MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Court of Appeals (CA) Justice Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla as the new Supreme Court (SC) associate justice, Malacañang announced on Thursday.

“This is to announce that Court of Appeals Justice Priscilla J. Baltazar- Padilla has been appointed as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement issued Thursday night.

Roque did not elaborate on Baltazar-Padilla’s promotion to the high tribunal.

Malacañang has yet to release the appointment paper of Baltazar-Padilla.

Baltazar-Padilla completed the 15-member SC since she will fill the seat at the high tribunal vacated by Andres Reyes Jr. who retired on May 11.

For the first time, the Judicial and Bar Council held on May 28 its online panel interview of the applicants to the post of SC associate justice vacated by Reyes due to the threat posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

She bested her six contenders who made it to the shortlist of candidates vying for a seat at SC.

Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez and CA justices Ricardo Rosario, Japar Dimaampao, Jhosep Lopez, Ramon Cruz, and Manuel Barrios failed to secure Duterte’s nod.

The revised JBC rules that took effect on June 8 state that associate justice or presiding justice of an appellate court; court administrator; chairperson of a constitutional commission; solicitor general or department secretary applying for the position of SC associate justice or chief justice should have at least two and a half years left in service.

Those who are not holding any of the said positions or are private practitioners should have at least five remaining years to serve.

The revised JBC rules also note that applicants must get at least four votes from the council to be included in the shortlist. The number of nominees for every vacancy should be at least three and not more than seven unless there is a tie.

Under the 1987 Constitution, Duterte has 90 days from May 11, 2020 to appoint the replacement of Reyes. (PNA)