The first batch of judges under the Duterte administration for 2017 has been appointed by Malacanang.
The latest appointments of 11 Regional Trial Court (RTC) judges for Region 4 or Southern Tagalog and Region 5 or Bicol were relayed in a transmittal letter of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on January 17, 2017.
The appointees were Mary Jane Valeza-Maranan for Lemery, Batangas, and Niven Canlapan for Carmona, Cavite.
For Laguna, Tomas Ken Romaquin was appointed for Binan, Mary Jean Cajandab-Pamittan for Santa Cruz, Rosauro Angelito David for Santa Rosa and Gil Jude Santa Maria, also for Santa Rosa.
For Puerto Princesa, Palawan, appointed were Arnel Cezar for Branch 163, Anna Leah Tiongson-Mendoza for Branch 164 and Ramon Chito Mendoza for Branch 165.
Alma Balilla Operio was appointed for Labo, Camarines Norte, and Erwin Dimayacyac for Oriental Mindoro.
Upon Duterte’s assumption as President last year, he appointed only two RTC judges who were later assigned in Pangasinan.
The Judicial and Bar Council, which shortlisted the latest appointees, is constitutionally mandated to screen and vet nominees to the President for vacant posts in the judiciary and the Office of the Ombudsman and the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman.
It is headed by Sereno, with Sen. Richard Gordon, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd as ex-officio members
Retired Supreme Court Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez is the head of the Executive Committee and represents the retired SC justices sector.
Lawyer Jose Mejia, who represents the academe, retired Judge Toribio Ilao, who represents the private sector, and lawyer Milagros Fernan-Cayosa from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines are the other regular members of the JBC.