SC Associate Justice Teresita de Castro nominated for Ombudsman

NOMINEE. In this file photo, Associate Justice Teresita de Castro testifies in the House justice committee hearing on the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. File photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

NOMINEE. In this file photo, Associate Justice Teresita de Castro testifies in the House justice committee hearing on the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

File photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Teresita de Castro was nominated to replace Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, who is set to retire in July 2018.

In a nomination letter sent to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on Thursday, May 3, retired associate justice Arturo Brion cited De Castro's decades-long service to the judiciary as well as the awards she received.

"Through all these years, she has served the government with competence, probity, and integrity," Brion said.

“Her long years in the prosecutorial service (almost 19 years) and in the Sandiganbayan (more than 10 years), not to mention her more than a decade of experience as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, fully qualify her for the position of Ombudsman," he added.

De Castro is set to retire from the SC in October 2018, when she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70. 

She was appointed in December 2007 by then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and had been bypassed for the position of chief justice during the administrations of Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III. (READ: FAST FACTS: Who is SC Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro?)

Her long career in public service – spanning more than 40 years – began when she became a law clerk in the Office of the Clerk of Court in February 1973. 

De Castro eventually became a member of the technical staff of the late chief justice Fred Ruiz Castro, a judicial assistant, a state counsel I at the Department of Justice in 1978, and rose to the position of assistant chief state counsel by 1997. 

In 1997, she was appointed as associate justice at the Sandiganbayan and became presiding justice in 2004.

De Castro recently took the spotlight during several House justice committee hearings on the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Her "unprecedented" appearance before the House justice committee, however, wasn't the first time De Castro spoke against Sereno. She objected to several acts by the Chief Justice in recent years. (READ: 'You're oppressive!': Sereno, De Castro face off in SC orals)

De Castro also questioned Sereno's decision to create a permanent Judiciary Decentralized Office in the Visayas in 2012, with the SC eventually revoking her order. (READ: De Castro accuses Sereno of deception)

Because of her apparent stance against Sereno, De Castro is one of the 6 justices that Sereno wants to inhibit from voting on the quo warranto petition filed against her.

The SC dismissed 5 petitions, save for one that was filed last Friday, May 4. – Rappler.com