The Judicial and Bar Council has extended the deadline for the filing of application and nomination for the position of Chief Justice until next month.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, an ex-officio member of the seven-member council, said the new deadline was set on Sept. 2 “to invite more applicants” to the position.
The JBC, a constitutional body tasked to screen and vet nominees and applicants to the judiciary, is concurrently chaired by Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, who is set to retire on Oct. 18 after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.
The JBC earlier set the deadline for application to Bersamin’s post last Aug. 20 but there are only four applicants so far—SC Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Estela Perlas Bernabe, Andres Reyes Jr. and Jose Reyes Jr.
Peralta was appointed to the SC in 2009, Bernabe in 2011 and Reyes in 2017. Peralta and Bernabe will compulsory retire on March 27, 2022 and on May 14, 2022, respectively while Reyes’ compulsory retirement is on May 11, 2020.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa and Marvic Leonen has declined the JBC’s automatic nomination for Bersamin’s post.
Carpio is set to retire from the judiciary a week after Bersamin’s compulsory retirement on October 18.
While Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza is the sixth most senior among the incumbent magistrates, he was not included in the automatic nomination because he is compulsory retiring on Sept. 26.
The candidate who will replace Bersamin at the helm of the SC will be President Rodrigo Duterte’s third chief justice appointee, the first being Teresita Leonardo de Castro.
De Castro took the position after Maria Lourdes Sereno was removed through a quo warranto proceedings filed by the Office of the Solicitor General.
Bersamin then took over the post after De Castro retired last year, after serving only for more than two months.
President Duterte has 90 days from Oct. 18 within which to appoint who will take the top judicial post.