PRESIDENT Duterte named Court of Appeals Justice Jhosep Lopez as Supreme Court Associate Justice vice Associate Justice Priscilla Baltazar Padilla, who retired last November due to health reasons.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque yesterday said the President signed Lopez’s appointment papers last January 25.
“I confirm that former CA Justice Jhosep Lopez was appointed as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The President expects Justice Lopez to enforce judicial independence and rule of law and to for him to continue the reforms in the court processes,” Roque said.
Lopez took his oath Monday afternoon before Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta.
Majority of SC justices are now appointees of Duterte, with only Associate Justices Estela Perlas Bernabe, Marvic Leonen and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa carried over from the previous administration.
Peralta was appointed to the SC as an associate justice by former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and was named to the top judicial post in 2019 by Duterte. Peralta is set to retire this March, a year early from the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Lopez earned his political science degree from the University of the Philippines where he graduated cum laude in 1984, and proceeded to the UP College of Law.
He passed the 1988 Bar exams with a rating of 84.55 percent.
Lopez served as chief legal officer of the UP Manila Legal Office from 1990 to 1991, chief legal counsel at the office of then Senate President Jovito Salonga from 1991 to 1992 and a four-term councilor of the city of Manila from 1992 to 2007 while being a partner to his law firm.
He also had short stints as chief legal consultant of the Department of Health, agricultural attaché to Beijing, and deputy city legal officer of Manila before becoming Manila prosecutor from 2007 to 2012.
In May 2012, he was appointed CA associate justice. Lopez is the 190th SC associate justice. – With Ashzel Hachero