Supreme Court of the Philippines

After years of applying, Midas Marquez is Supreme Court justice

Lian Buan
After years of applying, Midas Marquez is Supreme Court justice

Justice Jose Midas P. Marquez Takes Oath as 192nd SC Associate Justice. Photo from Supreme Court PIO

Supreme Court PIO

If tradition is followed, Midas Marquez, Duterte's newest pick, will handle the petitions against the bloody war on drugs

After years-long worth of tries, Court Administrator Midas Marquez is named an associate justice of the Supreme Court, Malacañang confirmed on Tuesday, November 16.

“The Executive Secretary confirms the appointment of Mr. Jose Midas Pascual Marquez as associate justice of the Supreme Court vice Justice Edgardo L. Delos Santos,” Malacañang told reporters Tuesday.

Marquez, a fixture inside the Court but not without his share of controversies, finally clinched one of the many appointments by President Rodrigo Duterte. There are only three non-Duterte appointees in the Court now. By 2022, when Duterte steps down, there will only be two.

Delos Santos opted for early retirement and left unresolved one of the cases that he handled as member-in-charge: the two petitions seeking to declare Duterte’s bloody drug war unconstitutional. Traditionally, the justice who replaces the retired member will inherit the latter’s unresolved cases.

If followed, Marquez will handle the drug war petitions in the shadow of an International Criminal Court investigation.

Marquez had been applying at least since 2017 and had been consistently shortlisted. In 2018, no less than Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte opposed Marquez’s application – a move that everyone can take against applicants to the Court, to be assessed by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).

In her JBC affidavit, the presidential daughter accused Marquez of colluding with Duterte supporters to get the sheriff to drop his disbarment suit against her in the infamous punching incident in 2011.

The disbarment complaint against Sara Duterte was filed in 2011 after she punched a sheriff who insisted on implementing a demolition order. Sara is now running for Philippine vice president, to the disappointment of her father – at least according to resigned Malacañang spokesperson Harry Roque, who said that despite their differences, “family ties will always prevail.”

At only 55 years old, Marquez will serve the Supreme Court for 15 long years until 2036. He and Justice Ramon Paul Hernando are the youngest on the bench. This continues a preference of Duterte to appoint young justices to the Court who will serve way beyond his presidency.

By January 2022, there will be another vacancy when Justice Rosmari Carandang – in charge of the petitions against the anti-terror law – retires.

Marquez is seen as very influential in the judiciary. As Court Administrator, he oversees the trial courts and judges. In the Supreme Court, he previously served as chief-of-staff to former chief justice Reynaldo Puno.

He served as concurrent Court Administrator, spokesperson, and chief-of-staff of the chief justice under the late former chief justice Renato Corona. He is a “certified court insider,” having “started his career in the Supreme Court in 1991 as a summer apprentice doing legal research in the office of an associate justice while still in law school,” according to his profile on the Supreme Court website.

Marquez played a key role in the impeachment hearings of ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. The ousted chief justice claimed it was Marquez who led the rallies against her during the nasty episode of the Supreme Court where the internal cracks were exposed to the public.

Marquez obtained his economics undergraduate degree in 1987, and his law degree in 1993, both from the Ateneo de Manila University.

Marquez becomes the sixth justice on the bench from Ateneo. The other five are Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, Senior Associate Justice Estela Perlas Bernabe, and associate justices Benjamin Caguioa, Henri Jean Paul Inting, and Rodil Zalameda. –

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 or tweet @lianbuan.