New SC Justice Jose Reyes Jr.: 5th Duterte appointee in tribunal
President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justice Jose Reyes Jr. as the newest magistrate of the Supreme Court.
Reyes will take the place of Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr., who retired from government service earlier this week.
The 67-year-old Reyes is scheduled to take his oath of office on Aug. 13, according to Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go.
Reyes was still in the United States as of Friday when his appointment was announced by Go.
He is the President’s fifth appointee in the high court, after Associate Justices Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr., Alexander Gesmundo and retired Associate Justice and now Ombudsman Samuel Martires.
Reyes won over other contenders for the post, who included court administrator Midas Marquez, Court of Appeals Associate Justices Apolinario Bruselas, Rosmari Carandang, Ramon Garcia, Ramon Hernando and Amy Lazaro-Javier, and former Ateneo law dean Cesar Villanueva.
Reyes obtained his law degree from San Beda College, President Duterte’s alma mater, in 1977 and passed the bar exam in the same year.
He joined the judiciary as a technical assistant to then Chief Justice Felix Makasiar in 1978. He was appointed presiding judge of Metropolitan Court Branch 69 of Pasig City in 1987, and of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 76 of San Mateo, Rizal, in 1991.
He acted as executive judge from June 1995 to July 2003 and was designated special court judge to try and decide heinous crimes from October 1996 to July 2003.
Reyes was appointed associate justice of the appeals court on July 8, 2003.
In April 2015, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV alleged that Reyes and other members of the court’s Sixth Division received a P50-million bribe to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking the Ombudsman’s suspension of then Makati Mayor Junjun Binay in March 2015.
Freezing Peter Co accounts
Reyes said he and other members had been vindicated by the lack of evidence in the alleged bribery, adding that the high court upheld the TRO and the subsequent writ of preliminary injunction they issued.
In 2016, Trillanes accused Reyes of receiving P25 million to issue decisions favoring Binay. Reyes denied the accusations.
The appeals court stopped Binay’s preventive suspension over the Makati City Hall Building 2 project. In 2016, the court found Trillanes guilty of indirect contempt of court and ordered him to pay a P30,000 fine.
In 2017, Reyes concurred in the order of Associate Justice Stephen Cruz to freeze some 160 accounts and insurance policies in 16 banks and three other financial institutions that convicted drug lord Peter Co and his associates allegedly used to facilitate more than P10 billion in transactions over the past decade.
Born on Sept. 18, 1950, in Tacloban City, Reyes is married to Ma. Ofelia Bernardino, with whom he has three children. —WITH A REPORT FROM INQUIRER RESEARCH
SOURCE: INQUIRER ARCHIVES AND COURT OF APPEALS
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