Peralta is new Chief Justice

Published October 23, 2019, 3:15 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Rey Panaligan, Argyll Geducos, and Jeffrey Damicog

President Duterte has appointed Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta as the new Chief Justice and head of the country’s judiciary, Malacañang confirmed Wednesday.


He replaced former Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin who retired last October 18.

Peralta, the 26th Chief Justice, is expected to head the judiciary until midnight of March 26, 2022. He will retire on March 27, 2022, when he turns 70 years old, the mandatory retirement age for members of the judiciary.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed Peralta’s appointment in a text message to Malacañang reporters Wednesday afternoon.

The High Tribunal received the transmittal letter containing President Duterte’s appointment of Chief Justice Peralta at past 2 p.m. Wednesday, SC spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka said during a press briefing.

With Peralta’s promotion to the highest post in the judiciary, there will be three associate justice vacancies in the 15-member SC.

The two other associate justice vacancies are the posts left with the retirement last September 26 of Associate Justice Francis H. Jardeleza and that which would be left with the retirement of Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio on October 26.

Before his promotion, Peralta was the head of the SC’s third division, head of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET), and chairman of the SC’s Committee on the Revision of Rules.

He was the most senior magistrate among the three SC associate justices who were nominated by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to the top judicial post.

Now as Chief Justice, Peralta will be the chairman of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) and head of the JBC, the constitutional office that accepts, screens, and nominates appointments to the judiciary.

He has been with the judiciary for the past 25 years. He started as a judge of the regional trial court (RTC) in Quezon City in 1994. As a trial court judge, his court was designated a special criminal court for heinous crimes and, later, for drugs cases.

Among his decisions that were hailed during his time as trial court judge, was his imposition in 1999 of the death penalty against a policeman who shot an 11-year-old boy while flying his kite; and the first-ever plunder conviction in 2001 against a cashier of the Bureau of Internal Revenue who was sentenced to two life terms for pocketing P260 million in withholding taxes.

In 2002, he was promoted to the Sandiganbayan. After six years in the anti-graft court, he was promoted as its presiding justice in 2008.

On Jan. 13, 2009, Peralta was named by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as SC associate justice, a post he held until his promotion as Chief Justice.

The new Chief Justice is a native of Laoag City in Ilocos Norte. His career in government service started in 1987 with his appointment as assistant city prosecutor for Laoag City.

In 1988, he was transferred to the prosecutor’s office in Manila where he later became the assistant chief of the investigation division.

Peralta finished his law degree at the University of Santo Tomas in 1979 as a working student. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Economics from the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in 1974.

He is married to Court of Appeals Associate Justice Fernanda C. Lampas Peralta with whom he has four children – Dorothy who is a lawyer, John Christopher, Timothy John, and John Isaac.

Among the award Peralta received as judge include the Chief Justice Ramon Avencena Award for Outstanding Regional Trial Court Judge in 2002; the Special Centennial Awards handed by the SC in 2001 and the Volunteer’s Against Crime and Corruption’s (VACC) Annual Pillars of the Criminal Justice System Awards in 1999 and 2001.

As a prosecutor, he was also recognized as the Most Outstanding Public Prosecutor of Manila for t 1990-1991 by the City of Manila; the Most Outstanding Public Prosecutor of the City of Manila in 1994 by the Department of Justice; and was one of the five finalists for Outstanding Public Prosecutor Nationwide given by the Foundation on Judicial Excellence in 1993.

Before becoming a magistrate of the SC, he was also a professor, lecturer, resource person, and Bar reviewer in Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Remedial Law, and Trial Techniques at the UST Faculty of Civil Law, the Ateneo de Manila University, San Beda College of Law, the University of the East, and the University of the Philippines Law Center, among others.

He was also a member of the Corps of Professors under the Department of Criminal Law of the PHILJA and remains to be an active lecturer thereof on its Orientation Program for Newly Appointed Judges, Pre-judicature Program and other training seminars. (With a report from MB Online)