Another magistrate declines CJ nomination-A A +A
Friday, June 22, 2012
TWO appointees of President Benigno Aquino III have already turned down their nomination for the Chief Justice post after the vetting body Judicial and Bar Council received a rejection letter from Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes.
Reyes respected tradition in declining the endorsement, saying he would defer to the “more senior colleagues” who should be in the running to replace Renato Corona, who was ousted by the Senate impeachment court last May 29 for concealing hefty cash deposits in his asset statement.
“Hence, this will serve as my blanket and automatic non-acceptance or declination of any nomination from any person or party to the said position,” he said.
Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, also an Aquino appointee, earlier rejected the nomination but her reasons were not disclosed to the media.
Of Aquino’s three appointees, only Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has yet to accept the chance to head the judiciary, as well as Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Jose Perez, Lucas Bersamin, Martin Villarama, and Jose Mendoza.
Only Associate Justices Arturo Brion and Roberto Abad gave nod to their nomination.
Carpio is the most senior justice among the associate justices of the Supreme Court (SC).
But House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, a member of the Liberal Party, said nominees closely linked to President Aquino and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should make a sacrifice to ensure the judicial independence of the SC.
“Acting Chief Justice Carpio should be out from the race. The President locked in himself not to appoint a candidate close to him because the challenge for him is to appoint the next Chief Justice who is very much qualified and has no connection with him,” the lawmaker added.
The Chief Justice post has been declared vacant after the Senate impeachment court found former Corona guilty of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution for his untruthful declaration of his assets and net worth.
In his testimony before the impeachment tribunal, Corona insinuated that Carpio, who was once his close friend, is lobbying for his removal as Chief Justice then.
Carpio and Corona were both appointed by former President Arroyo.
During the impeachment trial, Carpio was rumored to have been eyed by President Aquino to take over Corona’s post.
Also on Thursday, Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo expressed his disinterest in the position.
Del Castillo is currently facing an impeachment complaint passed by the House of Representatives committee on justice headed by Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr., a JBC member.
The magistrate was specifically charged of plagiarizing several portions in his decision on the case filed by a group of women who were allegedly sexually abused by Japanese soldiers during World War II.
The Supreme Court, however, cleared him of any wrongdoing following an investigation while his staff admitted to have accidentally deleted footnotes acknowledging international law experts whose opinions he quoted in his decision. (Kathrina Alvarez/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)