Duterte appoints new Sandiganbayan justice


President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed a new magistrate for the anti-graft court.

A transmittal letter from Malacanang thru Deputy Executive Secretary Meynard Gueverra to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said the President has appointed Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 65 Judge Edgardo Caldona.

A graduate of Ateneo de Manila University, Caldona had served as a lawyer in the Sandiganbayan under the Office of Justice Sabino de Leon.

He later on worked as court attorney of the Supreme Court under then-Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Caldona became an RTC judge of Pangasinan prior to his appointment as judge of Makati RTC.

Like Corona, he is also a member of the Utopia fraternity.

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) shortlisted in December 2016 five RTC judges, including Caldona, and an Ombudsman director for the position of Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan that was vacated by Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Jose Hernandez, who retired on November 16, 2016.

Makati RTC Judges Maryann Corpus-Manalac and Honorio Guanlao Jr. also contested the job.

Also on the shortlist is Aparri, Cagayan RTC Judge Oscar Zaldivar and Bayani Jacinto, a director from the Office of the Ombudsman.

There are now seven divisions of the Sandiganbayan, which is composed of a Presiding Justice and 20 Associate Justices.

The seven-man JBC, which is constitutionally mandated to screen and vet nominees to the President for vacant posts in the judiciary and the Offices of the Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman, is headed by Sereno, with ex-officio members Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd, Sen. Richard Gordon and Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali. JOMAR CANLAS


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