SC OKs Justice Delos Santos' early retirement
This photo Supreme Court Associate Justice Edgardo Delos Santos.
Supreme Court website

SC OKs Justice Delos Santos' early retirement

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - May 24, 2021 - 2:56pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has approved the early retirement of Associate Justice Edgardo Delos Santos, creating another vacancy for President Rodrigo Duterte to fill this year.

In an en banc notice on Tuesday, the SC said it approved Delos Santos’ request “for optional retirement, effective June 30, 2021, for reasons pertaining to his current state of health.”

The one-page document was signed by Clerk of Court Marife Lomibao-Cuevas.

Duterte appointed Delos Santos to the high court in December 2019. He will step down nearly a year ahead of reaching mandatory retirement age in June 2022.

No other details on Delos Santos’ early retirement were made available, but SC spokesperson Brian Hosaka earlier confirmed that the magistrate had advised his staff as early as March 19 to start looking for other jobs.

There is already one vacancy at the high court, which was created after the appointment of Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo.

Gesmundo took over the post vacated by former Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta who, like Delos Santos, opted to retire early last March.

JBC interviews set

The Judicial and Bar Council received 15 applications for the Gesmundo’s associate justice seat, and will conduct public interviews on seven candidates on June 2 and 3.

JBC interviews of the eight other applicants are still considered valid.

Among those who applied for SC post and will face the panel are Sandiganbayan Associate Justices Geraldine Faith Econg and Rafael Lagos, and Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva.

Econg penned the ruling that acquitted Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla on a plunder case over the misuse of P224.5 million of allocated Priority Development Assistance Funds. Lagos meanwhile voted to convict former Rep. Imelda Marcos (Ilocos Norte) of graft in 2018.

Duterte has 90 days to fill vacancies at the high court.

Before his term ends in June 2022, Duterte is expected to appoint two more justices to the high court following the retirement of Senior Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Associate Justice Rosmari Carandang next year.

Under JBC rules, applicants for SC associate justice or chief justice should at least have 2.5 years left in service—or should be 67 and a half years old—if they are a CA justice, solicitor general or department secretary.

If they are not holding the said positions, they should at least have five years left in service to the SC, or the oldest they should be is 65 years old.

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