JBC opens applications, recommendations to Chief Justice post

Published January 14, 2021, 9:44 AM

by Rey Panaligan 

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) is now accepting applications or recommendations to the post of Chief Justice and head of the country’s judiciary, which will be vacant on March 27 with the early retirement of Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta, until February 15.

In an announcement made by the JBC and published in the Manila Bulletin, also open for applications or nominations is the post of Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Rodolfo M. Elman whose term of office will end on March 13.

For the Deputy Ombudsman’s post, the deadline for applications or recommendations is on March 1.

The JBC is the constitutional office that accepts, screens, and nominates appointments to the judiciary, the Ombudsman, and deputy Ombudsman, among other offices.

Peralta’s optional or early retirement on March 27, or one year ahead of his mandatory retirement on March 27, 2022, which will be his 70th birthday, was announced last December 1 in his letter to his colleagues in the Supreme Court (SC).

The reason for Peralta’s early retirement was not immediately known and the letter has not been made public.

In its announcement, the JBC said Peralta’s optional retirement was approved by the SC as a full court last January 5.

Interested applicants or those who would make recommendations must access the Online Application Scheduler through jbc.gov.ph website before the deadline.

Based on seniority, the most senior justice in the SC is Senior Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas Bernabe who is mandatorily retiring on May 14, 2022.

Next to Bernabe is Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen who is retiring on Dec. 29, 2032.

Also retiring in 2022, aside from Bernabe are Associate Justices Rosmari D. Carandang and Edgardo L. delos Santos.

Peralta was appointed Chief Justice on Oct. 23, 2019 by President Duterte.  He took over the post from retired Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin.

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.

As Chief Justice, Peralta is the chairman of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) and head of the JBC.

He has been with the judiciary for the past 26 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 as a special criminal court for heinous crimes and, later, for drug-related cases.

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. 23, 2009, Peralta was named SC associate justice, a post he held until his promotion as Chief Justice in 2019.

Peralta 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 while he was 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.

There is now a vacancy in the 15-member SC with the early retirement availed of by Associate Justice Priscilla J. Baltazar Padilla early last November.

There are 11 aspirants to the post vacated by Padilla.  They are Sedfrey M. Candelaria, two-term dean of the Ateneo de Manila University; Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje Tang; and Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justices Japar B. Dimaampao, Nina G. Antonio Valenzuela, Apolinario D. Bruselas Jr., Ramon A. Cruz, Jhosep Y. Lopez, Eduardo B. Peralta Jr. and Maria Filomena D. Singh; Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Oscar C. Herrera Jr.; and Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez. 

The JBC has yet to name its official nominees for submission to the President.