Corona rival to be acting Chief Justice-A A +A
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
MANILA (Updated 12:30 p.m.) -- Being the most senior magistrate, Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is set to do the functions of impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was removed by the Senate last Tuesday for not properly disclosing his assets.
Carpio's installation as officer-in-charge is guaranteed by Rule 2, Section 2 of Administrative Matter no. 10-4-20-SC or the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court, which states that "in the absence of the Chief Justice, the most senior Associate Justice present shall chair the session of the court."
Justices will hold their first session after a one-month break on June 19.
Carpio was Corona's fiercest rival to the post two years ago but he declined to pursue his candidacy noting that appointments to the judiciary during presidential elections are illegal under the Constitution.
But the High Court thought otherwise, paving the way for Corona's elevation to the post on May 17, 2010.
A graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Law, Carpio was a founding member of the CVC law firm (now the Villaraza, Angangco, Marcelo and Cruz law offices), which had a falling out with then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2006 on the issue of charter change.
The Supreme Court dismissed the government-backed people's initiative in revising the Constitution, described as "a grand deception" in the decision penned by Carpio, Arroyo's first appointee in the 15-man court in October 2001.
Corona, Arroyo's former chief of staff, was named as Associate Justice in April 2002.
President Benigno Aquino III is mandated to appoint Corona's successor in 90 days with the eight-member Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) tasked to screen candidates and submit a shortlist from which he will choose the new Chief Justice.
Incidentally, the JBC will be headed by Carpio. In the event that Carpio is appointed permanent Chief Justice, an associate justice has to be named to complete the tribunal.
"We urge the public to remain vigilant as the process of appointing a new Supreme Court Chief Justice begins. While we celebrate this important victory, we must remain on the guard as we search for an independent, competent and honest chief justice that the country deserves," partylist group Akbayan said.
At present, Aquino has three appointees in the High Court, namely: Associate Justices Maria Lourdes Sereno, Bienvenido Reyes, and Estela Perlas-Bernabe. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)