Duterte appoints Justice Gesmundo to Supreme Court

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed to the Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo formerly of the Sandiganbayan, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed to Rappler on Monday, August 14.

Gesmundo is Duterte's 4th appointee to the High Court. He replaces Retired Justice Jose Mendoza, who is reportedly being considered for a spot at the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).

The SC received Gesmundo's appointment letter from Malacañang also on Monday.

Gesmundo was the chairperson of the anti-graft court's 7th Division. Gesmundo will retire on November 6, 2026 which means he gets to serve at the SC for 9 years.

He was part of the special committee that worked on amendments on the rules of court to expedite processes, one of which is the prohibition of the filing of a motion for determination of probable cause.

Justice Gesmundo previously aspired to be elevated to the SC following the successive retirements of Justice Leonardo Quisumbing and Minita Chico-Nazario in 2009. Along with former justice secretary Agnes Devanadera, Gesmundo actually topped the informal survey conducted among SC justices. He was however bypassed by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for SC posts.

He was the author of the ruling that cleared former military comptroller and retired major general Carlos Garcia of perjury in connection with his 1997 SALN where he supposedly failed to declare ownership of 3 vehicles.

“Any false declaration in the SALN is not in itself unlawful…the prosecution must also prove that the accused did not believe his statement to be true,” Gesmundo wrote back then.

He also wrote the ponencia convicting two retired and 7 active police officials for graft in connection with the P38-million worth of ghost purchases in 1992.

Gesmundo obtained his law degree from the Ateneo de Manila School of Law in 1984 and passed the bar the same year. Before his stint at the Sandiganbayan, he took on a few odd jobs: as research analyst for Business Day and as marketing officer at the Australian embassy.

Before being appointed to the anti-graft court, Gesmundo served as Assistant Solicitor General and Commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government.

Gesmundo is listed on the Ateneo Law School website as member of its faculty, teaching remedial law.  Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.