hold Departure Orders (HDO), Watch List Orders (WLO), or Allow Departure Orders (ADO).

The circular was used as basis for imposing a travel ban against Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo, pending the resolution of the plunder and electoral sabotage charges filed against them.

Meanwhile, another Arroyo appointee, Associate Justice Teresita de Castro is also expected to formally accept her nomination for the Chief Justice post once she completes all the requirements mandated by the JBC. De Castro is the third most senior justice of the SC.

Prior to her appointment to the SC, de Castro served as a law clerk at the High Court, state counsel for the Department of Justice (DOJ), and presiding justice of the Sandiganbayan. She penned the ruling convicting former president Joseph Estrada of plunder.

In the SC, she was also the magistrate who penned the decision that declared Estrada eligible to run as mayor of Manila in 2015.

In her ponencia, she held that although Estrada was convicted of plunder by the Sandiganbayan, the pardon subsequently granted to him by Arroyo restored his civil and political rights.

She is set to retire from the SC in October, when she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.

The JBC has set its first deliberation for the Chief Justice post on Aug. 3, a week after the deadline for the submission of applications and nominations for the post on July 26. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency