De Castro, Peralta, Bersamin shortlisted to be next Chief Justice

MANILASupreme Court Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta and Lucas Bersamin were included in the shortlist for the country's next Chief Justice, an ex officio member of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) bared Friday.

In a message sent reporters, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said six JBC members voted for de Castro and Peralta while five of them voted for Bersamin. The three magistrates were automatic candidates for the post, being among the five most senior magistrates of the High Court.

The JBC is constitutionally mandated to screen and vet nominees to the President for vacant posts in the judiciary and the offices of the Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman.

The shortlist will then be endorsed to President Rodrigo Duterte for approval.

The CJ vacancy came after Maria Lourdes Sereno was ousted by the SC en banc, voting 8-6, through quo warranto proceedings.

Other applicants for the post were Judge Virginia Tejano-Ang of the Regional Trial Court Branch 1 in Tagum City, Davao del Norte; and SC Justice Andres Reyes Jr., who got only three votes which was not enough to land him in the shortlist, Guevarra added.

Guevarra said the JBC disqualified Tejano-Ang because of an adverse finding and recommendation in her administrative case.

When asked about the impeachment complaints against the seven SC justices, including de Castro, Peralta and Bersamin, Guevarra said the impeachment complaint becomes a case if endorsed to and acted affirmatively by the appropriate house committee.

De Castro, Bersamin and Peralta were among the six justices asked by Sereno to inhibit from the deliberation on the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, which was eventually granted by the Court in a decision issued last May 11. The decision became final on June 19.

The quo warranto petition sought the nullification of Sereno's appointment as Chief Justice for her failure to comply with the requirements to qualify for the position. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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