Junior SC Justice Andy Reyes applies for chief justice

MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Andres "Andy" Reyes Jr has applied for the post of chief justice, a reliable source confirmed to Rappler.

Reyes accepted his nomination to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on Wednesday, July 25. 

Reyes was nominated by retired Sandiganbayan justice Raoul Victorino. Victorino nominated all 14 SC justices, the source said, but only Reyes has accepted the nomination as of Wednsday.

Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, currently the 4th most senior justice in the Court, also accepted his automatic nomination on Wednesday, the source added.

Prior to Peralta, Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin – the 5th most senior SC justice – had accepted his automatic nomination.

The 5 most senior SC justices, according to rules, were automatically nominated for the top judicial post. Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio is the most senior SC justice, followed by Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr and Teresita Leonardo de Castro.

Carpio already declined the nomination, saying he does not want to benefit from the quo warranto ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno which he dissented to.

Velasco retires on August 8, with his replacement already on the way. 

De Castro retires in 3 months or in October. De Castro has until tomorrow, Thursday, July 26, to accept her nomination.

Junior justice

Reyes is the second most junior justice in the Supreme Court.  President Rodrigo Duterte appointed him to the Court  in July 2017. Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo is the most junior, appointed to the Court in August last year.

Reyes is set to retire in May 2020, when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Reyes was a Court of Appeals justice before his appointment to the High Court. Prior to the CA, Reyes served in the Metropolitan Trial Court in Makati in 1987 and was a Metropolitan Trial Court judge in San Mateo, Rizal, in 1990.

Reyes, a graduate of Ateneo Law School, is the fraternity brother of former  speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. 

Reyes’ application is expected to raise some eyebrows in and out of the SC, because it is exactly what Sereno did in 2010 when she applied for the top post despite being a junior justice.

The tradition of seniority is fiercely honored in the High Court, and until Reyes’ application, it was widely believed that the SC was poised to restore that tradition as one of the steps to regroup after Sereno’s ouster.

De Castro, Peralta, Bersamin, and Reyes all voted to oust Sereno.

De Castro, Peralta, and Bersamin were all appointees of then President  Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is now the House Speaker.

Reyes has an Arroyo connection too. Newsbreak earlier reported that Reyes is close to Arroyo’s younger brother Diosdado “Buboy” Macapagal Jr, having been batchmates at La Salle Green Hills. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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