THE Judicial and Bar Council on Monday officially closed the nomination and application for the lone vacancy in the Supreme Court with 28 individuals making a bid to join the 15-man tribunal.

Chief Justice Renato Corona said that as of 12 noon of Monday, about 14 nominees have so far applied or made recommendations to the vacancy at the high court, but the number rose to 28 before the end of office hours.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Corona said most of the applicants or nominees come from other courts, such as the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals, while others come from the private sector.

The vacancy at the SC came about when Corona replaced retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno upon reaching the mandatory age of retirement on May 17.

The nomination process will mark the first time that President Aquino will have the opportunity to appoint a justice to the high court until August 17 as the Constitution mandates the president to fill-up vacancies in the SC within 90 days upon vacancy.

Among those who either applied or nominated for the vacancy were CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr., CA Associate Justices Hakim Abdulwahid, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Magdangal De Leon, Isaias Dicdican, Noel Tijam, Portia Aliño Hormachuelos, Rosmari Carandang, Remedios Salazar-Fernando, and Mariflor Punzalan-Castillo.

Other candidates are CTA Associate Justice Lovell Bautista and law deans Raul Pangalangan of University of the Philippines (UP), Cesar Villanueva of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and Amado Valdez of the University of the East.

Ambassador Manuel Teehankee, a former Undersecretary of the Department of Justice but is now the permanent Philippine representative to the World Trade Organization, was also nominated for the post, which he accepted.

The JBC, which screens nominees for the positions in the judiciary, is expected to review the credentials of the applicants by accepting comments or opposition from the public before subjecting them to a public interview.(JCV/Sunnex)