Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said Friday the five most senior justices of the Supreme Court were qualified to succeed him when he retires next month.
“I’ve worked with them for so many years and I believe that all of them are qualified; otherwise they should not have been there for a long, long time. They have already gained the experience needed to lead the judiciary,” Peralta told reporters in a chance interview.
He was referring to Associate Justices Estela Perlas Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, Alexander Gesmundo and Ramon Paul Hernando.
Peralta also said the Judicial and Bar Council, a constitutional body tasked to vet nominees and applicants to various courts in the judiciary, had discussed on Thursday the proposal of the high court to exempt the five most senior justices from mandatory public interview and submission of clearances, medical examination results and documentary requirements.
However, the chief justice refused to disclose other details of the meeting.
“That will be announced later,” he said.
Peralta on Friday revealed his plans to return to teaching when he retires, saying it “holds a special place in my heart.”
Peralta, who earlier told his colleagues in the Supreme Court of his intention to retire one year ahead of his mandatory retirement age of 70 on March 27, 2022, said he will retire without regrets knowing fully well that he did all he could for the law, the judiciary and for the country.
Peralta decided to retire on March 27 at age of 69, or one year ahead of the mandatory retirement age for judges and justices.
“I think I did my best and I hope that whoever will replace me will continue with the programs that I have started and will introduce other innovations so that there will be better access to the courts,” he said.
The seven-member JBC earlier extended until February 26 the submission of applications for the post of chief justice, the most coveted position in the judiciary.