By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang has received the shortlist for the next Supreme Court Chief Justice to succeed former top magistrate Teresita de Castro who occupied the highest seat in the judiciary in barely two months.
Official documents showed that the Palace received the shortlist from the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on November 23, 2018.
President Duterte is expected to choose from the five names nominated by the JBC to replace De Castro who compulsorily retired on October 10 this year. The five names include Lucas Bersamin, Antonio Carpio, Diosdado Peralta, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, and Andres Reyes Jr.
De Castro was appointed by Duterte following the ousting via a quo warranto petition of her predecessor Maria Lourdes Sereno early this year.
In August this year, Duterte defended appointing De Castro as Chief Justice, saying he was following the time-honored tradition of choosing the latter based on seniority.
“Kung sinong naunang pumasok, siya ang unang ma-promote. (Whoever came in first will be the first to get promoted), and that would go for everybody,” Duterte had said.
The President also said that there was no politics involved in De Castro’s appointment and that he follows a merit system in choosing his appointees. De Castro was one of the Supreme Court magistrates who voted for the unseating of Sereno.
“I am not familiar with any of them actually, wala akong kakilalang justice na personal. (I am not close with them personally). Truthfully, I have not talked to anyone there,” Duterte said.
Duterte then said that he will follow the seniority rule not only in the judiciary but in the entire government. In this shortlist, Carpio is the most senior among all nominees.
Carpio, who will retire in October next year, has been against President Duterte’s foreign policy on China, and has been insisting that the government should assert the Philippines’ rights over the disputed South China Sea.