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Five SC justices vie for chief justice post

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Five SC justices vie for chief justice post
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Andres Reyes Jr. have all sent in their applications.
Philstar.com / Erwin Cagadas

MANILA, Philippines — Five Supreme Court justices have applied to become the country’s next top judge, said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

Guevarra, a member of Judicial and Bar Council by virtue of his position, confirmed this in a message to reporters.

The call for applications closed on Friday, October 26.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Andres Reyes Jr. have all sent in their applications.

Closed-door interviews

With the said list of applicants, there would be no public interview for the chief justice post.

The Judicial and Bar Council earlier said that it would “dispense with public interviews of senior SC justices vying for the position, without prejudice to closed-door interviews by the members of the JBC.”

Guevarra clarified that the justices who received automatic nomination—five most senior justices—and magistrates with a minimum of five years at the SC are exempted from the public interview.

The Justice secretary said that the JBC move came after the SC expressed its sense that “senior justices of the [SC] vying for the chief justice position should be exempted from public interviews.”

He stressed that all chief justice applicants would still be subjected to a thorough interview by the JBC panel behind closed doors.

Peralta, Bersamin and Reyes had their public interview last July, and their interviews are deemed valid for a year.

Carpio and Bernabe, meanwhile, received automatic nomination by virtue of their position at the SC.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who will appoint the next chief justice, said before that he would defer to the high court’s tradition of seniority in picking the chief justice.

Carpio is the most senior among the SC chief justice applicants.

Duterte and Carpio do not see eye to eye on the country’s stance on the West Philippine Sea, with the senior justice calling on the government to file new protest against China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration over an incident involving harassment of Filipino fishermen by Chinese coast guards at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal off Zambales province.

But Carpio said that despite their differing views that may affect his chances to become the next chief justice, he would not soften his stance on the West Philippine Sea.

CHIEF JUSTICE

JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL

SUPREME COURT

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