MANILA, Philippines – Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio said he is “looking forward” to a possible interview with President Benigno Aquino III, but he has yet to hear from Malacañang about it.
Carpio told reporters on the sidelines of the groundbreaking ceremony of the Manila Halls of Justice on Wednesday, August 22, that the Palace has not contacted him about an interview schedule with Aquino.
Palace insiders told Rappler that Carpio is not exactly the President’s pick. One of Aquino’s allies, Vice President Jejomar Binay, is reportedly wary of Carpio because of his connection with The Firm, or the CVC law office which he co-founded. Carpio left the firm in 2001 after he was appointed Supreme Court justice.
The Firm’s lawyers and another founder, Avelino Cruz, served as election lawyers of Binay’s rival for the vice-presidential post, now Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.
Carpio is one of the 8 nominees shortlisted by the Judicial and Bar Counci — the body that screens and vets aspirants to posts in the judiciary — for the post of chief justice within the week.
The nominees include 5 Supreme Court insiders and 3 outsiders.
Besides Carpio, the insiders include Justices Teresita Leonardo de Castro, Lourdes Sereno, Roberto Abad, and Arturo Brion. Brion had already been informed by the Palace about a one-on-one interview with the President, informed sources said.
The outsiders, on the other hand, are Cesar Villanueva, head of the Governance Commission for the GOCCs or Government-owned and Controlled Corporations, former executive secretary Ronaldo Zamora, and Solicitor-General Francis Jardeleza.
Aquino previously interviewed Justices Lourdes Sereno and Estela Perlas-Bernabe before appointing them, but did not do the same in the case of Justice Bienvenido Reyes, whom he also appointed in 2011.
Aquino has until August 27 to choose the replacement of dismissed chief justice Renato Corona. Corona was removed from his post for failing to disclose P183 million in peso and dollar bank deposits in his statement of assets, liabilities and networth. – Rappler.com
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