Court of Appeals

Marcos picks Mariflor Punzalan Castillo as new Court of Appeals presiding justice

Jairo Bolledo

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Marcos picks Mariflor Punzalan Castillo as new Court of Appeals presiding justice

NEW CHIEF. Court of Appeals Presiding Justice Mariflor Punzalan Castillo takes her oath as new head of the appellate court on November 15, 2023.

Supreme Court

Castillo is President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s first Court of Appeals chief

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) announced on Wednesday, November 15, that a new presiding justice of the Court of Appeals (CA) has already been appointed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The new CA presiding justice, Mariflor Punzalan Castillo, already took her oath before SC Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo on Wednesday afternoon. Castillo, who was already part of the CA bench as associate justice, replaced former presiding justice Remedios Salazar-Fernando, who retired last September 3.

Castillo is the first top-level appointment of Marcos to the judiciary.

Her appointment is crucial because, as the new appellate court chief, she will oversee the second highest court in the country, which has “appellate jurisdiction on all cases not falling within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.” Petitioners and complainants who lost at the lower court levels rely on the CA for their appeal.

Prior to her appointment, Castillo was the second most senior member of the appellate court. The new CA presiding justice is an alumna of the University of the Philippines. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree in 1974 and then her Bachelor of Laws in 1978.

She began her legal career as an investigator at the Office of the Tanodbayan – the precursor of the Office of the Ombudsman – in 1979. She was later appointed prosecutor to the said office in 1985. Four years later, in 1989, she was promoted to Special Prosecution Officer III under the Office of the Special Prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman. She served in the said post for four years.

Castillo officially joined the judiciary branch as a presiding judge of the Metropolitan Trial
Court Branch 42 of Quezon City from 1993 to 1999, and then as presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court Branch 84 of Quezon City from 1999 to 2004.

In the judiciary, she served as a judge for family and special courts. Castillo joined the CA on March 9, 2004.

Castillo previously vied for an SC post. She was among the shortlisted candidates for an associate justice position at the SC in 2016. –

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.