There are 11 aspirants, two of them currently employed outside of the judiciary, for the post of Supreme Court (SC) associate justice which was vacated last June 30 when Associate Justice Edgardo L. Delos Santos opted for early retirement.
In an announcement released by the SC’s public information office (PIO), the applicants are Commissioner Antonio T. Kho Jr. of the Commission on Elections, Finance Undersecretary Antonette C. Tionko, Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez, Deputy Court Administrator Raul B. Villanueva, Court of Appeals Associate Justices Apolinario D. Bruselas Jr., Ramon A. Cruz, Japar B. Dimaampao, Ronaldo Roberto B. Martin and Maria Filomena D. Singh, and Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje Tang and Associate Justice Geraldine Faith A. Econg.
The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), a constitutional office that accepts, screens, and nominates appointments to the judiciary, has set the public interviews of the aspirants on Aug. 11 and 12.
But lawyer Brian Keith F. Hosaka, SC spokesperson and chief of the public information office (PIO), said the dates of the interview may change since the National Capital Region would be under enhanced community quarantine from Aug. 6 to 20.
There are two existing vacancies in the 15-member SC. The first vacant post for associate justice resulted in the promotion of then Associate Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo as Chief Justice last April 5. Then Delos Santos retired last June 30.
Last June 18, the JBC sent to President Duterte its list of nominees to the post left by Gesmundo.
The nominees are, in alphabetical order: Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotage Tang, former Ateneo de Manila University law dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria, Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justices Ramon A. Cruz and Japar B. Dimaampao, Sandiganbayan Associate Justices Geraldine Faith A. Econg and Rafael R. Lagos, Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez, CA Associate Justice Maria Filomena D. Singh, and Deputy Court Administrator Raul B. Villanueva.
As of Friday morning, July 30, the President has not announced his appointee from among the nine nominees. Under the Constitution, the President has 90 days from the date of vacancy to fill up the vacant post.