Duterte mocks Carpio: He keeps 'hankering' for Hague ruling
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte explained his decision not to appoint Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio as Chief Justice, saying the justice "refused" the post before and was critical of his West Philippine Sea policy.
"Carpio refused the offer. So the next in rank is… Next in rank if you’re good," said Duterte on Wednesday, November 28, at the groundbreaking of the Panguil Bay Bridge in Tubod, Lanao del Norte.
He then mentioned Carpio's vocal insistence on using the 2016 legal victory of the Philippines over China's expansive claim in the South China Sea.
"Just because you're a salutatorian, it does not mean a shit to me. You keep on hankering that you’ll attack the – you do something. What do you want me to do? Arbitration, so I'll order my military and the police to go there in Palawan and shoot it out? It will be a massacre. We will not win there. We won’t get anything from it," said Duterte. (READ: Justice Antonio Carpio: Forever the No. 2)
The President also claimed that newly-appointed SC Associate Justice Rosmari Carandang was valedictorian while Carpio was salutatorian after her.
Duterte gets it wrong
"She and Carpio were classmates but Carpio was only salutatorian. He was not the valedictorian. It was Carandang. But Carandang was stuck in the Court of Appeals," he claimed.
If Duterte was referring to the University of the Philippine College of Law in Diliman, where Carandang and Carpio were classmates, he got it wrong.
It was Carpio who graduated valedictorian while Carandang was salutatorian.
Duterte's explanation on why he did not appoint Carpio to the top SC post differs from Malacañang's.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo had said in a Wednesday statement that new Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin is technically the most senior Supreme Court justice because of his number of years working in the judiciary branch as a whole. (READ: What's the big deal about seniority in selecting the Chief Justice?)
Carpio had accepted the automatic nomination for chief justice after the term of Teresita de Castro. What he had declined was the nomination to the post after the ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno, saying it was against his principles because he had not supported the ouster.
On the other hand, Duterte said respect for seniority was his basis for appointing Court of Appeals magistrate Carandang as new SC justice.
"Carandang, [she's] actually the most senior in the Court of Appeals. She’s a woman," he said.
Duterte's decision to snub Carpio as chief justice contradicts his statement last August that his choice of chief justice will be based on seniority and that this will be applied to everybody.
"Train 'yan (It's like a train). Kung sino 'yung unang pumasok, siya 'yung unang ma-promote (The first to enter will be the first to get promoted) and that would go for everybody," he had said.
Carpio has a record of voting against the Duterte administration's policies and of being vocal in his criticism of the President's soft approach to China. – Rappler.com