Peralta, Bersamin join SC race

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Two Senior Associate Justices of the Supreme Court signified their intention to qualify as the next top magistrate to succeed the now-retired Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, an ex-officio member of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), revealed that Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta submitted his papers to the JBC.

First to submit his application was Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, also one of the nominees who bowed to De Castro after she was named by President Rodrigo Duterte on the basis of her seniority.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is also being awaited if he will signify his intention of seeking the top SC post although his nomination is automatic as he is now the most senior member of the High Court.

Carpio is again the acting chief justice of the SC after De Castro retired on 10 October upon reaching her retirement age of 70.

Peralta, according to Guevarra, has accepted his automatic nomination to the post.
Peralta’s application was filed before the JBC last Wednesday according to Guevarra.
Bersamin also consented to have his seniority-based automatic nomination taken into consideration.

The five most senior justices of the High Court are automatically nominated to become the next Chief Justice subject to their acceptance.

Peralta and Bersamin are the second and third most senior justices, respectively, after Carpio.

Also nominated were Associate Justices Mariano del Castillo and Estela Perlas-Bernabe, the fourth and fifth, respectively, in terms of seniority.

Carpio said there is no longer a reason for him to turn down an automatic nomination like he did in giving way to De Castro.

The JBC set the deadline for the filing of applications and nominations for the chief justice on 15 October.

Two of the 13 aspirants to the chief justice post, Sandiganbayan Justice Alex D.L. Quiroz and lawyer Rita Linda Jimeno, will be interviewed by the JBC on 18 October.

The council is a constitutionally-created body that recommends appointees for vacancies that may arise in the Supreme Court, other lower courts, as well as the Legal Education Board and in the offices of the Ombudsman and the Special Prosecutor.

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