4 SC justices, 1 Davao del Norte judge vying for Chief Justice post

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 26) — Four associate justices and a regional trial court judge are vying for the Chief Justice post.

They are Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin, Diosdado Peralta, Andres Reyes Jr., Teresita Leonardo de Castro, and Davao del Norte trial court judge Virginia Tejano-Ang.

The Supreme Court released this list on Thursday, as the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) closed its one-month application period.

Bersamin, Peralta, and De Castro were all automatically nominated to the post being among the five most senior associate justices of the High Court. They had to formally accept the nomination to be considered an applicant according to the rules of the JBC, which screens applicants to the judiciary.

Reyes, meanwhile, accepted the nomination made by retired Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Raoul Victorino of all 14 Supreme Court justices.

Tejano-Ang, the presiding judge of the Tagum City, Davao del Norte Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 1, becomes the only applicant outside the Supreme Court after accepting her nomination.

Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, the most senior justice, declined his nomination.

He assumed the post in an acting capacity on May 11, when the Supreme Court unseated Maria Lourdes Sereno. She was permanently removed from her post on June 19 as the High court junked her appeal.

Bersamin, Peralta, Reyes, and de Castro all voted to oust Sereno.

Except for Reyes, Sereno had asked the justices to inhibit from her case, accusing them of harboring bias against her. They all denied the ousted chief justice's allegation.

According to JBC rules, the five applicants will 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 Rodrigo Duterte.