CJ Sereno on sick leave

Sereno fails to attend the last en banc session of the Supreme Court this year

TEMPORARY. Carpio is acting chief justice as Sereno goes on a sick leave.

MANILA, Philippines – Taking a sick leave, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno did not preside over the en banc session on Tuesday, December 4 – the last for the year.

Sereno designated the most senior Supreme Court magistrate, Justice Antonio Carpio, as acting chief justice.

Sereno issued Special Order No. 1384, which states that, “In view of the sick leave of absence of the undersigned, Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio is hereby designated as acting chief justice, with authority to exercise the  powers and prerogatives of and pertaining to the position of Chief Justice on matters that cannot wait for the Chief Justice, effective today, December 4, 2012 until the undersigned reports back to work.” 

Expected to be taken up in Tuesday’s en banc session was Sereno’s resolution to revive the regional court administrator’s office or RCAO in Region VII. The RCAO was launched in 2009 to decentralize court operations but the initiative was discontinued. 

The Manila Times reported that Sereno made the decision to reopen the RCAO unilaterally. Carpio had a different stand on the issue; he earlier said before lawyers at the Central Luzon Regional Convention of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines that the RCAO need not be restored immediately.

“The OCA [Office of the Court Administrator] should go back to the old set-up, with the difference that instead of holding office in Manila, the Deputy Court Administrators will hold office right in their areas of jurisdiction. In short, we simply station the DCA for Mindanao in Davao City and the DCA for Visayas in Cebu City, along with their immediate staff,” he said then.

“…There is no need, however, to regionalize immediately the OCA. We can first simply physically locate the DCAs right in their areas of jurisdiction.”

Two of the incumbent 15 justices are former court administrators – Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr and Jose Perez.

Perez previously told Newsbreak that there are apprehensions over the creation of RCAO because it may decrease the authority of OCA. – Rappler.com