Don’t appoint Carpio, Aquino told

MANILA — President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Wednesday was cautioned against appointing Associate Justice Antonio Carpio as the new Chief Justice.

Sen. Francis Escudero said that appointing Carpio as the replacement of Chief Justice Renato Corona would not be a good decision since it will not address the issues hounding the Supreme Court.

Escudero said that Carpio’s appointment as Chief Justice will not look good because he has been accused by Corona as one of those who planned his ouster.

He said that if the President did appoint Carpio to the post, it would be best for the Associate Justice to make a sacrifice and voluntarily turn down the appointment to prevent further divisiveness in the judiciary.

Former Sen. Rene Saguisag also made the same observation, saying that Carpio should not accept the post to give way to reconciliation and harmony in the Supreme Court.

“Nothing could be nicer than for [Tony] Carpio to say that he is not interested,” Saguisag told a television interview.

Carpio assumed office as Acting Chief Justice on Wednesday and called for a special en banc session even if the tribunal is on recess.

According to Rule 2, Section 2 of Administrative Matter No. 10-4-20-SC of the Supreme Court, the most senior justice shall chair the session of the bench in the absence of the Chief Justice.

However, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said that there is nothing in the Constitution that allows the appointment of an acting Supreme Court Chief Justice. Enrile maintained that the appointment of an acting Chief Justice is not authorized under the 1987 Constitution.

“There is no one that can act as a Chief Justice,” Enrile insisted.

He said that the Chief Executive should pick the next chief magistrate from the current set of Supreme Court justices because naming an outsider would violate the Constitution.

He was reacting to reports that Malacañang is considering several administration allies including Sen. Franklin Drilon as Corona’s replacement.

But Enrile said that choosing an outsider is not allowed because in doing so the President will be filling the vacancy left by Corona.

He explained that since the Chief Justice is also the chairman of the Judicial Bar Council (JBC), appointing a new Chief Justice outside the incumbent justices of the SC will in effect be also filling the vacancy within the JBC.

“In my opinion, the President can appoint even without the nomination coming from the JBC. It is up to the President,” Enrile explained.

Drilon said that he is not interested in the position of Chief Justice.

“I intend to finish my term as a Senator and fulfill the mandate that was given to me by the 15.8 million Filipinos who voted for me,” he added.

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