Another SC justice opts for early retirement

AFTER the early retirement of Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, another Supreme Court magistrate will step down earlier than his scheduled retirement, according to The Manila Times sources.

Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta

Associate Justice Edgardo delos Santos, who was set to retire on June 12, 2022, announced he would file for optional retirement within the year, sources said.

In a one-page letter to his staff, dated March 19, 2021, delos Santos expressed sadness that he would be cutting short his stint in the high court without elaborating the reason.

“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,” the letter reads.

Delos Santos said it was a tough decision to make.

“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 was grateful for the honor to serve the high court and for the dedication, commitment, patience and friendship of his staff.

Delos Santos, who describes himself as a “promdi” (from the province) graduated from the University of San Carlos in Cebu.

He was a municipal trial court judge in Dumaguete and later on became a regional trial court judge in Bacolod before he was promoted Court of Appeals executive justice (Cebu Station).

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will open nominations for delos Santos’ replacement.

‘No regrets’

Meanwhile, Peralta, who is celebrating his 69th birthday today, March 27, said he had no regrets over his decision to retire early.

“As I have said, I will leave the Supreme Court without any regret, knowing that I did all that I could for the law, for the courts, and for the nation, and with the conviction that I did my best performing my bounden duty to the Constitution.”

The chief magistrate said “life is still full of possibilities” and among his postretirement plans is to return to his lifelong passion of teaching.

Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, the most senior associate justice, may take over as acting chief justice if President Rodrigo Duterte would not immediately appoint Peralta’s replacement.

Perlas-Bernabe and Associate Justices Alexander Gesmundo and Ramon Paul Hernandez have been nominated by the JBC for the position of chief justice.