Only three out of the five eligible senior justices of the Supreme Court (SC) eligible to replace retiring Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta submitted the required documents to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC)

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, a member of the JBC which screens and recommends judicial nominees to the president, said senior Associate Justices Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe, Alexander G. Gesmundo and Ramon Paul L. Hernando have submitted their required documents to be short-listed to the chief justice post.

Guevarra said senior Associate Justices Alfredo Caguioa and Marvic Leonen, who were the most senior in terms of tenure in the high court after Bernabe, did not submit their documents for unknown reasons.

Under the rules of the JBC, the five most senior associate justices are automatically nominated for the chief justice post.
The justice secretary could not say why Caguioa and Leonen did not submit their documents to the JBC.

“I couldn’t speculate on the reason. Either they are not really interested or unable to complete and submit all the requirements on time,” he said.

Peralta announced in December last year that he intends to retire a year earlier than his mandatory retirement on March 2022. His retirement will be effective March 27 this year.

Of the nominees to replace Peralta, Bernabe will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 on May 14, 2022 while Gesmundo will retire in 2026 and Hernando in 2036.

Caguiao will retire on 2029 while Leonen will retire on 2032.

Peralta was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte on October 2019 to replace Lucas Bersamin. Rommel F. Lopez