Manila Standard - Peralta reforms go on despite retirement

News & Interviews
17 January 2021

By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard

Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta on Sunday said reforms being implemented in the judiciary and the remedial measures adopted by the Supreme Court to curb the spread of the corona virus would not be affected by his early retirement on March 27.

Peralta saud that all the reform programs “are all envisioned to serve as long-term reforms for the judiciary.”

Among the reforms undertaken by the SC at the start of Peralta’s term in late 2019 were the revisions of several rules of procedures and the creation of investigate bodies to probe on erring judiciary members and court personnel.

The remedial measures adopted to contain the pandemic were the online filing of cases and pleadings in courts, conduct of video conferencing to expedite hearing of cases, and the adoption of skeletal force and the four-day workweek in the courts.

“I believe that my retirement from the Court will not adversely affect the implementation of these programs,” Peralta said.

“These reforms were all created to make the administration of justice more effective, efficient and responsive,” he added.

Peralta expressed confidence that these programs will serve as “blueprints and foundations” for the overall processes and linkages within the courts, “regardless of who is at the Judiciary’s helm.”

Last December 1, Peralta told his colleagues of his intention to retire on March 27, 2021 or one year ahead of his mandatory retirement on March 27, 2022.

The Judicial and Bar Council, which is now accepting applications and recommendation to the Chief Justice post until February 15, has confirmed that Peralta’s early retirement had been approved by the SC, as a full court, last January 5.

But the JBC did not give details on the reason or reasons behind Peralta’s early retirement.

Based on seniority, the most senior justice in the SC 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.

There is now a vacancy in the 15-member SC when Associate Justice Priscilla J. Baltazar Padilla retired last November 3.

The JBC has named eight nominees to Padilla’s post – Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez, Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje Tang, former Ateneo de Manila University dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria, and Court of Appeals Associate Justices Ramon A. Cruz, Japar B. Dimaampao, Jhoseph Y. Lopez, and Maria Filomena D. Singh.

The nomination was sent to President Duterte last January 12. The President, under the Constitution, has 90 days from Nov. 3, 2020 to appoint a replacement.