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Chief Justice Peralta announces early retirement

/ 01:37 PM December 01, 2020

Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

MANILA, Philippines— Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta has announced his early retirement effective March 27, 2021, his 69th birthday.

High Court’s Public Information Chief and spokesman Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka made the confirmation.

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“For those asking about the purported letter of Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta to his colleagues in the Supreme Court, signifying his intention to avail of early retirement, I have asked him personally and he confirmed it,” Hosaka told reporters.

“The Chief Justice did not elaborate further but said that he will make a formal announcement in due time. Thank you,” he added.

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Peralta is supposed to retire in 2022 at the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Peralta was appointed as Chief Justice on Oct. 23, 2019 following the mandatory retirement of Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin. He is the third chief justice to be appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte. The first to be appointed as Chief Justice was Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, followed by Justice Lucas Bersamin.

Who will be the next chief justice?

With Peralta’s early retirement, once the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) opens the nomination for his replacement, the five most senior Associate Justices of the Supreme Court will automatically be nominated.

However, they still need to submit a letter accepting the nomination.

If the seniority rule will be followed, next to Peralta is Senior Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe who will retire on May 14, 2022. Two other most senior magistrates are non-Duterte appointees and known dissenters Associate Justices Marvic Leonen Marvic Leonen (retiring on Dec. 29, 2032) and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa (retiring on Sept. 26, 2029). Completing the five most senior are Associate Justices Alexander Gesmundo (retiring on Nov. 6, 2026 and Ramon Paul Hernando (retiring on Aug. 27, 2036). Gesmundo and Hernando are appointed by President Duterte.

To date, President Duterte has already appointed 15 magistrates, excluding the three who were promoted as Chief Justice. His first appointee was Justice Samuel Martires who opted for early retirement. He currently serves as an Ombudsman. His other appointees Justices Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr. and Jose Reyes Jr. have all retired while Justice Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla opted for early retirement.

When he steps down in 2022, 13 out of 15 of his appointees will be occupying the Supreme Court

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