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FAST FACTS: Know candidates vying for SC justice post

Reynaldo Santos Jr
FAST FACTS: Know candidates vying for SC justice post
Here's a quick profile of the first 8 candidates vying for the post of Supreme Court Associate Justice Martin Villarama Jr who is retiring on January 16

Part 1

MANILA, Philippines – The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) interviewed on Thursday, January 7, the first batch of candidates vying for the position of outgoing Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Martin Villarama Jr.

As Villarama leaves his post on January 16, the JBC has to assess 16 candidates who can replace the retiring associate justice.

The candidates were scheduled for public interviews for two days, with the first 8 interviewed on Thursday, January 7, and the remaining 8 on Friday, January 8.

Here’s a quick profile of the first batch of the JBC interviewees. Images below are lifted from the livestream provided by the Supreme Court.


JOE-SANTOS B. BISQUERA

Private law practitioner/lecturer
Law degree from the University of the East

  • Holds an MBA degree from UP
  • Among the nominees in 2012 to fill in the position left by then-promoted Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, but was not chosen
  • Was dean of the law departments of the University of Manila and University of Perpetual Help, and was previously associated with companies like FUJI XEROX Philippines Inc and Motorola Philippines Inc

ALFREDO BENJAMIN S. CAGUIOA

Department of Justice Secretary
Law degree from the Ateneo de Manila University

  • A founding partner of the Caguioa & Gatmaytan law firm, and son of former Court of Appeals justice Eduardo Caguioa
  • Was appointed Chief Presidential Legal Counsel in January 2013, and then Justice Secretary in 2015 after the resignation of Leila de Lima
  • Was a classmate of President Benigno Aquino III from grade school to college (both took Economics) at Ateneo de Manila. He also helped in Aquino’s presidential campaign in 2010. 

AMPARO M. CABOTAJE-TANG

Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice
Law degree from San Beda College

  • First served the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) as a trial attorney in 1982, then worked her way to become the most senior Assistant Solicitor General
  • At the OSG, she was involved in cases such as the coco levy fund and the plea bargain deal between the Ombudsman and former military comptroller Carlos Garcia
  • Was appointed Sandiganbayan associate justice in 2012, then presiding justice in 2013 – bypassing the more senior magistrates
  • Prior to working at the OSG, she worked at the Insurance Commission in 1979, then moved to become a legal assistant at the Supreme Court until 1982

CINCHONA G. CRUZ-GONZALES

CIBAC partylist representative
Law degree from San Beda College

  • Was legal counsel at the OSG from 1994 to 2006
  • In Congress, has been representing the Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) party list since 2007
  • Used to have weekly radio programs where she was providing free legal counsel

GERARD A. MOSQUERA

Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon
Law degree from the Ateneo de Manila University

  • Placed 2nd in the 1992 Bar examinations
  • Has a Masters of Law degree from Kings College London and a Masters of Public Administration degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government
  • Was appointed Deputy Ombudsman in 2012, replacing Francis Jardeleza who had been appointed Solicitor General
  • Served as commissioner and legal department head of the Presidential Commission on Good Government from 2010 to 2012
  • From 2004 to 2010, served as a United Nations Adviser for Anti-Corruption and was Chief of Party of a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded anti-corruption project in East Timor
  • Grandson of former justice secretary Quirico Abeto

APOLINARIO D. BRUSELAS JR

Court of Appeals Associate Justice
Law degree from the University of the Philippines

  • Prior to his appointment in CA in 2005, he used to worked at the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Quezon City regional trial court
  • He was nominated in 2013 as a candidate for the Sandiganbayan presiding justice vacancy, but lost to Cabotaje-Tang
  • He was also shortlisted for a vacancy in the Supreme Court twice – in 2011 and 2014 – but lost in both occassions
  • He earned an award for Judicial Excellence in 2003

ROSMARI D. CARANDANG

Court of Appeals Associate Justice
Law degree from the University of the Philippines

  • Placed 9th in the 1975 Bar examination
  • Was nominated for a vacancy in the Supreme Court thrice – in 2011, 2012, and 2014 – but lost on all occasions
  • Became a subject of a complaint in 2008 and was alleged to have asked for money before she ruled in favor of the complainant in a case

MARIA CRISTINA J. CORNEJO

Sandiganbayan Associate Justice
Law degree from the University of Santo Tomas

  • A Ministry of Justice recipient of a Merit Award, a Civil Service Commission Lingkod Bayan awardee, and Supreme Court Centennial awardee for Judicial Excellence
  • Prior to her appointment as Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan in 2010, she served as executive judge of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City.
  • One of the justices who acquitted pork barrel queen Janet Lim Napoles in the Kevlar helmet case.

As per the 1987 Constitution, those who will be appointed to the SC should be natural born Filipino citizens, at least 40 years old, and have at least 15 years of experience as a lower court judge or a law practitioner in the country. – Rappler.com

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