President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Bernelito Fernandez, a former Quezon City Branch 79 Regional Trial Court judge, as a magistrate of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan.
A transmittal letter of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, dated December 7, 2016, said Fernandez shall be appointed to replace retired Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Teresita Diaz-Baldos.
Fernandez, a son of former Tanodbayan Bernardo Fernandez, had handled the controversial tug-of-war between father and son Reghis Romero and Michael Romero involving the Romeros’ harbor business.
The Sandiganbayan at present has two vacancies as a result of the retirement of Justice Jose Hernandez and early retirement of Justice Napoleon Inoturan.
It will have another one on February 1, 2017, with Justice Roland Jurado opting also for early retirement.
The seven divisions of the Sandiganbayan are composed of one Presiding Justice and 20 Associate Justices.