Newly appointed Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Ramon Paul L. Hernando took his oath of office Thursday before Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta at the SC offices in Ermita, Manila.
Hernando was appointed by President Duterte as replacement to retired Associate Justice Samuel R. Martires who is now the country’s Ombudsman.
At 52 years old and the youngest among the incumbent SC justices, Hernando will serve the SC for 18 years until he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 for members of the judiciary.
Before his promotion to the SC, he was an associate justice of the Court of Appeals. He was also a prosecutor of the Department of Justice and a regional trial court judge.
Hernando was the sixth appointee of President Duterte to the SC. The first five appointees were Martires, Noel G. Tijam, Andres B. Reyes Jr., Alexander G. Gesmundo, and Jose C. Reyes Jr.
There are still two vacancies in the 15-member SC. These are the posts of Chief Justice left with the retirement last October 10 by Chief Justice Teresita J. Leonardo de Castro and the post left by De Castro, herself, as associate justice when she was promoted last August as head of the judiciary.
The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) is now accepting applications and recommendations to the two vacant posts.
There would be another vacancy in January next year with the compulsory retirement of Associate Justice Noel G. Tijam.