President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed 19 new regional trial court judges to fill in vacancies in the regions of Calabarzon and Mimaropa.
The new judges will be serving in Quezon Province, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Palawan, Marinduque, Rizal and Romblon, according to appointment papers forwarded by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on January 17.
Among those appointed was Assistant State Prosecutor Aristotle Reyes of the Department of Justice who is assigned to Lucena City RTC Branch 15.
Reyes is one of the handling prosecutors in the drug importation case involving the P6.4-billion shabu shipment that slipped past the Bureau of Customs in May last year.
He was also one of the prosecutors that conducted the preliminary investigation on the criminal complaint filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) last year in connection with the narcotics business of self-confessed drug distributor Kerwin Espinosa.
Another prosecutor, Jennifer Santos-De Lumen, was named judge for Cainta, Rizal RTC Branch 18.
Other appointees are Ismael Macasaet for RTC Branch 1 of Batangas RTC; Noel Lindog for RTC Lipa City, Batangas; Raquel Aspiras-Sanchez of Tagaytay City, Cavite; Adeliza Magno-Gingoyon of RTC Imus, Cavite; Flordeliza Cabanlit-Fargas of RTC Trece Martires, Cavite; Suwerte Ofrecio-Gonzales of RTC Sta. Cruz, Laguna; Myla Villavicencio-Olan of RTC San Pablo, Laguna; Virgilio Gesmundo of RTC Calamba, Laguna; Eugene Ricardo Parrone of RTC Boac, Marinduque; Catherine Marino-Monsod of RTC Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro; Cefelene Goco of RTC Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro.
Completing the list are Rosalie Ang Lui of RTC Naujan, Oriental Mindoro; Arlene Bayuga Guillen of RTC Puerto Princesa, Palawan; PAtricia Angeles Cataquiz of RTC Sariaya, Quezon Province; Anna Zita Abuda Caballegan of RTC Antipolo City, Rizal and Donna Borda Pascual of RTC Romblon, Romblon.
The new judges went through screening by the multi-sectoral Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which is mandated by the Constitution to provide the President a shortlist of nominees for any vacancy in the judiciary and the Offices of the Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman.
The JBC is headed by Sereno. — Virgil Lopez/RSJ, GMA News