MANILA–Some 12 applicants will vie for the position to be vacated by Supreme Court Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes who is set to retire in July, three of which are new applicants including a Court Administrator and two Court of Appeals Associate Justices.
The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has received 12 nominations and applications for the upcoming vacancy in the SC that would enable President Rodrigo Duterte to name his third appointee to the high court.
Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez has been endorsed by the Philippine Judges Association (PJA) through its president Georgina Hidalgo. The group called for the promotion of Marquez as member of the high court, citing his “integrity, competence, work ethic and dedication to the judiciary” as his qualifications.
“He brought about significant innovations and reforms in the dispensation of justice in the first and second level courts,” read a resolution signed by members of the PJA executive committee.
Marquez started his career in the SC in 1991 as a law clerk for several justices, including retired Associate Justice Abraham Sarmiento, Senior Justice and former Philippine Judicial Academy chancellor Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera, and retired Senior Associate Justice Josue Bellosillo.
Marquez finished both his degree in Economics and juris doctor degree at the Ateneo de Manila University. From a legal clerk for several justices, he rose from the ranks before being appointed court administrator in 2010.
Marquez became prominent during the terms of retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno and late Chief Justice Renato Corona when he served as spokesman of the high tribunal.
He was also named director of the SC-United Nations Development Program Project on Technical Assistance to the Philippine Judiciary from 1998 to 2000.
Aside from Marquez, Court of Appeals Associate Justices Ramon Paul Hernando and Ramon Bato were also nominated to the post and will also face the JBC in public interviews.
Hernando was a former Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutor and regional trial court judge of San Pablo, Laguna and Quezon City while Bato was a former RTC judge and known for dismissing the criminal charges against Senator Panfilo Lacson in the controversial Dacer-Corbito murder cases.
The nine others were already nominated in the two previous vacancies from the retirement of Associate Justices Jose Perez and Arturo Brion in December last year – CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr., Associate Justices Rosmari Carandang, Jose Reyes, Japar Dimaampao, Apolinario Bruselas, Stephen Cruz and Amy Lazaro Javier; Centro Escolar University law school vice dean Rita Linda Ventura – Jimeno; and Pasig RTC Judge Rowena Apao-Adlawan.
All the applicants will be screened by the JBC and submit a shortlist to President Rodrigo Duterte.
Last March, President Duterte named his first two appointees to the high court – Associate Justices Samuel Martires and Noel Tijam. Both were schoolmates of the President in the San Beda College law school.
The JBC is set to publish the names of the aspirants to the SC vacancy and schedule the public interviews for the three new nominees.
The JBC is chaired by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Aranal-Sereno, with two ex-officio members –Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and legislative representatives Senator Richard Gordon and Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali, who shall have a term sharing seat in the JBC.
The regular members are retired SC Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, who heads the Executive Committee; lawyer Jose Mejia, representing the academe; lawyer Milagros Fernan-Cayosa, representing the Integrated Bar of the Philippines; and retired Judge Toribio Ilao, representing the private sector.