Gesmundo takes oath, sits as 27th SC Chief Justice

Supreme Court Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo on Monday took his oath of office as the country’s 27th chief justice, vice Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta who optionally retired last March 27.

Gesmundo takes oath, sits as 27th SC Chief Justice
Alexander Gesmundo

Senior Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe administered the oath at the session hall of the SC on Padre Faura Street in Ermita, Manila.

Other SC justices participated and witnessed the oath-taking of the new top magistrate online, except Associate Justice Marvic Leonen who was physically present at the session hall.

Malacañang earlier said President Rodrigo Duterte had signed the appointment of Gesmundo as the new Supreme Court chief justice.

Last week, Duterte’s chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo disclosed that Gesmundo was the President’s “personal choice” for the post.

Duterte first appointed Gesmundo, who was chairperson of Sandiganbayan’s 7th Division, to the Supreme Court in 2017.

Gesmundo is Duterte’s fourth chief justice appointee after Chief Justices Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Lucas Bersamin, and Peralta.

Gesmundo will serve as top magistrate for more than five years or until he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 on November 6, 2026.

The new chief justice obtained his law degree from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1984 and passed the Bar the following year.

He entered the government service in 1985 as a trial attorney at the Office of the Solicitor General. He had also served as assistant solicitor general and commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government as well as taught law in various schools.

Gesmundo’s appointment resulted in a vacancy in the 15-member bench.

He is expected to serve the judiciary until 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2026. By 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 6, 2026, he automatically vacates the post as he would turn 70 years old, the mandatory retirement age for members of the judiciary.

At the SC, Gesmundo is chairperson of the Technical Working Group for the Revision of the Law Student Practice Rule and the Organizing Committee for the 2019 Legal Education Summit.

He is vice chairperson of the SC’s Special Committee for the Rules of Procedure for Admiralty Cases, Special Committee for the Rules on Inspection (under the Philippine Competition Act), the Sub-Committee for the Revision of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, the Special Committee on the Rules of Procedure in Election Contests before the First Level Courts.

He is also a member of the Supreme Court Committees on Computerization and Library, on the Revision of the Rules of Court and the Special Committee on Speedy Trial.

As chief justice, Gesmundo may have to relinquish his posts in many committees of the SC as he would be the head of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal and ex-officio chairman of the JBC, among other positions inherent to his post as head of the judiciary.

He will preside over all full court sessions of the SC on top of overseeing the sessions of the SC’s first division which he also heads, although there is a working chairperson.

Senior Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando also applied for the SC top post.

Lyceum of the Philippines tweeted about the appointment of its 1977 BS Economics graduate and 2007 Outstanding Alumnus awardee.

“Congrats to Hon. Alexander Gesmundo on his new appointment as Associate Justice (sic) of the Supreme Court. Lycean, take the lead!,” tweeted LPU Manila Official.

Also extending their greetings on social media were the Association of Law Students of the Philippines, Public Attorneys Office chief Persida Acosta, and the Municipal Trial Court of Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur.

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