Carpio to respect President’s choice for Chief JusticeBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines—Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio said on Monday that he would not be hurt if he would not be appointed Chief Justice.
“That is the right of the President, the power given to him by the Constitution and I respect the Constitution. The Constitution is my bible,” Carpio told reporters in an ambush interview at the book launching of “The History of the Supreme Court’’ to mark the tribunal’s 111th anniversary.
Carpio, the most senior member of the Supreme Court, is automatically among those being considered to replace Renato Corona who was removed as from his post after being found guilty of culpable violation of the Constitution by the Senate seating as an impeachment court.
However, President Aquino III hinted on appointing an outsider as the next Chief Justice
However, Carpio said there is nothing in the Constitution which categorically states that the most senior member of the Supreme Court should be appointed Chief Justice.
“There is nothing in the Constitution which says that the most senior [member of the Supreme Court] should be appointed,” he said.
“The qualifications are in the Constitution…Of course, we are all professionals in the Court. Whoever is our Chief Justice, we will support him or her,” Carpio said.
Carpio also maintained that the impeachment trial and the subsequent removal of Corona was not an affront to the independence of the Judiciary.
“If you look at the impeachment charge, it is directed against one justice. It is not directed against the entire judiciary,” Carpio told reporters in an ambush interview.
“I do not think that’s the intention of the Constitution. When the Constitution provides that justices, other constitutional officers are subject to impeachment, it doesn’t mean that if an impeachment charge is filed against that person, the entire institution is also charged. The Constitution does not say that,” Carpio said.
Corona had repeatedly accused the Aquino administration of using the entire machinery of the Executive branch to remove him from office.
Senator Joker Arroyo, when he explained his vote acquitting Corona, said that the impeachment trial has created a chilling effect over the judiciary and it is one to cause for alarm.
Carpio said he does not believe that the trial has created a chilling effect on the sitting justices of the Supreme Court.
“It has no chilling effect on me,” Carpio said.