Carpio is currently sitting as the Acting Chief Justice, pending the finality of the ruling on the quo warranto petition that ousted Maria Lourdes Sereno as head of Judiciary. As the justice who has served the high court the longest, Carpio is poised to be the strongest candidate as the next Chief Justice.
AP/Bullit Marquez
Carpio: Philippines' sovereignty more important than becoming chief justice
Kristine Joy Patag (philstar.com) - June 14, 2018 - 4:01pm

MANILA, Philippines — For Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, the Philippines’ sovereignty is far more important than becoming the next chief justice.

Carpio is currently the acting chief justice pending the finality of the ruling on the quo warranto petition that ousted Maria Lourdes Sereno as head of the Judiciary. As the justice who has served the high court the longest, Carpio is poised to be the strongest candidate for the position.

The senior justice has been advocating a stance on the West Philippine Sea issue that goes against the administration of the President Rodrigo Duterte—who appoints members of the Judiciary—on asserting the Philippines’ rights over the contested waters.

Asked on how his stand can affect his chances to become the next chief justice, Carpio replied: “That’s beside the point.”

“What is more important for the nation is that we preserve our sovereignty and sovereign rights. Because if we lose these, we lose that forever,” Carpio said in an interview with CNN’s The Source on Thursday.

Carpio is part of the country’s legal team who argued and won the Philippines' case against China on the West Philippine Sea before the Hague tribunal.

The senior justice reiterated that the Philippines’ sovereignty is “far more important that any position” and the “presidency.”

“The president can come and go, but our sovereignty stays with us,” Caprio added.

In the same interview, Carpio said that while China is refusing to acknowledge the landmark ruling that stated Philippines’ ownership of Scarborough or Panatag Shoal, the country should assert its position.

READ: Philippines, China, Vietnam can sign common agreement on fishing — Carpio

Carpio also urged the Philippine government to demand damages for the reported destruction of Chinese fishermen of coral reefs in Panatag Shoal. But the Malacañang said that it would rather “discuss” the matter with China than file a new case.

"Filing a new case against China will reverse our diplomatic gains, not to mention the cost it entails. We can therefore discuss the issue of destroyed coral reefs in Scarborough Shoal as this forms part of the area of maritime environmental protection instead of filing a new case," presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Wednesday.

The Judicial and Bar Council has yet to open nominations for the chief justice post, as it said that it will wait for the finality of the quo warranto ruling before doing so. 

Court insiders said that the Supreme Court en banc will rule on Sereno’s motion for reconsideration on June 19. Should her appeal be thrown out, the ruling will be deemed final.

ANTONIO CARPIO RODRIGO DUTERTE SUPREME COURT
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