A Muslim justice from Marawi City was one of two topnotchers on a shortlist of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) for a vacancy in the Supreme Court (SC).
Court of Appeals (CA) Justice Japar Dimaampao and Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo got seven votes each from the seven-member council.
A law professor, Bar reviewer and tax expert, Dimaampao was a former prosecutor and judge of the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court before he entered the Court of Appeals.
Gesmundo is also a law professor and was a former Bar examiner.
He was also a former Commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government and became Assistant Solicitor General before joining the judiciary.
Also on the shortlist are CA Justice Jose Reyes with 6 votes.
CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes notched 5 votes along with CA Justices Apolinario Bruselas and Ramon Hernando.
CA Justices Rosmari Carandang and Amy Lazaro Javier got 4 votes each.
They are contesting the position of SC Justice Jose Catral Mendoza, who is set to retire on August 13, 2017 upon reaching 70, the mandatory age of retirement for justices.
The 1987 Constitution states that President Rodrigo Duterte has 90 days from the time of vacancy to make his third appointment in the SC.
Duterte’s first two appointees in the High Court are Associate Justices Noel Tijam and Samuel Martires.
The President will have two appointments in the SC this year with the retirement of his former classmates and fraternity brothers in Lex Talionis at the San Beda College of Law in Mendoza and SC Justice Bienvenido Reyes.
The seven-man council, 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 Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, with ex-officio members Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd, Sen. Richard Gordon and Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali.
Retired SC Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez is the head of the Executive Committee.
Regular JBC members are lawyer Jose Mejia who represents the academe; Milagros Fernan-Cayosa, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines; and retired judge Toribio Ilao, the private sector.