25 accept nominations for chief justice

Purple S. Romero

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The Judicial and Bar Council will now begin screening aspirants for the highest post in the judiciary

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 25 lawyers have accepted their nominations for the position of chief justice, which was vacated last May 29 when Chief Justice Renato Corona was sacked by the Senate impeachment court.

Monday, July 2, is the deadline for the filing of nominations and applications for the post, and for nominees to accept or decline such nominations. The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will screen these nominees and submit a shortlist to President Benigno Aquino III, who has until the end of August to name a new chief justice.

The total number of nominees swelled to 72. Out of these, 29 have declined while 17 have yet to turn down or accept their endorsement for chief justice.

Out of the 25 who have accepted their nominations, 6 are Supreme Court insiders: Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justices Arturo Brion, Roberto Abad, Lourdes Sereno, Presbitero Velasco Jr and Teresita Leonardo de Castro.

Abad and Sereno are newly appointed justices (Abad was appointed in 2009, Sereno in 2011). Abad at 68, however, has only two years remaining in the Court, as he retires in 2014 when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Brion will retire in 2016, while Carpio has 7 more years to go before he retires in 2019. Velasco, on the other hand, will retire in 2018. Sereno is the youngest of the justices at 52; she has 18 years at the post if appointed chief justice.

A total of 19 SC outsiders also accepted their respective nominations. Seven of them are government officials, 5 of whom are appointees of President Benigno Aquino III.

Aquino’s appointees are the following:

a. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima

b. Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza

c. Governance Commissions for GOCCs (Government-owned and controlled corporations sector) head Cesar Villanueva

d. Presidential Commission on Good Government chairman Andres Bautista 

e. Securities and Exchange Commission head Teresita Herbosa

The other public officials are Commission on Elections commissioner Rene Sarmiento and Cagayan de Oro Rep Rufus Rodriguez. Former executive secretary and ex-San Juan Rep Ronaldo Zamora also accepted his nomination.

Six of the outsiders are from the academe: former UP Law Dean Raul Pangalangan, UP professors Katrina Legarda and Rafael Morales, University of the East Law Dean Amado Valdez, La Salle Law Dean Jose Manuel Diokno and law professor Soledad Cagampang De Castro. 

Others who accepted their respective nominations are: lawyers Vincent Veloso, Vicente Velasquez, retired Judge Manuel Siayngco, Judge Amelia Tria-Infante and Ferdinand Pijao, who was declared a nuisance candidate in the 2010 presidential elections.

They said ‘no’

Out of the 27 who declined, 7 are SC insiders: Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Bienvenido Reyes, Diosdado Peralta, Mariano del Castillo, Lucas Bersamin, Jose Perez and Jose Mendoza.

The rest are outsiders: defeated 2010 presidential candidate Gilbert Teodoro, government peace panel chairman Marvic Leonen, Court of Appeals Justices Noel Tijam, Gabriel Ingles, Andres Reyes, Magdangal De Leon, Japar Dimaampao, former Solicitor General Frank Chavez, Senators Franklin Drilon and Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Court administrator Jose Midas Marquez, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo, lawyer Pedro Aquino, constitutionalist Joaquin Bernas, Integrated Bar of the Philippines president Roan Libarios, former prosecutor Marianito Sasodoncillo, lawyer Pedro Romualdo, former energy secretary Raphael “Popo” Lotilla, Bureau of Internal Revenue commissioner Kim Henares, lawyer Rene Saguisag, former Makati Rep Teddyboy Locsin, and Landphil CEO Rodolfo Robles.

Those who have yet to accept or decline their nominations include SC Justice Martin Villarama, Chief Public Attorney Persida Rueda-Acosta and Commission on Audit chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan. – Rappler.com

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