Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta has signified his intention to avail of early retirement in March next year, one year ahead of his mandatory retirement on March 27, 2022 at age 70.
Supreme Court spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka revealed that Chief Justice Peralta, who is the country’s 26th head of the judiciary, confirmed to him the existence of his letter on the early retirement.
“I have asked him personally and he confirmed it,” Hosaka said, in a text message to reporters.
“The Chief Justice did not elaborate further but said that he will make a formal announcement in due time,” he added.
At present, there is one vacancy in the 15-member bench with the early retirement of Associate Justice Priscilla J. Baltazar Padilla early last month.
The Judicial and Bar Council, the constitutional office that accepts, screens, and nominates appointments to the judiciary, earlier announced the opening for applications or recommendations to the vacant post.
If Peralta’s retirement pushes through in March next year, the JBC has to scout for nominees for Chief Justice.
Based on seniority, the most senior justice is Senior Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas Bernabe, who is mandatorily retiring on May 14, 2022.
Next to Bernabe is Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen, who is retiring on Dec. 29, 2032.
Also retiring in 2022 aside from Bernabe are Associate Justices Rosmari D. Carandang and Edgardo L. delos Santos.
Peralta was appointed Chief Justice on Oct. 23, 2019 by President Duterte. He took over the post from retired Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin.
As Chief Justice, Peralta is the chairman of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) and head of the JBC.
He has been with the judiciary for the past 26 years. He started as a judge of the regional trial court (RTC) in Quezon City in 1994. As a trial court judge, his court was designated a special criminal court for heinous crimes and, later, for drugs cases.
In 2002, he was promoted to the Sandiganbayan. After six years in the anti-graft court, he was promoted to presiding justice in 2008.
On Jan. 23, 2009, Peralta was named SC associate justice, a post he held until his promotion as Chief Justice in 2019.
Peralta is a native of Laoag City in Ilocos Norte. His career in government service started in 1987 with his appointment as assistant city prosecutor for Laoag City.
In 1988, he was transferred to the prosecutor’s office in Manila where he later became the assistant chief of the investigation division.
Peralta finished his law degree at the University of Santo Tomas in 1979 as a working student. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Economics from the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in 1974.
He is married to Court of Appeals Associate Justice Fernanda C. Lampas Peralta with whom he has four children – Dorothy who is a lawyer, John Christopher, Timothy John, and John Isaac.