Two lawmakers defend Duterte’s choice for Chief Justice
Two lawmakers defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s choice for the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (SC), saying seniority should remain the gold standard in appointing a top magistrate.
Oriental Mindoro 1st District Rep. Salvador “Doy” Leachon, chairperson of the House committee on justice, and Anac-IP Rep. Jose Panganiban, Jr., chairperson of the committee on agriculture and food, both believed that Duterte made the right choice when he considered seniority and chose to appoint Associate Justice Teresita de Castro as the new Chief Justice.
“The President definitely made a good job despite the criticism of so many that Chief Justice De Castro will be sitting only for a period of two (months),” Leachon said.
“But in order to restore the whole tradition of seniority, the President had to do that,” he added. “I hope the next or succeeding presidents will do the same in order to maintain of course the independence, the consistency, and power of the Supreme Court,” Leachon added.
Leachon’s committee will be handling the impeachment case against De Castro and six other SC justices.
Meanwhile, Panganiban said: “Kung pare-parehong kwalipikado iyan, titingin ka na sa seniority.”
“Lahat naman ng pinili ng JBC (Judicial and Bar Council) kwalipikado na lahat iyan. If you were listed as one of the candidates in the JBC, seniority should come. Lahat naman iyan eh kahit sa military, kahit saan. Except in the election, walang seniority sa election,” he added.
While he pointed out that De Castro has the qualifications and experience, Leachon also stressed that it would be hard for more senior justices to follow someone who is inferior to them.
“Mahirap magpasunod like what we have before appointing the most junior, it would be very hard on the part of the senior members to follow for obvious reasons,” he explained.
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