SENIOR Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio on Wednesday said he would decline all nominations for chief justice over his vote in the Supreme Court’s (SC) decision that removed Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno from the post.
“I have to be consistent with my position that the quo warranto is not the proper way to remove a sitting member of the court, so I don’t want to benefit from that decision (on) which I disagreed,” Mr. Carpio said in an interview with ANC’s Headstart on Wednesday.
Ms. Sereno’s appointment was voided last May 11 when the SC voted 8-6 in favor of Solicitor-General Jose C. Calida’s quo warranto petition which accused her of incomplete submission of her Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC). Ms. Sereno’s reversal plea was dismissed with finality on Tuesday, June 19.
Mr. Carpio, who is currently Acting Chief Justice, was one of the dissenters in the case.
Despite his dissenting opinion, he said, “as head of the institution right now, although temporary, I will have to implement that decision of the court — that there’s a vacancy. So we will open it for applications.”
According to him, “if you decline a nomination then your name will not be included in the list submitted to the President.”
“(President Rodrigo R. Duterte) has to choose from the list of nominees by the JBC. He cannot choose outside of the list,” he explained in the interview.
Asked why the post is no longer important, Mr. Carpio pointed out: “I’m about to retire so I don’t hunger for any position at this point.”
Mr. Carpio will step down next year on Oct. 26 when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70, in compliance with Article VIII, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution.
He said, “If you are a Chief Justice, you have only (one) vote, same as the vote of an Associate Justice. And it doesn’t mean because you are Chief Justice the other justices will follow you — (as) you’ve seen (with Ms. Sereno’s case.)”
“They will follow you if your ponencia — your decision — is correct, is convincing, it’s powerful. That’s when they’ll follow you, not because you’re Chief Justice.”
The high court announced on Tuesday the 90-day vacancy period for the post of chief justice, in accordance with Article VIII, Section 4, Paragraph 1 of the 1987 Constitution. — D.A.M.Enerio