Reforms being implemented in the Judiciary and the remedial measures adopted by the Supreme Court (SC) to contain the coronavirus pandemic would not be affected by his early retirement on March 27, Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta said said Sunday.
Peralta said that all the programs and initiatives “and all the previous ones…are all envisioned to serve as long-term reforms for the Judiciary.”
Among the reforms undertaken by the SC at the start of Peralta’s term in late 2019 were the revisions of several rules of procedures and the creation of investigative bodies to probe on erring Judiciary members and court personnel.
Remedial measures adopted to contain the pandemic were the online filing of cases and pleadings in courts, conduct of video conferencing to expedite hearing of cases, and the adoption of skeletal force and the four-day workweek in the courts.
“I believe that my retirement from the Court will not adversely affect the implementation of these programs,” Peralta said.
“These reforms were all created to make the administration of justice more effective, efficient and responsive,” he stressed.
“To my mind, they will serve as blueprints and foundations for the overall processes and linkages within the courts, regardless of who is at the Judiciary’s helm,” he added.
Last Dec. 1, Peralta informed his SC colleagues of his intention to retire on March 27 or one year ahead of his mandatory retirement on March 27, 2022.
The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which is now accepting applications and recommendation for Chief Justice until Feb. 15, has confirmed that Peralta’s early retirement had been approved by the SC, as a full court, last Jan. 5.
However, the JBC did not give details on the reason or reasons behind Peralta’s early retirement.
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.
There is now a vacancy in the 15-member SC when Associate Justice Priscilla J. Baltazar Padilla retired last Nov. 3.
The JBC has named eight nominees to Padilla’s post – Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez, Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang, former Ateneo de Manila University Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria, and Court of Appeals Associate Justices Ramon A. Cruz, Japar B. Dimaampao, Jhoseph Y. Lopez, and Maria Filomena D. Singh.
The nomination was sent to Duterte last Jan. 12. The President, under the Constitution, has 90 days from Nov. 3 to appoint a replacement.