MANILA -- Two top legal officials of the government welcomed the appointment of Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro as the new top magistrate of the Supreme Court (SC).
The OSG family and I rejoice in the well-deserved appointment of Justice Teresita L. de Castro as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. We are elated because her legal brilliance, competence, fairness and integrity ensure that justice will be well-served during her tenure, Solicitor General Jose Calida said in his Twitter account.
Ombudsman Samuel Martires, meanwhile, expressed delight over de Castro's appointment which he described as a "good person who is strict but compassionate".
"I am very, very happy that she was chosen by the President as the country's first lady Chief Justice. She deserves it. She is a good person; strict but compassionate, a stickler to the rules, a workaholic," Martires said in a text message.
"She (de Castro) deserves it. She was my Presiding Justice at the Sandiganbayan and I'm pretty sure that the Sandiganbayan justices and employees are happy for her appointment as CJ," said Martires, who was also former SC Associate Justice.
Meanwhile, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) said de Castro's appointment is appropriate considering that she is the next most senior magistrate, as Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio declined to be nominated for the post.
"Justice de Castro is the next most senior in the court. While on the one hand, she faces ethical questions considering that is succeeding a CJ helped remove, on the other hand that will weigh heavily in favor of seniority as a tradition," IBP president Abdiel Fajardo said in a statement.
Carpio also welcomed the appointment of de Castro as top magistrate.
De Castro replaces Maria Lourdes Sereno, whose appointment became void after she was ousted via quo warranto proceeding.
She will serve as top magistrate for less than two months until her mandatory retirement on October 8.
The 69-year-old justice bested her two colleagues, Associates Justice Diosdado Peralta and Lucas Bersamin.
De Castro started as law clerk at the Supreme Court then became state counsel at the Department of Justice.
Moreover, she also became presiding judge and chair of Sandiganbayan Special Division that convicted former President now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada of plunder.
During the Judicial and Bar Council's (JBC) public interview last Aug. 16, de Castro said despite her imminent retirement from the judiciary in less than two months, she will be able to introduce reforms in the SC once named Chief Justice.
De Castro said she has been working on key judicial reform projects since 2009. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency