Carpio’s vow: No Aquino Supreme Court
What “Aquino Supreme Court?”
Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio on Monday sought to douse insinuations that the Supreme Court would be subservient to President Benigno Aquino once he appoints the successor of Renato Corona, who was removed as Chief Justice by the Senate impeachment court on May 22.
Carpio, Corona’s fiercest rival in the high court and one of the contenders for the vacated post of top magistrate, said that the 15-member tribunal would remain independent whomever the President would name as the 24th Chief Justice.
In his first interview with reporters as interim Chief Justice, Carpio dismissed claims by administration critics that in orchestrating the ouster of Corona, Mr. Aquino was out to control the judiciary.
Carpio said that the impeachment of Corona was “directed against one justice” not the entire third coequal branch of government.
“I don’t think that will happen … . I don’t think that will be the case because … the justices are really independent,” Carpio said when asked about fears that the tribunal may become an “Aquino Supreme Court.”
“The court will always be independent. I’m sure the justices will decide independently on every issue,” he said in the impromptu interview at the launch of the book, “History of the Supreme Court,” to mark the 111th anniversary of the tribunal’s establishment.
“The impeachment process taught us lessons and I think we are learning from those lessons … The court, in effect, has reacted to these charges of lack of transparency by being transparent,” Carpio said, referring to his move to make public statements of assets of judges and justices and the release of all financial records of the judiciary in 2010.
Being the most senior among the tribunal’s 14 justices, Carpio and four other senior justices are automatically nominated to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) for the post of Chief Justice.
Asked to comment on Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s remark that Corona’s rivals should decline the nomination to avoid suspicions that they were after his post, Carpio replied: “I don’t know about that. The people have their own opinion.”
Carpio said he would respect the President’s decision should he decide to choose somebody from outside the court as Corona’s replacement.
“It’s the prerogative of the President to appoint from anyone in the list submitted by the JBC. 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,” he said.
In his speech during the ceremony, retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno said the judiciary “appears to be in disarray” in the aftermath of its “collision with the political branches of government.”
“Some are disappointed, some are confused. Some appeared to be in a spiritual slump for they perceived a severely wounded judiciary,” Puno said.
“There is no better message to our judiciary than the supplication of [the martyred] Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos—to hold, hold and hold,” he continued.
“The Supreme Court has a life of its own. With the aid of Divine Providence, it was established by the people. And for as long as it serves the people, nothing will prevail against it. The court may be down for the moment, but with God’s grace, it will not stay down for long.”
Originally posted: 10:02 pm | Monday, June 11th, 2012
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