Duterte doubts Carpio will accept chief justice nomination after De Castro

Pia Ranada
Duterte doubts Carpio will accept chief justice nomination after De Castro
For President Rodrigo Duterte, Justice Antonio Carpio's declaration that he will decline a nomination for chief justice after Maria Loudes' Sereno's ouster still stands

MANILA, Philippines – Will Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio succeed Teresita De Castro as Chief Justice?

For President Rodrigo Duterte, Carpio’s refusal to accept a nomination to the top post after the ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno still stands.

“He stated publicly that he’s not going to accept so why cause a person to accept a path he does not want?” said Duterte on Monday, August 27. 

Reporters had asked if, after De Castro retires on October 8, Duterte would appoint Carpio as chief justice as he is the most senior associate justice.

Carpio had initially declared he would decline a nomination for Chief Justice to succeed Sereno as this would mean benefiting from her ouster via quo warranto, which he had disagreed with.

“I have to be consistent with my position, that the quo warranto is not the proper way to remove a sitting member of the Court. So I don’t want to benefit from the decision to which I disagreed,” Carpio had said back in June. 

But High Court insiders have said that Carpio might be willing to accept a nomination after new Chief Justice De Castro retires in October. 

On Monday, Duterte stressed that his appointments in the Supreme Court, military, and civil service are based on seniority and merit, save for some cases.

“It will be the same for all judges. not only De Castro, lahat ‘yan sila (all of them) – unless of course they refuse or maybe they would opt to retire, kakaunti na lang panahon (because their term will be short). Pero kung lahat sila tatanggap, parang train ‘yan (But if they all accept, it’s like a train),” he said.

Duterte repeated this train metaphor when asked if he was bothered that De Castro would have only two months as Chief Justice. 

De Castro herself had brushed aside this perceived disadvantage to appointing her during the Judicial and Bar Council interviews when she said, “It is not as if I’m going to start today. I’ve been doing this for a long time.”

In the same Monday interview, Duterte denied appointing De Castro as a “reward” for ousting Maria Lourdes Sereno through the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida. – Rappler.com



Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.