By Argyll Geducos
President Duterte told the new Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta to ensure that the institution will treat every Filipino as equals, Malacañang said.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement as Peralta took his oath before President Duterte in simple ceremonies in Malacañang Thursday afternoon.
In a text message, Panelo relayed Duterte’s marching order to the country’s new top magistrate.
“PRRD told him that all he asks is that the SC under his (Peralta’s) watch should be characterized with fairness and truth. That every citizen be treated equal before the law regardless of the status in life,” he said.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed Peralta’s promotion Wednesday afternoon after a week of unconfirmed reports.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo confirmed the same Wednesday evening and added that the Supreme Court would be in good hands.
“We are certain that with Chief Justice Peralta at the helm of the Supreme Court, the Judiciary will continue to be well-managed as it thrives to uphold the principles of judicial excellence, integrity and independence,” he said.
Peralta who will retire in March 2022, bested out Associate Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Andres Reyes Jr. who were also in the shortlist of Chief Justice candidates submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council to Duterte.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio served as acting Chief Justice before Peralta’s appointment was confirmed. Carpio declined the nomination to the position as he is set to retire on Monday.
Peralta was the one who wrote the controversial decision allowing the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in November 2016.
The new Chief Justice was also a member of the Sandiganbayan special division which found former President Joseph Estrada guilty of plunder in 2007.
In his statement, Panelo also noted that Peralta made many landmark decisions including the imposition of the death penalty on a policeman who used his service firearm to shoot an 11-year-old boy while flying his kite on a rooftop; the first conviction for plunder involving a cashier of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR); and the first and only conviction of Qualified Bribery under Article 211-A of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, involving a substantial number of police officers in the case of suspected foreign drug-traffickers. Peralta also convicted the most number of accused involved in big time drug cases and other serious crimes.
The Palace official added that the Supreme Court, during the Court’s Centennial Celebration, and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines conferred the Special Centennial Awards in the Field of Criminal Law to Justice Peralta for his “credible and no-nonsense management and expeditious disposal of heinous crimes and drug cases… [which have] visibly strengthened the Philippine Criminal Justice System and helped bolster and maintain respect, trust and confidence in our criminal courts.”