MANILA -- Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta is the successor of retired Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, Malacañang announced on Wednesday.
In a text message, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte has chosen Peralta to lead the Supreme Court following Bersamin’s retirement.
“Yes,” Medialdea said, when asked to confirm Peralta’s appointment as the country’s new top magistrate.
Bersamin reached the compulsory retirement age of 70 on October 18.
The 1987 Constitution mandates the President to appoint a new top magistrate within 90 days from vacancy.
Medialdea said the President signed Peralta’s appointment paper on October 23.
Malacañang has yet to release a copy of the appointment paper.
Peralta is the most senior in terms of experience in the high tribunal.
Prior to his stint at the Supreme Court in January 2009, Peralta served as presiding judge of the Sandiganbayan.
He was also a presiding judge of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 95, and a prosecutor in Laoag City and in Manila.
He bested Associate Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Andres Reyes Jr., the two other magistrates who made it to the shortlist for the country's next Chief Justice endorsed by the Judicial and Bar Council.
Perlas-Bernabe was appointed to the Supreme Court by former President Benigno Aquino III in 2011, while Reyes got a seat at the high court in 2017.
Peralta will take over the helm of the Supreme Court until his mandatory retirement on March 27, 2022.
Peralta obtained his undergraduate degree in Economics from Colegio de San Juan de Letran, and his law degree from the University of Santo Tomas.
Peralta, who hailed from Ilocos Norte, started his career in government as an assistant fiscal in Laoag City in 1987.
As a member of the high tribunal, Peralta penned the November 2016 ruling that upholds the legality of the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) in Taguig City.
In May 2018, he also voted in favor of the quo warranto petition lodged by Solicitor General Jose Calida against ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
He was also one of the magistrates who approved in June 2019 the granting of retroactive application of Republic Act 10592 or the Expanded Good Conduct Time Allowance. (PNA)