THE Judicial Bar Council (JBC) during its regular meeting on Friday released a shortlist of 8 qualified applicants — from the previous 13 — vying to replace the position to be vacated by Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Jose Catral Mendoza.

Included in the shortlist are: Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justice Japar B. Dimaampao and Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo, tied at 7 votes; and CA Associate Justices Jose C. Reyes Jr. (6 votes), Apolinario D. Bruselas Jr. (5 votes), Ramon Paul L. Hernando (5 votes), Andres B. Reyes Jr. (5 votes), Rosmari D. Carandang (4 votes), and Amy S. Lazaro-Javier (4 votes).

Last July 4, three out of the original 13 aspirants faced the JBC for a public interview. Among them, only Mr. Gesmundo made it to the shortlist.

Mr. Gesmundo was grilled by the panel when he was asked about his decision on the petitions challenging the factual basis of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

Besides saying Mr. Duterte’s declaration has “sufficient basis,” Mr. Gesmundo also asserted that there is rebellion and invasion in the area.

The other seven aspirants no longer faced the JBC council as their previous interviews remain valid.

Mr. Mendoza, the fourth SC justice to retire under Mr. Duterte’s administration, is set to retire on August 13. — Jil Danielle M. Caro