Is the path to the chief justice post finally clear for Antonio Carpio?

October 4, 2018 - 6:15 PM
Acting Supreme Court Chief Justice Antonio Carpio noted that the Philippine government should seek arbitration and compensation from China for the coral reef destruction in Scarborough Shoal. (PhilStar/File photo)

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Wednesday said that he has ‘no reason to decline’ a nomination to be the next chief justice, months after he turned down a previous nomination.

The 68-year old magistrate said at a press conference Thursday that he had “no reason to decline” the automatic nomination he will receive after the coming retirement of Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo de-Castro this October 2018.

“The deadline is on October 15. You just wait. There is no legal impediment. There is no reason to decline,” Carpio said.

Carpio as the most senior justice on the high court is expected to receive the automatic nomination by the Judicial Bar Council after de Castro’s retirement.

While Carpio has not yet expressly stated his intention to accept the nomination, those who support him have interpreted his responses as a willingness to finally accept the nomination.

Some administration critics believe that Carpio as chief magistrate will be instrumental in maintaining the checks-and-balance between the judiciary and the executive.

Carpio had previously served as chief justice in an acting capacity, first during the impeachment trial of the late Renato Corona and later during the impeachment proceedings and quo warranto hearing against Corona’s successor Maria Lourdes Sereno.

In July 2018, he turned down the nomination to be chief justice after Sereno was removed from her post, citing his vote against the quo warranto petition that removed Sereno from the post.

“I have to be consistent with my position that the quo warranto is not the proper way to remove a sitting member of the court, so I don’t want to benefit from that decision on which I disagreed,” said Carpio in a media interview.

The Supreme Court in May 2018 voted 8-6 to grant the quo warranto petition against Sereno. Carpio was one of the six who voted against the petition, arguing that the quo warranto petition was not the legal means to remove a chief justice from office.

Although his feelings towards the nomination appear to have changed, Carpio in previous interviews said that he had factored in his age in turning down the nomination he received after Sereno’s removal.

“I’m about to retire so I don’t hunger for any position at this point,” he said during a television interview in July 2018.

Carpio, who has been serving on the high tribunal since 2001, is expected to retire when he turns 70 in October 2019.