MANILA, Philippines — Some 12 applicants, including Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez and two associate justices of the Court of Appeals, are vying for the seat to be vacated by Supreme Court Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes when he retires in July.
The nominations and applications have been received by the Judicial and Bar Council, which will draw up the short list from which President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to choose his third appointee to the high court.
Marquez has been endorsed by the Philippine Judges Association through its president Georgina Hidalgo, who cited his citing his “integrity, competence, work ethic and dedication to the judiciary.”
“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, who earned both his degree in Economics and juris doctor degree at the Ateneo de Manila University, began 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.
He then rose through the ranks, becoming SC spokesman, before being appointed Court Administrator in 2010. He also served as director of the SC-United Nations Development Program Project on Technical Assistance to the Philippine Judiciary from 1998 to 2000.
Court of Appeals Associate Justices Ramon Paul Hernando and Ramon Bato have also been nominated.
Hernando was a former prosecutor and regional trial court judge of San Pablo, Laguna and Quezon City while Bato was a former RTC judge known for dismissing the criminal charges against Senator Panfilo Lacson in the controversial Dacer-Corbito murder cases.
The nine other hopefuls were nominated for the two previous vacancies created by 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.
Duterte’s first two appointees to the high court are Associate Justices Samuel Martires and Noel Tijam. Both were his schoolmates in the San Beda College law school.
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.