In an interview with ANC, Carpio—who was among the justices who voted against Calida’s petition—said he has to be “consistent” with his position.
AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File
Carpio to turn down nomination to be next chief justice
Ian Nicolas Cigaral ( - June 20, 2018 - 2:20pm

MANILA, Philippines — Acting Supreme Court Chief Justice Antonio Carpio on Wednesday said he will decline if nominated to be the Philippines’ next top judge, after the country’s first woman chief magistrate was ousted by her colleagues.

Maria Lourdes Sereno on Tuesday lost an appeal against her removal as chief justice, marking the beginning of the search for her replacement.

Voting 8-6 in a special en banc session, the high tribunal only took two months to decide on Solicitor General Jose Calida's “quo warranto” petition, which challenged the legality of Sereno's appointment mainly on the grounds of missing wealth declarations.

In an interview with ANC, Carpio—who was among the justices who voted against Calida’s petition—said he has to be “consistent” with his position.

“I look at this at two levels, 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,” Carpio said. “On a personal level, because I have voted against it, I don’t want to benefit from it, so I will decline any nomination."

“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,” he continued.

Should Carpio decline the nomination, his name will not be included in the shortlist that the Judicial and Bar Council will submit to President Rodrigo Duterte, who has the authority to appoint new members of the judiciary.

Carpio—the most senior justice of the court—has been a member of the high tribunal since Oct. 26, 2001, following his appointment by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

He was a member of the legal team that argued, and won, the Philippines' case on the West Philippine Sea before a United Nations-backed tribunal.

Carpio continues to issue statements that go against the government position on the maritime dispute with China. He will retire from the SC on Oct. 26, 2019.

“Well, I’m about to retire so there’s really no... I don’t hanker for any position at this point and if you are a chief justice, you only have one vote—the same as the vote of an associate justice,” Carpio told ANC.

“And it doesn’t mean that because you are a chief justice, the other justices will follow you. You’ve seen it,” he added.

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