The 56-year-old Leonen is one of five most senior SC justices, next to Bersamin, who is qualified for automatic nomination for the post.
sc.judiciary.gov.ph
Leonen declines CJ nomination
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - August 20, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Supreme Court Associate Justice Mario Victor Leonen has declined his automatic nomination for the position of chief justice, with Lucas Bersamin scheduled to retire on Oct. 18.

The 56-year-old Leonen is one of five most senior SC justices, next to Bersamin, who is qualified for automatic nomination for the post. 

“I confirm that I have declined the nomination of the Court en banc to the position of Chief Justice vice Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin,” said Leonen in a statement. 

He did not cite a specific reason in rejecting his automatic nomination, but believed that his decision is best for himself, the SC and the country. 

“There is no requirement to state our reasons for declining the nomination. For now, in my considered judgment, my decision is the right thing to do. I will be able to do what I do best for our people in my current position at this time,” he said.

Leonen gave assurance that he would be supportive of the next chief magistrate.?“As always, I am committed to giving my support to whoever is constitutionally appointed as the next chief justice.”

Aside from Leonen, the four other magistrates automatically nominated for the position of chief justice are Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, Associate Justices Estella Perlas-Bernabe and Benjamin Caguioa.

If Carpio is chosen as the next chief justice, he is expected to only serve for about eight days since he would turn 70 years old on Oct. 26. 

The the mandatory age of retirement for justices is 70. 

Carpio has already been bypassed three times – during the appointments of the late chief justice Renato Corona in 2010, ousted chief justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno in 2012, and Bersamin last year.

SC spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka said there has been no response yet from the four other automatically nominated justices whether they would accept or decline the nomination. 

Aug. 20 is the deadline set by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) in accepting nominations for the position of chief justice. 

CHIEF JUSTICE MARIO VICTOR LEONEN SUPREME COURT
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