There are now six nominees, aside from the five most senior Supreme Court (SC) justices, whose names have been submitted to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) for the position of chief justice.
The three new nominees are Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares, former University of the Philippines law dean Raul Pangalangan, and lawyer Marianito Sadondoncillo.
Earlier nominated were women's rights advocate Katrina Legarda, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, and former Ateneo de Manila University law dean Cesar Villanueva.
Nominees have the right to reject or accept their nominations.
Once the nominations are accepted by the nominees, they will join the five most senior justices of the Supreme Court - led by Acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio - as applicants for the position of chief justice that was vacated on May 29 with the removal of Renato C. Corona through impeachment.
The four other most senior SC justices who are automatically nominated under JBC rules are Presbitero J. Velasco Jr., Teresita J. Leonardo de Castro, Arturo D. Brion, and Diosdado M. Peralta.
Reacting to reports that Henares has been nominated, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the BIR chief is competent to become the next chief justice but President Aquino is still undecided on whether to let her go from the revenue-collecting agency.
"She is certainly very qualified for the job. Her qualifications will speak for themselves," Valte said in a Palace news conference.
Valte said they will inform the President about the inclusion of Henares in the list of candidates for the top judiciary post.
"Kim Henares has been a pillar of our tax efforts first because she is the commissioner. She is very no-nonsense. She is very matter-of-fact which helps her administration of tax laws," Valte said. "But the President wants to weigh first what will be the pros and cons. Let's give him time to make the weighing before we give further comment," she said.
President Aquino had earlier acknowledged that Henares and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, two of the toughest women in his administration, are fit to assume the post vacated by Corona. (With a report from Genalyn Kabiling)