Duterte appointed Hernando – a fellow San Beda law school graduate – as associate justice of the high court in place of Samuel Martires, who was appointed ombudsman last July, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed yesterday.
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Court of Appeals Ramon Paul Hernando promoted to Supreme Court
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - October 11, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has promoted Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando to the Supreme Court (SC).

Duterte appointed Hernando – a fellow San Beda law school graduate – as associate justice of the high court in place of Samuel Martires, who was appointed ombudsman last July, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed yesterday.

In an interview with The STAR by phone, Hernando said he plans to take his oath of office at the SC today before Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, his wedding godfather.

Hernando is known in the CA for his zero backlog – with 417 cases disposed of in 2013 and 370 in 2012. In his first four years at the CA, Hernando was able to dispose of 86.49 percent of cases he handled.

The 52-year-old magistrate will serve in the high court for about 18 years before he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Hernando was a state prosecutor with the DOJ for five years, before being appointed judge of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 93. He stayed at the QC RTC for over three years, until he was named judge at a provincial court. He was judge at the RTC in San Pablo, Laguna for almost three years.

Hernando also teaches law in San Beda College, Ateneo Law School and University of Santo Tomas and was three-time Bar examiner in commercial law.

He was picked by Duterte from a shortlist of nine nominees.

Hernando is the sixth associate justice appointed by Duterte so far in the SC. The first five were Martires, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr., Alexander Gesmundo and Jose Reyes Jr.

Nominees for CJ

As this developed, Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin has accepted his automatic nomination for the top judicial post vacated by the retirement of Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro yesterday.

Guevarra, Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) ex-officio member, disclosed yesterday the body received Bersamin’s conforme or formal acceptance of his automatic nomination for the chief justice post earlier this week.

Bersamin, appointed to the SC in April 2009, was previously a CA justice and a Quezon City RTC judge. He was recipient of numerous judicial excellence awards.

The five most senior justices of the SC are automatically nominated for the chief justice vacancy under the rules of JBC, the seven-member panel tasked to screen nominees for judicial posts.

Apart from Bersamin, the four other most senior SC justices are Peralta, acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, Mariano del Castillo and Estela Perlas-Bernabe.

Reports said Carpio and Peralta will also vie for the chief justice post, but have not formally submitted their acceptance of automatic nomination to the JBC.

They are expected to submit their conforme to the JBC before Oct. 15, the deadline for submission of nominations and applications.

De Castro retired from the judiciary yesterday after serving as chief justice for less than two months following the ouster last June of Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Taking off from the 1992 American legal drama film, Duterte said he will make sure that the next chief justice to replace De Castro will come from the “few good men” in the legal profession.

“The next chief justice… I’m still toying with so many names. If there’s any vacancy there, we’ll fill it up with good men and there are few good men in this planet. We’ll have to search them far and wide,” Duterte said.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the Palace is awaiting the list from the JBC.

In an impromptu briefing with the Malacañang Press Corps on Tuesday night, Duterte did not answer whether he will consider Carpio, who has been pushing for the implementation of the July 2016 ruling of the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration that rejected Beijing’s claim in the South China Sea.

“I will decide that when I cross the bridge,” Duterte said.

Carpio had declined his nomination for the chief justice post last June out of delicadeza, saying he did not want to benefit from the ouster of Sereno that he opposed by dissenting from the court’s final ruling on the quo warranto case.

Duterte said his appointment of De Castro was based on seniority and meritocracy, and that Carpio was not considered since “he stated publicly that he’s not going to accept.”

But this time, Carpio said in an interview last week that “there is no longer delicadeza issue or legal reason to decline” his nomination for chief justice.  – With Christina Mendez

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