Supreme Court Associate Justice Edgardo Delos Santos has opted to retire early due to health reasons, a Court official said on Friday.
SC Public Information Office chief and spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka confirmed that Delos Santos wants to retire ahead of his mandatory retirement age of 70 on June 12, 2022.
“According to Justice Delos Santos, due to health reasons he is considering the possibility of retiring ahead of his 70th birthday on 12 June 2022,” Hosaka said in a text message to reporters.
He said the SC justice wrote to his staff advising them as early as March 19, 2021 to look for other employment “knowing the difficulty of finding a job during this pandemic.”
“Justice Delos Santos further added that he remains an incumbent member of the Supreme Court until after a specific date of retirement, as may be indicated in a formal letter from him to the En Banc, is accepted and acted upon by the Court,” Hosaka explained.
Since last year, Delos Santos is the third magistrate of the 15-member bench to opt for early retirement, and the second to cite health reasons.
In November last year, the Court accepted the early retirement of Associate Justice Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla, who was supposed to retire in 2028.
The high court did not provide specific details on her reason for retiring early except that she applied for “disability retirement.”
Last December, Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta also opted for early retirement. Today he bows out as the 26th top magistrate of the Supreme Court.
Peralta was supposed to hang his robe on March 27, 2022. The SC did not divulge the reason for his optional retirement.
The Judicial and Bar Council has already submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte the names of a possible replacement for Peralta, who was the fourth chief justice to be appointed by the President.
Duterte had previously appointed Lucas Bersamin, Teresita Leonardo De Castro, and Peralta.
The President has already appointed 16 SC justices. Three of them have already retired, while two retired early.