SENIOR Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who has openly criticized the administration over its non-confrontational stance on the South China Sea dispute, is "highly qualified" to be the country's next top magistrate, Malacañang said on Thursday, August 1.
"He (Carpio) is highly qualified for the delicate job of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.
Asked if Carpio's stand on maritime dispute can affect his nomination for the Chief Justice position, Panelo said, "No, I don’t think so. It doesn’t matter to him (Duterte)."
Carpio is one of five magistrates automatically nominated for the top post at the Supreme Court, which will be vacated by Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 on October 18.
He is, however, set to retire from the judiciary on October 26.
Carpio said he has yet to decide whether or not to accept his nomination for the Chief Justice post.
Carpio was bypassed for the Chief Justice position thrice in the past, although he declined the nomination after dissenting from the Supreme Court's ruling on the quo warranto case that ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in 2018.
Carpio said he did not want to benefit from the ouster of Sereno and maintained that the quo warranto is not the proper way to remove an official of the Supreme Court.
Carpio was bypassed in the appointments of the late chief justice Renato Corona in 2010, ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in 2012, and Bersamin in 2018.
Panelo said the final say with regard to the next Chief Justice would come from the President.
"The discretion to appoint the Chief Justice and for that matter any Justice of the Supreme Court lies with the President. And he considers all factors in choosing the nominee," the Palace official said. (SunStar Philippines)