Leonen declines nomination for SC chief justice post

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 19) — Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen confirmed Monday that he has turned down his automatic nomination as the top court's next chief justice.

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), the government body which screens applicants to the judiciary, announced the opening of nominations in July, as Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin is set to retire on October 18.

Supreme Court Public Information Officer Brian Hosaka confirmed Leonen turned down the nomination and shared a statement from Leonen.

"There is no requirement to state our reasons for declining the nomination. For now, in my considered judgement, my decision is the right thing to do for myself, this Court and this country. I will be able to do what I do best for our people in my current position at his time," Leonen said.

Five of the most senior members of the high court were automatically nominated to the post: Justices Antonio Carpio, Diosdado Peralta, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Leonen and Alfredo Caguioa. Carpio is also set to retire a few days after Bersamin.

Apart from serving in the Supreme Court since 2012, Leonen is also a professor at the University of the Philippines College of Law.

He was a dissenting voice in the ouster of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, saying the case against her should have been junked ourtight.

There is no word on how many others were nominated to the position. The nominations will close on Tuesday, August 20.

READ: 'Pass-or-fail' system for 2020 bar exams eyed

Leonen also recently figured in the news after a tweet where he commented on the issue involving actors Bea Alonzo, Gerald Anderson, and Julia Barretto, where he asked, "Dear Bea and Julia, is he really worth it?#JustAsking."