FAST FACTS: Know candidates vying for SC justice post (Part 2)

Reynaldo Santos Jr
FAST FACTS: Know candidates vying for SC justice post (Part 2)
Here's a quick profile of the last 8 candidates vying to replace Supreme Court Associate Justice Martin Villarama Jr, who will retire on January 16

See Part 1 here

MANILA, Philippines – The search for the replacement of outgoing Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Martin Villarama Jr continued on Friday, January 8, with the interview of the second batch of candidates for the vacated position.

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) interviewed the last 8 of the 16 candidates to conclude the two-day public interview of candidates who can replace the retiring associate justice.

The first 8 candidates were interviewed on Thursday, January 7.

Here’s a quick profile of the last batch of JBC interviewees. Images below were lifted from the livestream provided by the Supreme Court, except for the first two whose interviews were not covered by the livestream.


STEPHEN C. CRUZ

Court of Appeals associate justice
Law degree from the Ateneo de Manila University

  • Appointed in CA in 2006
  • Also a member of the New York State Bar and the American Bar Association since 1982
  • Started his legal career in Malacañang as a presidential staff legal office in 1977
  • Worked as presiding judge (then vice-executive staff) of the Lucena City regional trial court from 2000 until his appointment in CA
  • Nominated in 2014 to replace outgoing Supreme Court Associate Justice Roberto Abad
  • Penned the 2015 resolution that asked Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to comment on the contempt charge filed by ousted Makati mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr

FLORIN T. HILBAY

Solicitor General
Law degree from the University of the Philippines

  • Appointed as acting Solicitor General in August 2014 to then newly-appointed SC Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza; promoted as Solicitor General in June 2015
  • Ranked first in the 1999 Bar examinations
  • Obtained a Masters of Law degree from Yale Law School in 2005
  • At OSG, he defended the Reproductive Health (RH) law during oral arguments before the SC, and handled several cases of the government including the Disbursement Acceleration Program, Priority Development Assistance Fund, Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, and the Bangsamoro cases
  • Before joining the Office of the Solicitor General in 2002, he worked as a law clerk to SC justice Vicente Mendoza

REYNALDO B. DAWAY

Quezon City RTC presiding judge

  • Nominated in 2014 to replace outgoing Supreme Court Associate Justice Roberto Abad
  • As RTC presiding judge, he handled cases such as the breach of patent rights filed by an inventor against Avida Land, and the case on a contract between Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and Maynilad

MARIFLOR P. PUNZALAN-CASTILLO

Court of Appeals associate justice
Law degree from the University of the Philippines

  • Completed her Basic Evidence Course in the National Judicial College, University of Nevada
  • Appointed to CA in 2004
  • Began her legal career at the Office of the Ombudsman, where she worked starting 1979
  • Moved to the courts afterwards – presiding judge of Metropolitan Trial Court in Quezon City from 1993 to 1999, then presiding judge of Quezon City RTC from 1999 to 2004

MARIA GRACIA M. PULIDO-TAN

former Commission on Audit chairperson
Law degree from the University of the Philippines

  • Obtained a Masters of Law degree from New York University in 1981
  • Was the founding and senior partner of Tan & Venturanza Law Offices
  • Worked as Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) commissioner and Department of Finance (DOF) undersecretary
  • Became independent director of banks, and worked for different projects abroad
  • Served in COA from 2011 until she retired in 2015
  • Under her term, COA produced the first comprehensive report on how the discretionary development funds of senators and congressmen had been misused in the last 3 years of the Arroyo administration
  • Nominated in 2014 to replace outgoing Supreme Court Associate Justice Roberto Abad

ALEX L. QUIROZ

Sandiganbayan associate justice
Law degree from Manuel Luis Quezon University

  • Appointed to Sandiganbayan in 2008
  • Before Sandiganbayan, he was a presiding judge at the Pasig regional trial court
  • Also worked for the following offices: Office of the City Fiscal of Manila in 1985, Office of the Secretary-General of the House of Representatives in 1987, Office of the Solicitor General in 1988, and Pasig Metro Trial Court judge in 1992
  • Cases he handled in the lower courts include the murder case of actress Nida Blanca, the kidnapping case of American national Jeffrey Schilling by the Abu Sayyaf Group, and the probate case of former president Ferdinand Marcos’ estate
  • Nominated for the vacated Sandiganbayan presiding justice post in 2013

ANDRES B. REYES JR

Court of Appeals presiding justice
Law degree from the Ateneo de Manila University

  • Also holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the Philippine Women’s University
  • After law school, he worked at the Office of the Ombudsman
  • Appointed judge of Metropolitan Trial Court in Manakti in 1987, and judge of Metropolitan Trial Court in San Mateo, Rizal in 1990
  • Appointed as CA associate justice in 1999, and promoted to presiding justice in 2010
  • Nominated in 2014 to replace outgoing Supreme Court Associate Justice Roberto Abad
  • Grandson of former SC justice Alex Reyes, and son of former CA presiding justice Andres Reyes Sr

JOSE C. REYES JR

Court of Appeals associate justice
Law degree from San Beda College

  • Appointed in CA in 2003
  • Before CA, he worked as a Metropolitan Trial Court judge in Pasig and Regional Trial Court judge in Rizal
  • Was a candidate in 2012 to replace then-SC Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, and in 2014 to replace outgoing Supreme Court Associate Justice Roberto Abad
  • Accused by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV of accepting a bribe just to stop the suspension of former Makati City mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr

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 with at least 15 years of experience as a lower court judge or a law practitioner in the country. – Rappler.com

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