Justice De Castro accepts nomination for Chief Justice

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 26) — Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro has accepted her nomination for Chief Justice.

De Castro sent her letter of acceptance to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on Thursday, the last day of the filing of applications.

De Castro was automatically nominated for the post as she is among the five most senior associate justices of the High Court. She had to formally accept the nomination to be considered an applicant based on JBC rules. The council screens applicants to the judiciary.

The 69-year-old justice, however, will retire in October as she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.

She made headlines in April after trading barbs with then Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno during the oral arguments on the quo warranto petition that sought to unseat Sereno.

Former President and new House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appointed De Castro as associate justice in 2007.

Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin, Diosdado Peralta, Andres Reyes Jr., and Davao del Norte trial court judge Virginia Tejano-Ang are also vying for the top magistrate post.

The four associate justices all voted to oust Sereno on May 11 and junked her appeal on June 19, permanently removing her from office.

They are Arroyo appointees, except for Reyes who was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, the most senior justice, and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen had declined their nominations.

The JBC is closing its one-month search on Thursday. Applicants will then undergo comprehensive medical examinations, psychological evaluation, written evaluative examinations and public interviews.

An applicant should obtain the affirmative vote of at least four members of the JBC to be considered in the shortlist to be submitted to President Duterte.