President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo as the new chief justice of the Supreme Court.
“Yes, he is the personal choice of [President Duterte],” Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo told The Manila Times on Friday, April 2.
Panelo said the President has already signed Gesmundo’s appointment paper, but the Palace has yet to release the document to the media as of press time.
Senior Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, an appointee of former President Benigno Aquino 3rd, and Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando, who was appointed by Duterte in 2018, were the other candidates for the post.
Gesmundo will be the successor of former chief justice Diosdado Peralta who retired last March 27.
Gesmundo is the fourth chief justice appointed by Duterte. The President previously named Teresita Leonardo de Castro and Lucas Bersamin to the judiciary’s top post.
The new chief justice served as chairman of the Sandiganbayan’s Seventh Division before Duterte appointed him associate justice of the Supreme Court in August 2017.
In the early years of his career, he served as assistant solicitor general and commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government.
Gesmundo obtained his law degree from the Ateneo de Manila School of Law in 1984 and passed the bar in the same year.
He will retire on Nov. 6, 2026 upon reaching the retirement age of 70, which means he will serve as chief justice for five years.