By Rey Panaligan
There are now 12 aspirants to the post of associate justice of the Supreme Court (SC) that would be vacated on Aug. 8 with the retirement of Associate Justice Presbitero J. Velasco Jr.
Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez, nine Court of Appeals (CA) associate justices, a regional trial court (RTC) judge, and a former college of law dean have so far been nominated for screening by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), the office that recommends appointments to the judiciary.
Also aspirants are CA Associate Justices Jose Reyes, Rosmari Declaro Carandang, Ramon Bato, Ramon Hernando, Ramon Garcia, Oscar Badelles, Manuel Barrios, Apolinario Bruselas and Amy Lazaro-Javier, Davao City RTC Judge Carlos Espero, and former Ateneo de Manila College of Law dean Cesar Villanueva.
Justice Velasco graduated at the University of the Philippines in 1971 and placed sixth in the bar examinations with a grade of 89.85 per cent on the same year.
He was a private law practitioner for 20 years before joining the government service in 1995 as Department of Justice undersecretary. In 1998, he was appointed CA associate justice and later on appointed court administrator in 2001. He was appointed to the SC on March 31, 2006.