Reyes sworn in as new SC associate justice

Published August 14, 2018, 3:29 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Rey Panaligan

Court of Appeals Associate Justice Jose C. Reyes Jr. took his oath of office Tuesday morning as new associate justice of the Supreme Court (SC).

(via  Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
(via Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

He took the post vacated by retired SC Associate Justice Presbitero J. Velasco Jr. who retired on August 8 upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70 for members of the judiciary.

After taking his oath of office before Acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio, Justice Reyes attended the full court session of the SC.

Reyes is President Duterte’s fifth appointee to the SC.The first four appointees were Associate Justices Samuel Martires, who retired optionally to assume his new post as the country’s Ombudsman, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr., and Alexander Gesmundo.

There are still two vacancies in the 15-member SC.

The vacant slots are for the post of Chief Justice that was vacated on June 19 by Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno and the position left by Martires.

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will hold public interviews on Thursday on the aspirants to the Chief Justice post. It has yet to receive applications or nominations to the post vacated by Martires.

Earlier, 10 SC justices had endorsed to the JBC the nomination of their colleague, Associate Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, as the next Chief Justice.

Carpio, who assumed the Chief Justice when Sereno took her indefinite leave of absence from the top judicial post in March, also said Associate Justices Teresita J. Leonardo de Castro and Diosdado M. Peralta got nine votes while Justice Andres B. Reyes Jr. got two votes.

Carpio had earlier declined his automatic nomination by the JBC and those given by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and former Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr.

The JBC is the constitutional office that accepts, screens and nominates appointments to the judiciary. It is from the list of nominees that would be submitted by the JBC where President Duterte would select who he would appoint as the new Chief Justice.

The President has 90 days from June 19, the finality of the SC decision that ousted Sereno, to name a replacement.