President Rodrigo Duterte has promoted Court of Appeals Associate Justice Jhosep Lopez as the 190th magistrate of the Supreme Court.
Lopez will fill the post vacated by Justice Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla, who retired last year at 62, eight years ahead of the mandatory retirement age for justices and judges.
The SC approved Baltazar-Padilla's application for disability retirement last November.
The Judicial and Bar Council has shortlisted Lopez several times for an SC post.
He served as City prosecutor of Manila before being appointed to the Court of Appeals in May 2012.
Lopez’s appointment completes the 15-member bench, but another seat will be vacant when Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta retires in March.
The JBC has opened applications for Peralta's successor.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte signed Lopez’s appointment papers on Monday.
“The President expects Justice Lopez will ensure judicial independence and rule of law as well as continue the reforms in the court process,” Roque said in a press briefing.
Lopez, a graduate of University of the Philippines, was appointed to the CA back in 2012. He previously served as council of Manila from 2001 to 2006 and chief city prosecutor in 2006.
The President picked Lopez from the shortlist of applicants nominated by the Judicial and Bar Council for the post of Supreme Court justice.
Prior to being CA Justice, Lopez was Manila Chief City Prosecutor and councilor of Manila’s third district.
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