Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is one of the three justices vying for the top judge post after Chief Justice Teresita De Castro retired on October 10.
AP/Bullit Marquez
Carpio accepts nomination to chief justice post
Kristine Joy Patag ( - October 12, 2018 - 4:27pm

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 5:42 p.m.) — Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has accepted his automatic nomination to become the country’s next chief justice.

He is one of the three justices vying for the top judge post after Chief Justice Teresita De Castro retired on October 10. 

Carpio had earlier declined his nomination to the chief justice post—vacated after former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was ousted through a quo warranto case—citing “delicadeza.” He said he wanted to stay consistent with his vote on the quo warranto.

Carpio had received nominations from former Chief Justice Hilario Davide and the 40,000-strong Integrated Bar of the Philippines during the opening for Sereno’s replacement.

But last week, Carpio said that he no longer sees a reason to decline the nomination to the post.

He said at a forum in Makati on October 4: “I don’t see any legal obstacle anymore.”

Carpio and South China Sea advocacy

One of Carpio’s advocacies is to raise awareness on the Philippines’ claims in the South China Sea.

He is also part of the legal team that fought and won the country’s case against China before the international tribunal.

The senior associate justice also gave lectures around the country and abroad casting doubt on China’s vast historic claim over a large part of the South China Sea, which includes a portion that is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Carpio has also urged the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to enforce the international arbitral tribunal’s ruling on the maritime dispute.

Duterte has taken a softer stance against China on the historic ruling, citing that the Philippines can’t win against China.

“Because in my simple calculation, with every common sense that is available to me, I would have taken a stronger, probable a more violent way of doing it. I said, in my own estimation, it would probably be a great loss to the nation and probably end up losing a war,” Duterte said in one of his long-winding remarks last May 22.

In the oral arguments on petitions challenging the country’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, Carpio stressed that the country might risk losing one of the legal deterrents to hold Chinese President Xi Jinping and his military officials should they invade and militarize Pag-asa Island.

Del Castillo declines nomination

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court Public Information Office said in a statement that Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo has declined his automatic nomination.

Del Castillo was quoted by the SC in a statement as saying: “My compulsory retirement next year, however, compels me to respectfully decline the nomination.”

Del Castillo also said that with his duties as the chair of the 2018 Bar Examinations, his “work will extend to the months just prior to my retirement.”

“That will leave me not much time to embark on notable projects that a Chief Justice will normally want to have an imprint on,” Del Castillo added.

The justice is due to retire on July 29 next year.

De Castro, who retired last Wednesday, held the chief justice post for less than two months.

The Judicial and Bar Council, meanwhile, said that they are extending the application for the chief justice post until October 26.

Other justices who accepted the automatic nomination were Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta and Lucas Bersamin.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 28, 2018 - 1:02pm

Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin has accepted the nomination to become the next chief justice.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed this in a text message to

Guevarra is a member of the Judicial and Bar Council, the panel that screens applications to posts in the Judiciary.

Bersamin is the first among the five most senior justices of the high court to accept their automatic nomination to the post.

November 28, 2018 - 1:02pm

It's official. Supreme Court Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin is the new chief justice, Justice Secretary Guevarra confirms. 

"The Office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea has released the appointment papers of Justice Bersamin as the new CJ," Guevarra says.

November 28, 2018 - 8:39am

President Duterte has chosen Lucas Bersamin as the new chief justice. The appointment paper will be released today, according to a source in the Palace.


October 12, 2018 - 4:24pm

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has accepted his automatic nomination to the chief justice post. — Kristine Joy Patag

August 3, 2018 - 1:08pm

The Supreme Court Public Information Office announces that the Judicial and Bar Council will hold its public interviews for all nominees for the chief justice post on August 16, 9:00 a.m.

The public interview will be live-streamed by the SC PIO.

July 26, 2018 - 2:45pm

Associate Justice Marvic Leonen declines the nomination for the chief justice post.

In a one-page letter to the Judicial and Bar Council, Leonen says that in his view, "the agreement among the Members that the next Chief Justice should come from the five (5) most senior incumbent justices is a rational policy based on past experience."

The justice, in an earlier TV interview, said that he does not aspire to be the head of judiciary as it “requires some sort of a capacity or an attitude that right now I cannot imagine myself doing.”

Leonen, and the other 13 SC justices, received a nomination for the chief justice post from retired Sandiganbayan Justice Raoul Victorino. 

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