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High Court reorganizes divisions following magistrates’ retirement

A reorganization of the Supreme Court (SC) has been implemented following the retirement of two senior justices.

In a one-page Special Order 2409, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Aranal-Sereno ordered the reorganization following the retirement of SC Justice Jose Portugal Perez last December 14, 2016 and Justice Arturo Brion last December 29, 2016.
Perez was a former member of the SC Third Division while Brion was former member of the SC Second Division before they retired from their posts.
“In the interest of the service, the regular members of the three divisions of the court shall be as follows, effective upon the retirement of Justice Arturo Brion on December 29, 2016,” the document reads.
Following the Rules on Seniority under Section 8 of the Internal Rules of the SC, the one-two-three designation shall be implemented.
The rule provides that the composition of each division shall be based on seniority and thus the SC’s First Division will be chaired by the Chief Justice (Sereno), the fourth in seniority as working chairman (Teresita Leonardo-de Castro), the seventh in seniority (Mariano del Castillo) the 10th in seniority (Estela Perlas-Bernabe) and the 13th in seniority (Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa).
On the other hand, the SC Second Division will be chaired by the second most senior member of the court (Antonio Carpio), the fifth in seniority (Diosdado Peralta) the eighth in seniority (Jose Mendoza) the 11th in seniority (Marvic Mario Victor Leonen) while the fifth member for the division shall still remain vacant.
The Third Division will be chaired by the third in seniority as chairman (Presbitero Velasco Jr.), the sixth in seniority (Lucas Bersamin), the ninth in seniority (Bienvedido Reyes) and the 12th in seniority (Francis Jadeleza)
The Chief Justice may, however, consider factors other than seniority in division assignments. The appointment of a new member of the court shall necessitate the reorganization of division s at the call of the Chief Justice.

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