Bersamin gets most votes as SC nominee for chief justice

MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin got the most votes when the en banc chose on Tuesday, July 31, the nominee it would recommend to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) when the latter draws up its shortlist for chief justice.

Bersamin got 10 votes; associate justices Teresita Leonardo De Castro and Diosdado Peralta got 9 votes each; while Associate Justice Andres Reyes Jr got two votes, Court Spokesman Theodore Te announced in a news conference on Tuesday.

The SC's vote on Bersamin is only a recommendation. The JBC is not compelled to follow it. However,  by tradition, the chief justice, the ex-officio chairman of the JBC, votes for whomever the en banc has recommended. 

This means Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, if he will follow the tradition, might vote for Bersamin when the JBC deliberates on its shortlist. But Carpio, and other JBC members, are not constrained to vote just one nominee.

What this reflects is the choice of the en banc. (READ: By 2022, Supreme Court filled with Duterte appointees)

The two votes for Reyes indicate the disagreement by other justices to his application. Earlier, when Associate Justice Marvic Leonen declined his nomination, he said in his letter that the members of the Court had agreed that the next chief justice should come from the pool of the 5 most senior justices.

Reyes is the 2nd most junior justice.

Apart from the justices, Tagum City Judge Virginia Tejano Ang also applied for chief justice.

Bersamin retires in October 2019, De Castro in October 2018, Peralta in March 2022, and Reyes in May 2020. – 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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