Palace insists Carpio stand on WPS has nothing to do with Chief Justice snub
Malacañang on Thursday insisted that the non-selection of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has nothing to do with his critical stance of the country’s West Philippine Sea dispute with China.
“Wala, walang kinalaman ‘yon (Carpio’s stance). Si Presidente hindi naman tinitingnan ‘yung background, kung kalaban siya, kung minura ba siya,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters in an interview.
Panelo cited his predecessor, former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, whom he said didn’t just campaigned against Duterte in 2016 but also hurled criticisms against the then Davao City mayor, only to be appointed as Duterte’s official mouthpiece.
“Look at former spokesperson Roque. He didn’t only campaign against him, marami rin siyang sinabi against the President,” Panelo explained.
Carpio was among the five associate justices shorlisted for the chief justice post, which was vacated by the retirement of Teresita De Castro. Duterte then picked Lucas Bersamin to be the new top justice, a move which was met with criticisms for it allegedly broke the judiciary’s seniority tradition.
Carpio previously declined his nomination for the top justice post when it was declared vacant following former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s removal in May. He explained that he would not want to “benefit” from a decision he had rejected.
Following De Castro’s retirement in October, Carpio, the most senior of the five candidates, said he did not see any more reason to decline the Chief Justice nomination.
However, Duterte snubbed Carpio and cited his initial decision to decline the nomination, an argument seconded by Panelo.
“(Carpio) then declined the nomination for the reason that he didn’t want to take advantage of the ouster of Sereno,” Panelo said.
“Following the same logic he should also decline the nomination now kasi ganun din ‘yun. The ouster of Sereno triggered vacancies.” he added.
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