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READ: Get to know the Justices who voted for Sereno’s ouster

by | Feature

May. 23, 18 | 4:21 pm

The Supreme Court (SC), the highest court in the Philippines, recently made waves with its decision to oust Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, a move considered to be unprecedented and historic.

The SC en banc voted 8-6 in favor of the quo warranto petition that sought to declare her appointment in 2012 invalid.

Here are the 8 Justices who voted in favor of Sereno’s ouster as Chief Justice.

Teresita Leonardo-De Castro

De Castro led the anti-graft court’s special division during the trial of former President Joseph Estrada for perjury and plunder. The court found Estrada not guilty of perjury charges while he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the plunder charges.

Following the decision, Estrada called De Castro’s bar “a kangaroo court.”

Diosdado Peralta

Peralta is the third Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice to be appointed to the High Tribunal. Similar to De Castro, he was also a part of the Special Division of the Sandiganbayan that convicted former president Joseph Estrada of plunder.

Peralta is also known as the “hanging judge” before he was appointed to the Sandiganbayan. He sentenced to death more than 40 people when he was still regional trial court judge.

He is also a founding member of the “Guillotine Club,” a group of judges who are pro capital punishment.

Andres Reyes, Jr.

Reyes is President Rodrigo Duterte’s third appointee to the SC.

He also came from a family of justices. His father is former Court of Appeals Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Sr. while his grandfather is former SC Justice Alex C. Reyes.

One of Reyes’ most notable moves was his joint statement with ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno regarding the detainment of six provincial government employees of Ilocos Norte, known as the “Ilocos Six.”

Lucas Bersamin

Bersamin has handled a number of high-profile cases including the fertilizer fund scam, Urban Bank’s receivership, and a land ownership case of the Arroyos, among others.

He was a member of the committee that ordered the extension of the freeze order on the 22 bank accounts of former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-joc” Bolante in October 2008, who was tagged as the mastermind in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.

Samuel Martires

Martires is Duterte’s first appointment to the Supreme Court.

Among his notable decisions in the past were his decision to absolve late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the late Armed Forces chief Fabian Ver, and businessman Roberto Ongpin, over the alleged Binondo Central Bank scam.

Martires also wrote the decision that dismissed the complaint against then-Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte for the demolition of a park owned by Duterte’s political rival in 2008. Martires cleared Duterte and 5 other Davao officials of graft charges for the demolition of a P2-million canal-cover project of former House Speaker Prospero Nograles, stating there was no probable cause for the allegations.

Alexander Gesmundo

Gesmundo is Duterte’s fourth appointee to the SC. Among Gesmundo’s previous rulings were the clearance of former military comptroller and retired major general Carlos Garcia of perjury after his failure to declare ownership of three cars in his 1997 SALN.

Gesmundo also decided the ponencia that convicted two retired and 7 active police officials for graft over P38 million worth of ghost purchases in 1992.

Noel Tijam

Tijam is Duterte’s second appointment to the SC. When Tijam faced the Judicial and Bar Council in 2016, he said he had previously given rulings against Philippine presidents.

In 2013, Tijam affirmed the constitutionality of former president Benigno Aquino III’s revocation of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s so-called “midnight appointments”.

Francis Jardeleza

Jardaleza’s appointment in the Supreme Court under the Aquino administration was met with backlash. After he was initially removed from the Judicial and Bar Council shortlist, an SC ruling included him again after Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa defended his qualification to be included in the shortlist.

The Palace denied claims that Aquino pushed for Jardaleza’s appointment to have more allies in the SC after the Court declared the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as partially unconstitutional.

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