As the Judicial and Bar Council on Monday formally opened the nomination for the position vacated by ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, five senior magistrates, including Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, were automatically nominated to the top judicial post.
The JBC, concurrently led by Carpio, announced the opening of the nomination and application process for the most coveted post in the judiciary.
Besides Carpio, also nominated were Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta and Lucas Bersamin.
The JBC said the nomination of the five senior justices was automatic as provided under the rules.
“The five most senior associate justices of the Supreme Court are automatically nominated, subject to the submission of a written acceptance of nomination,” the JBC said in a statement issued through the high court’s public information office.
Carpio has already said he will decline all nomination for the top post.
He said he did not want to benefit from Sereno’s ouster, which he opposed by dissenting from the majority ruling.
Observers in the judiciary said Velasco and De Castro were also expected to decline the nomination on the ground they were retiring in August and October this year, respectively.
Peralta still has four years before retirement.
The JBC started the search for Sereno’s replacement after the high court made final its decision ousting her from her post last week.
The 1987 Constitution requires that the position of chief justice be filled within 90 days from vacancy or from the finality of the high court ruling on June 19.
This means President Rodrigo Duterte needs to appoint Sereno’s replacement by Sept. 16.
The Constitution requires the chief justice, like the high court’s associate justices, to be a natural-born citizen, to be at least 40 years old, to have experience as a judge or in private law practice for at least 15 days, and to be a person with proven competence, integrity, probity and independence.