MANILA, Philippines - The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has received at least eight nominations for the post in the Supreme Court (SC) to be vacated by the retirement of Associate Justice Roberto Abad in May.
Of the nominees, seven are insiders in the judiciary: four from the Court of Appeals, two from the Sandiganbayan and a regional trial court judge.
Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza was included in the list obtained by The STAR as the lone outsider.
Among the nominees is Associate Justice
Ramon Paul Hernando of the CA’s 19th division in Cebu City, currently the youngest magistrate in the judiciary at 47.
Hernando, a law professor and law book author, has been leading all CA justices in terms of case disposition over the past two years – a distinction previously held by Justice Mariano del Castillo before his appointment to the high court.
A product of San Beda College of Law, Hernando served as a prosecutor in the Department of Justice from 1998 to 2003 and a judge in various RTCs from 2003 until he was appointed to the CA in 2010.
Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Edwin Dayog nominated Hernando, citing his competence and integrity as qualifications for the SC post.
Also nominated were CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr. and CA Associate Justices Rosmari Carandang and Noel Tijam.
Reyes comes from a family of magistrates. His father and namesake was also presiding justice of the CA while his grandfather Alex Reyes was former justice of the SC.
Carandang is a Bar 9th placer from the UP College of Law while Tijam served as judge from 1994 before being appointed to the CA in 2003.
From the Sandiganbayan, Associate Justices Ma. Cristina Cornejo and Rafael Reyes were also in the list of candidates, along with Jardeleza and Quezon City RTC Judge Reynaldo Daway.
Other nominations received by the JBC during the deadline for filing of applications and nominations last Tuesday were still being processed, which means more names could be included in the list.
The JBC secretariat said the deadline for the submission of nomination would no longer be extended.
The Constitution requires a candidate for the position of associate justice of the SC to be a natural born citizen, at least 40 years of age, and with 15 years or more of experience as a judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the country.
The magistrate must also be “a person of proven competence, integrity, probity, and independence.”
The new justice will be the fifth appointment to the 15-member high court by President Aquino. The first four were Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices Bienvenido Reyes, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Marvic Leonen.