Justice Bersamin accepts nomination for Chief Justice

SC Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin. INQUIRER.NET / NOY MORCOSO

A senior justice of the Supreme Court has accepted the nomination to replace Maria Lourdes Sereno.

“SC Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin has accepted his automatic nomination for the CJ post,” Justice Secretary MenardoGuevarra said in a text message. Guevarra is a member of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) that screens aspirants for positions in the Judiciary and top Ombudsman positions.

Bersamin is the first nominee to accept the nomination for the Chief Justice post.

By tradition, the five most senior justices of the Supreme Court are automatically nominated for the position.

However, JBC rules provide that even if they are automatically nominated, they still have to formally accept the nomination to be officially considered a nominee or applicant.

Aside from Bersamin, the four other senior justices are acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo de Castro and Diosdado Peralta.

Velasco and de Castro, however, are mandated to retire in August and October, respectively.

Guevarra said Peralta was also expected to formally accept his nomination today, Wednesday, July 25.

On Tuesday, Carpio, the most senior justice of the Supreme Court already declined his nomination in a letter sent to the JBC.

He earlier explained that he did not want to benefit from the Supreme Court decision ousting Sereno via quo warranto proceeding.

Carpio dissented from the May 11 ruling that ousted Sereno, stressing that a justice of the High Court should be removed from office only by impeachment.

Bersamin and Peralta were among the six justices who were sought by Sereno to inhibit from participating in the deliberation of the quo warranto petition.

The two justices testified against her during the impeachment hearing at the House of Representatives.

Bersamin was appointed to the High Court on April 2, 2009, and Peralta on January 13, 2009.

The JBC has set its first deliberation for the Chief Justice post on August 3, a week after the deadline for the submission of applications and nominations for the post on July 26. /cbb