By REY G. PANALIGAN
There are now four Supreme Court justices who are aspiring to be Chief Justice, the post vacated by Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno who was ousted in a final decision last June 19.
The fourth aspirant is Justice Teresita J. Leonardo de Castro, whose automatic nomination as one of the five senior SC justices was announced by the Judicial and Bar Council.
Justices Diosdado M. Peralta, Lucas P. Bersamin – two of the senior SC justices – and Andres B. Reyes had earlier accepted their nominations.
In the case of Reyes, he was nominated by then JBC member and former Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Raoul Victorino.
Yesterday was the deadline imposed by the JBC for aspirants or nominees to affirm their nominations and submit the required documents for the Chief Justice post.
De Castro, then Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan, was appointed to the SC in 2007 by then President now House Speaker Gloria M. Arroyo.
She has been in government service for the past 45 years. De Castro is set to retire on Oct. 26 this year when she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 for members of the Judiciary.