Drilon urges Carpio to apply as next chief justice

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Tuesday, August 28, urged Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio to apply as the next top magistrate when Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo De Castro retires in October.

Drilon called on Carpio – who declined his nomination for chief justice after Maria Lourdes Sereno was removed – to reconsider his position. Carpio had said he would not want to benefit  from Sereno's ouster, which he had strongly opposed.

“I urge the most senior associate justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Carpio, to reconsider his stand and heed the call for him to apply as a successor of De Castro. I urge him to apply as the next chief justice,” Drilon said in a statement on Tuesday.

Drilon added Carpio’s reason is “no longer applicable today,” as the next vacancy would be created by De Castro and not by Sereno.

Drilon and Carpio are both members of the University of the Philippines College of Law's Sigma Rho Fraternity.

But will Duterte appoint him? For Drilon, President Rodrigo Duterte’s statements show that he is not “[closing] the door to future nominations of Carpio.”

Duterte, when asked on Monday if he would appoint Carpio next, said: “[Carpio] stated publicly that he's not going to accept so why cause a person to accept a path he does not want?”

Duterte also said that he makes appointments in the SC, military, and civil service based on seniority and merit.

“Contrary to news reports that the President has shut the door for a possible Carpio-led Supreme Court once the newly-appointed Chief Justice retires in October, I read the President’s statement to mean that he respects Carpio’s refusal to be nominated as Chief Justice for the vacancy created by the removal of Sereno,” Drilon said.

“In fact, the President’s statement that seniority is his major and principal consideration in appointing individuals to the government boosts Carpio’s chance of becoming the next chief justice,” he said.

Carpio, however, has opposed some of the policies of Duterte. Aside from the quo warranto against Sereno, Carpio has repeatedly criticized Duterte's policy towards China on the West Philippine Sea issue. – Rappler.com 

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com