MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Lucas Bersamin as the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, a source from Malacañang said Wednesday.
The 69-year-old Bersamin replaced Teresita Leonardo-De Castro who retired from government service in October after serving as top magistrate for 41 days following the dismissal of Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Bersamin was presiding judge of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 96 in 1986, and was a Court of Appeals associate justice prior to being appointed to the high court by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
As associate justice, Bersamin voted in favor of Sereno's ouster, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos' burial at the Heroes' Cemetery, and the Mindanao martial law declaration and extension, among others.
Sereno's appointment was invalidated in May through a quo warranto petition for failure to faithfully file her Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs). Duterte's earlier decision for naming De Castro as Chief Justice was based on seniority rule.
Duterte had 90 days from Oct. 10, when De Castro's retirement took effect, to choose the next chief magistrate.
Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, and Andres Reyes Jr. also vied for the chief magistrate post.