AFTER the early retirement of Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, another Supreme Court magistrate will step down earlier than scheduled, according to Manila Times sources.
Associate Justice Edgardo Delos Santos, who was set to retire on June 12, 2022, announced that he will file for optional retirement and is set to hang his robe within the year, sources said.
In a one-page letter to his staff, dated March 19, 2021, Delos Santos expressed sadness that he will be cutting short his stint in the high court although he did not say why.
“I also write to you today to properly express my deep sadness for cutting short our association. In the brief time that we have together, I have found comfort in coming to our office with the knowledge that I am among trusted people. I saw and felt your enthusiasm in your work which in turn encouraged me to do my best as your boss and mentor,” he said.
Delos Santos said that he has “agonized over this decision to hang my judicial robe early”.
“I spent sleepless nights trying to think better — no, make that –the best way to announce my decision to you, my staff, in light of trying times we are currently experiencing. I succumbed to the frailty of human emotions, that as I mustered to overcome my sadness during my announcement this afternoon,” Delos Santos said.
He said that it has been his honor to serve the high court and thanked his staff for the “dedication, commitment, patience and friendship”.
Delos Santos, who hails from the Visayas, was the former executive justice of the Court of Appeals Cebu Station before his appointment to the Supreme Court.
Delos Santos said that he was a “promdi” (from the province), being Visayan, who graduated from the University of San Carlos in Cebu.
He started his career as a municipal trial court judge in Dumaguete, became a Regional Trial Court judge in Bacolod before he was promoted to the CA.
After Delos Santos retires, the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will open nominations for his post and that of Peralta’s as chief justice.
The JBC 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. It is chaired by Peralta, with ex-officio members, namely Sen. Richard Gordon, Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.
Retired Supreme Court Justice Jose Catral-Mendoza heads the Executive Committee; Ret. Judge Toribio Ilao represents the private sector; and Ret. Judge Franklin Demonteverde and Ret. SC Justice Noel Tijam serve as the other regular members of the JBC.