Judges' group endorses Midas Marquez as SC Associate Justice

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 12 2018 07:40 PM

MANILA - The Philippine Judges Association (PJA) has recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte the appointment of Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez as Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice.

In a three-page resolution unanimously ratified by its officers and received by Malacañang on Wednesday, the biggest association of Philippine judges sought to “express, affirm, and stand by the integrity and competence” of Marquez for the post to be vacated on August 8 by retiring Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. 

Marquez is among nominees the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) shortlisted for the post. 

“We believe that Court Administrator Marquez possesses the necessary qualifications and experience having been in the service in the Supreme Court for almost three decades in various positions,” said PJA president and Marikina City Regional Trial Court Judge Felix Reyes in his transmittal letter of the PJA resolution to Malacañang.

Marquez finished law from the Ateneo de Manila University. At the age of 25, in his second year in law school and on his way to a Juris Doctor degree, he worked as a full-time law clerk, holding the position of Executive Assistant I, for one of the justices of the high court.

Among the magistrates he worked for as law clerk are Senior Associate Justice and former Philippine Judicial Academy chancellor Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera, Senior Associate Justice Josue Bellosillo, and Associate Justice Abraham Sarmiento.

He rose from the ranks and was appointed Court Administrator in 2010, and currently holds the record as the longest-serving SC Court Administrator. 

Marquez also served as chief of staff of former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, concurrently holding the positions of Court Administrator, SC spokesperson, and SC Public Information Office chief at the time.

During the stint of Chief Justice Renato Corona, he became Court Administrator but continued to serve as SC spokesperson and SC Public Information Office chief. 

Marquez’s bid for appointment as high court magistrate was blocked by one Rizza Joy Laurea, who raised before the JBC alleged questionable fund disbursements by the high court in connection with the World Bank-funded Judicial Reform Support Project (JRSP).

The project was funded by a World Bank loan amounting to US $21.9 million and a Philippine government counterpart funding of US$2.5 million.

In his formal reply to the JBC, Marquez described Laurea’s opposition as “hearsay, unsubstantiated, misplaced” and “[a]t best, they are recycled non-issues,” even as he stressed that the World Bank project has been “closed and terminated without any issue.”

“[T]he ‘vehement opposition’ is nothing but an inventory of general accusations, and instantly erroneously assumes that undersigned is the instigator,” Marquez said, as he denied any hand in the WB projects and funds. 

Despite the opposition, the SC magistrates, in en banc session, shortlisted Marquez for the impending vacancy. The JBC included Marquez in its shortlist of candidates for President Rodrigo Duterte to choose from, after he obtained the second highest number of votes during the council’s voting.

Duterte has 90 days from August 8 to appoint Velasco’s replacement.

Shortlisted along with Marquez for the post are Court of Appeals Associate Justices Jose Reyes Jr., Apolinario Bruselas Jr., Rosmari Declaro-Carandang, Ramon Hernando, Ramon Garcia, and Amy Lazaro-Javier, and former Ateneo College of Law dean Cesar Villanueva.