Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta today was honored during a blended retirement ceremony by his fellow justices who all extolled his unique and formidable leadership in this pandemic.
All 14 Associate Justices participated online during a special En Banc session to mark the retirement of Chief Justice Peralta. He was joined at the Session Hall by a very few select guests from the Court which included his immediately family – his 95 year old mother Catalina Madarang Peralta, wife Court of Appeals Justice Fernanda Lampas Peralta, and their children Atty. Dorothy, twins John Christopher, and Timothy John, and John Isaac.
Those who attended in-person were required to submit the result of their COVID-negative RT PCR test and/or COVID-negative Antigen Test taken not earlier than Wednesday, March 24, 2021. Rapid Antigen Test was also made available onsite hours before the ceremony.
Mindful of the reality of the present circumstances and to ensure the health and safety of everyone, the traditional luncheon was also dispensed with.
Participating virtually, the Associate Justices read the symbolism of the tokens given to the Chief Justice and gave their own personal tributes. The tokens included the Philippine and SC flags, commemorative pin, watch, SC seal and pen, ring, judicial robe, and gavel.
Also joining via Zoom were retired Chief Justices Artemio Panganiban, Teresita de Castro, and Lucas Bersamin; incumbent and retired justices from the SC, Court of Appeals, Court of Tax Appeals, and the Sandiganbayan; SC officials; government officials; and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Arroyo appointed the Chief Justice as Associate Justice and Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan, and, eventually, as the 162nd Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
All the Associate Justices were one in extolling the Chief Justice for how he faithfully served the Judiciary for 34 years and how he spearheaded the Judiciary especially this time of pandemic.
In his message, Chief Justice Peralta thanked everyone and said he was leaving the SC “without any regret, knowing that I did all that I could for the law, for the courts, and for the nation, and with the conviction that I did my best in performing my bounden duty to the Constitution. I have faith in the thought that I gave my all in giving the Filipino people the kind of justice that they deserve.”
He further said: “Given every challenge and difficulty that the Judiciary faced these past months, I believe I have done everything within my authority as Chief Justice to leave behind me a better and improved Judiciary. I have led, and lived, by example. I look forward to the world outside the Supreme Court with the thought that, at my age, life is still full of possibilities.”
The Chief Justice retires after working for half a century, 34 years of which were spent in the Judiciary. He worked for a private firm while studying law at the Faculty of Civil Law of the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas and even after he passed the Bar Examinations in 1979. He was already the second highest Filipino executive in a Chinese- owned firm when he left and decided to join government service. He started his public career in 1987 as the Third Assistant City Fiscal of Laoag City and then by 1994, he was the Presiding Judge of Branch 95 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. He was named Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan in 2002 and became its Presiding Justice in 2008. On January 13, 2009, he was named as the 162nd Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. He was appointed as the 26th Chief Justice on October 23, 2019.
At the start of his term, Chief Justice Peralta bared his Ten Point Program which focuses on four core areas – efficiency, integrity, security and service. He took pride in saying that almost all of his Ten Point Program have come to fruition.
Under his leadership, the Court has formulated and approved 18 procedural rules and guidelines meant to improve the administration of justice and address the problem of clogged court dockets. The Court has also restructured and streamlined the plantilla of various offices, divisions, and services of the Court so as to guarantee security of tenure for the employees and to improve the processes. The Judiciary Public Assistance Section, or JPAS, was also established to promptly receive and act on concerns, issues, suggestions, and other relevant matters including complaints against erring court officials and employees. Likewise, the Court has formally organized the Judicial Integrity Board to further prevent and curb corruption in the Judiciary. ###