MANILA, Philippines - Former ombudsman Simeon Marcelo has declined his nomination for the post of chief justice on Friday, June 29.
Marcelo said he sent a letter to the Judicial and Bar Council, the body that vets aspirants to the judiciary to the president, Friday afternoon. He is the 20th nominee to turn down the nomination.
"It's an honor that [retired Supreme Court] Justice Florentino Feliciano nominated me, but I think there are a number of contenders who are already qualified, " he said in a phone interview.
When asked if he declined because his former colleague in the CVC (Villaraza Cruz Marcelo & Angangco) law firm, Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, is also in the running for the highest post in the judiciary, Marcelo said it did not factor in his decision-making.
Carpio is a co-founder of CVC law firm, where Marcelo is now a senior partner.
Earlier, Carpio said that if given the opportunity, he was not turning down any challenge to lead the judiciary, indicating openness to an appointment as chief justice. Being the most senior justice of the High Court, he automatically became acting chief justice after the conviction of impeached chief justice Renato Corona on May 29.
"It's part of my work. There's no reason for me to depart from my work," Carpio told reporters after delivering a speech Friday, June 29, before a local chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
Marcelo was appointed ombudsman in 2002 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He retired in 2005, however, citing health reasons.
Marcelo has been a vocal critic of Arroyo, however, especially after the alleged massive cheating in the 2004 presidential elections.
The rest of the nominees for chief justice -- including Carpio -- have until Monday, July 2, to formalize acceptance of their nominations. At least 13 nominees have thus far accepted their nominations. - Rappler.com
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