MANILA, Philippines – It's not one color but 3 – red, blue and yellow – or the colors of the Philippine flag as the Supreme Court (SC) sent off Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio to retirement.
Carpio attended his last SC flag ceremony on Monday, October 21, where ceremonies were simple in stark contrast to the honor rites given last week to retired chief justice Lucas Bersamin.
The Court's Program on Awards and Incentives for Service and Excellence (PRAISE) Committee awarded Carpio with a certificate of appreciation to honor "his great love of country." (READ: 'The best chief justice we never had')
"For his great love of country, embracing with passion his personal advocacy of our country's claim over the West Philippine Sea under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), helping secure the favorable ruling from the arbitral tribunal at The Hague and for tirelessly conducting lectures on the merits of our country's claim here and abroad," said the certificate signed by Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, who will become the most senior justice of the court when Carpio retires on October 26.
The committee also honored Carpio for his impactful ponencias "that greatly enriched Philippine jurisprudence," which included Chavez vs Public Estates Authority and Amari Coastal Bay Development Corporation "where the Court expounded on the people's right to information on matters of public concern and on the State policy on full transparency in all transactions involving public interest."
Carpio's speech was short, but he made it a point to mention a professional achievement: he leaves the Court with zero backlog.
"It was a very long journey allowing me to write 935 full-blown long decisions, 79 dissenting opinions, 30 concurring opinions, 13 separate opinions, and 4 concurring and dissenting opinions leaving no backlog," Carpio said.
Carpio is leaving the Supreme Court after 18 years. He accepted his nominations to become chief justice twice, and opted out of the nominations thrice.
The two times he joined the race, former president Benigno Aquino appointed ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno instead, and President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Bersamin.
He was once again nominated for the replacement of Bersamin, but Carpio declined because he would only serve less than two weeks.
Nevertheless, he will leave the Court with the benefits of a chief justice, sources confirmed.
"For simply being himself: a shining light and anchor both in his office with his loyal staff and in the en banc, where he has provided leadership and a steadying hand during some of its most challenging times," said the committee.
"I dare say that my colleagues in the en banc and my co workers in the SC family have always shown utmost dedication and professionalism in their work and service to the Filipino people. So let me say a big thank you to all of you," said Carpio.
SAJ Carpio: "It was a very long journey allowing me to write 935 full blown long decisions, 79 dissenting opinions, 30 concurring opinions, 13 separate opinions and four concurring and dissenting opinions leaving no backlog." Photo c/o SC PIO pic.twitter.com/TK4cDxX1ab — Lian Buan (@lianbuan) October 21, 2019 – Rappler.com