President Benigno Aquino 3rd will have one more appointee to the Supreme Court (SC) before his term expires on June 30, 2016.
That appointee will take the place of Associate Justice Martin Villarama Jr., who has applied for optional retirement that would take effect in January or about two months before the election ban on appointments is enforced.
In his four-page letter to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and to the other members of the High Court, Villarama pleaded with his colleagues to approve his application, citing his poor health as a reason why he is opting to retire.
Villarama’s letter was dated November 2.
“This request is being made for reason of the undersigned’s deteriorating health condition brought about by his double knee metal implantation in 2013 and his cataract operation last year. For several years, he has been experiencing difficulty in breathing, hypertension and symptoms prostrate illness prevalent among aging men,” he said in his letter.
Villarama will be 70 years old, the mandatory retirement age for justices, on April 14, 2016.
The constitutionally-mandated appointments ban will take effect on March 9 or two months before the national elections on May 9.
The President has five appointees in the Supreme Court namely: Chief Justice Sereno and Associate Justices Bienvenido Reyes, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic Leonen and Francis Jardeleza.