MANILADespite the seniority rule, MalacaAang on Monday said the appointment of Associate Justice Antonio Carpio as the next Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice is still uncertain.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark explaining that despite Carpio being the most senior among five nominees shortlisted by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), the appointment of the country's top magistrate is still up to President Rodrigo Duterte.
Aside from Carpio, other nominees in the shortlist are Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin, Diosdado Peralta, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, and Andres Reyes Jr.
Not necessarily, Panelo said in a Palace briefing when asked if it was certain that Carpio would be appointed as the next Chief Justice following the tradition of choosing the highest seat in the judiciary based on seniority.
Siguro all things being equal, e paano pag hindi equal? (Perhaps if all things being equal, but what if it's not equal)? It's the President's call and the prerogative lodged on him by the Constitution. It's discretionary, he added.
Panelo denied that Carpio's stand on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), which was different from the President's, might affect his chances of being appointed as Chief Justice.
Carpio has stood pat on his position for the government to defend sovereign rights by strongly asserting the international court's ruling invalidating China's claims over the disputed waters.
Duterte, on the other hand, has decided to temporarily set aside the court's decision to give way to friendly and peaceful bilateral talks between both countries.
Panelo cited former Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque as an example of the President appointing a member to his Cabinet, who did not share his opinions on certain policies.
If you will look at the history of the President, when he appointed Harry Roque, his spokesperson, I remember, during the campaign, he was against the President, Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
He (Roque) was supporting another candidate and yet the President appointed him, and he became a member of the Cabinet, he added.
Panelo also pointed out that Duterte has appointed leftist members including former Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, and National Anti-Poverty Commission head Liza Maza.
Those members of the Cabinet coming from the left, they were attacking the President and yet they were appointed, Panelo said.
So, I don't think you can derive a conclusion that just because someone is a critic of the administration, he cannot be appointed, he added.
The next Chief Justice will succeed former top magistrate Teresita de Castro, who was appointed by Duterte in August.
In a chance interview last Aug. 27, Duterte told reporters that his basis for appointing de Castro as the new chief justice is seniority.
Sa lahat yan sa civil service, sa military, pati sa everybody, seniority and parang conveyor (In every agency, in the civil service, military, everybody, seniority and being a conveyor is the basis), Duterte said. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency