Del Castillo to Head JBC Search for Next CJ

Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo will sit at the helm of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) in screening aspirants for the vacancy in the Supreme Court (SC) following the retirement of Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, JBC ex-officio member and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Tuesday.

“As a matter of practice, the most senior SC justice who did not apply for the chief justice post will preside over the deliberations on the Chief Justice position. Hence, Justice del Castillo will preside over the JBC when the chief justice post will be taken up,” Guevarra said in a message to reporters.

Del Castillo, one of the five most senior magistrates of the High Court, earlier declined his automatic nomination for the top magistrate post as he will also sit as chairman of the 2018 Bar Examinations.

Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin and Estela Perlas-Bernabe have accepted their automatic nomination to the top judiciary post.

A junior magistrate, Associate Justice Andres Reyes Jr., also accepted his nomination by retired Sandiganbayan Justice Raoul Victorino.

The JBC, a seven-member council tasked to vet nominees for judicial posts, earlier extended the Oct. 15 deadline for nominations for Chief Justice to October 26.

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to appoint more than 10 members of the High Court during his six-year term.

He has already appointed six justices so far — Ombudsman Samuel Martires, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr., Alexander Gesmundo, Jose Reyes Jr., and Ramon Paul Hernando. (PNA)

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