In a statement today (Saturday, August 25), presidential spokesman Harry Roque said: “Bravo! Best choice for CJ! Proven competence, known nationalist and a streak of being a judicial activist.”
Roque made this remark after Department of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, an ex-officio member of the Judicial and Bar Council, revealed that President Duterte selected De Castro as the new chief justice, replacing ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
“I have been informed that the President’s choice has been publicly announced by Special Assistant to the President Bong Go,” Guevarra said in a Viber message.
Guevara said the Palace will release her formal appointment papers on Tuesday next week.
However, he added that De Castro will serve as top magistrate for less than two months since she will retire this year once she reaches the mandatory age of 70.
He further described De Castro’s appointment as chief justice as “a fitting finale to her illustrious career in both the Department of Justice and the Judiciary”.
For his part, Ombudsman Samuel Martires said De Castro “deserves” her appointment, calling her a “strict but compassionate” public servant.
“She was my Presiding Justice at the Sandiganbayan [anti-graft court] and I’m pretty sure that the Sandiganbayan justices and employees are happy for her appointment as CJ,” Martires said in a statement.
Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio also welcomed the appointment.
De Castro is the most senior justice vying for chief justice. She bested her two co-magistrates SC Justice Diosdado Peralta and Justice Lucas Bersamin.
She started as a a law clerk at the Supreme Court then became state counsel at the Department of Justice.
Moreover, she also became presiding judge and chair of Sandiganbayan Special Division that convicted former President — now Manila Mayor — Joseph Estrada of plunder.
She is an alumna of the University of the Philippines and took law courses in the US.
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