Binay on Carpio: ‘Landmine iyan’
Vice President Jejomar Binay's joke reveals his sentiments against Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio

EXPLOSIVE JOKE. Vice President Jejomar Binay jokes that appointing Supreme Court acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio as the next chief justice will be a "landmine." File photo from Binay's Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay cracks an explosive joke.

For the first time, Binay hinted that he is against the appointment of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio as the next Chief Justice. Following the removal of Renato Corona on May 29 and being the most senior justice in the Tribunal, Carpio automatically became acting Chief Justice.

In an interview upon his arrival from the US on Tuesday, June 5, Binay was asked if Carpio is on his list of recommendations to replace former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

“Landmine iyan (That’s a landmine),” Binay said without explaining.

“He is one of those being mentioned but to be fair to Justice Carpio, he is supposedly second [most senior] in ranking. But there are instances where seniority does not rule. I remember in the time of Chief Justice [Artemio] Panganiban, he was not the most senior but he was appointed.”

The Vice President said he prefers that Corona’s replacement come from the academe.

Binay has been rumored to be against Carpio because of the latter’s perceived ties to the Vice President’s bitter rival, Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas. 

Former Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz Jr, Carpio’s former law partner, served as one of the election lawyers of Roxas.

Roxas filed an electoral protest before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal against Binay over the 2010 vice presidential race. The Chief Justice presides over the tribunal.

Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, a Binay ally, has also asked the President to name an outsider to replace Corona.

Escudero is a member of the Judicial and Bar Council which screens nominees to the position. The council convened last Monday, June 4.

THE LANDMINE. Vice President Jejomar Binay joked that Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is a "landmine." File photo from Supreme Court

Binay’s criteria 

Binay said he has two criteria for the next Chief Justice: administrative capability and judicial maturity. 

“I hope the next Chief Justice will understand that it is an administrative position. You might think that the Chief Justice is just concerned about cases. The Chief Justice is actually a department head. He has to have experience.”

As a former Makati mayor, Binay has been emphasizing the importance of administrative experience in government.

Binay added, “I hope people will not say that the next Chief Justice is a politician. It’s better if he or she is from the academe, the likes of Justice Fernandez, Justice Macalintal. You can never question their judicial maturity.”

Binay was also asked about reports that President Benigno Aquino III may choose Justice Secretary Leila de Lima or Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares as the next Chief Justice.

“That’s up to the President,” he said.

Responding to questions if the two are qualified, Binay joked, “I might be impeached.”

Yes to waiver

Binay also said he is willing to sign the waiver on his bank accounts, amid calls for public officials to do so in the interest of transparency.

“It’s okay. I’m not hiding anything anyway,” he said in Filipino. –