Only three Supreme Court (SC) Senior Associate Justices (AJ), namely, Justice Estela M. Perlas Bernabe and Associate Justices Alexander G. Gesmundo and Ramon Paul L. Hernando are the aspirants to the post of chief justice which would be vacated on 27 March with the early retirement of Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta.
SC spokesperson Atty. Brian Keith F. Hosaka said the three senior justices “completed the requirements for the application for the position of chief justice.”
This was also the information provided by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra who said aside from the three AJ’s, no one has submitted the documentary requirements in support of their nomination.
No documents were received from AJ Marvic Leonen and AJ Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.
“I couldn’t speculate on the reason. Either (they’re) not really interested or unable to complete and submit all the requirements on time,” Guevarra said.
Hosaka said the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) — the constitutional office that accepts, screens and nominates appointments to the judiciary — will start the public interview of the three chief justice aspirants on 10 March.
The five most senior justices are automatically nominated to the post of chief justice, under the rules, but they must accept their automatic nominations and submit the required documents.
Guevarra said by the JBC’s own rules, all 5 sitting senior AJs are automatically nominated, subject to their acceptance.
Once they indicate their acceptance, all they need to do further is submit the requirements and undergo the interview.
“In all cases, there must be a minimum of three names in the short list for each vacant position. Otherwise, the opening will be republished,” Guevarra said.
With the announcement, the two other senior SC justices who did not accept their automatic nominations were AJ Leonen and Caguioa.
Bernabe will mandatorily retire on 14 May 2022; Gesmundo on 6 November 2026; and Hernando on 27 August 2036.