Carpio: We have to move on after impeachment trial
MANILA, Philippines—“We have to move on.”
Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio issued the remark Monday, referring to the recently concluded impeachment trial and eventual conviction of former Chief Justice Renato Corona for culpable violation of the Constitution.
“Well, we have to move forward. We have to learn from the lessons of the impeachment,” 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.
This was the first time Carpio appeared in public since assuming the post vacated by Corona in an acting capacity.
He said the high court has taken steps towards transparency when the justices agreed to release to the public their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) as well as the financial reports of the Judiciary.
“We have complied with the Journal Auditing Act,” Carpio said.
On the other hand, Carpio said the guidelines on the release of their SALN would be discussed in a special en banc (full court) session on Wednesday.
“The Court has reacted to these charges of lack of transparency by being transparent,” Carpio said.
Carpio also said the Supreme Court will remain independent regardless of whomever President Aquino appoints as top magistrate.
Carpio, the most senior among the tribunal’s 14 justices, said he would respect Mr. Aquino’s prerogative should he decide to choose an outsider to succeed Corona.
“I don’t think that will happen,” Carpio told reporters when asked to comment on the fear that the tribunal would be an “Aquino Supreme Court.”
The court will always be independent. I’m sure the justices will decide independently on every issue,” he said.
Carpio, who was accused by Corona of being part of an alleged conspiracy to remove him, said it was natural for the justices to support the Chief Justice.
“But it doesn’t mean that we will just follow and decide the way (the new Chief Justice will) decide. Following means we will cooperate, but we have our (own) decisions,” he said.
“When you say ‘unity in the Supreme Court,’ it doesn’t mean that we will be unanimous in our decisions. That will not happen.”
As to suggestions that Mr. Aquino should consider seniority as the most important factor in naming the new Chief Justice, Carpio said: “There’s nothing in the Constitution which says that the most senior (justice) should be appointed.”
Added Carpio: “It’s the prerogative of the President to appoint from anyone in the list submitted by the JBC (Judicial and Bar Council). That’s the right of the President, the power given to him by the Constitution. I respect the Constitution (because) my Bible is the Constitution.” With a report by Marlon Ramos, Philippine Daily Inquirer
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