After 18 years in SC, Carpio bows out
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio poses for a photo yesterday with Supreme Court personnel, who dressed in red, white and blue as tribute to him, during his last flag ceremony before his retirement this coming Friday.
Edd Gumban
After 18 years in SC, Carpio bows out
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - October 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Retiring after 18 years as justice of the Supreme Court (SC), Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said yesterday he is leaving the high tribunal with no case backlog.

“It was a very long journey, allowing me to write 935 full blown long decisions, 79 dissenting opinions, 30 concurring opinions, 13 separate opinions and four concurring and dissenting opinions, leaving no backlog,” Carpio said in remarks after yesterday’s flag-raising ceremony – his last as SC magistrate.

On Saturday, Oct. 26, Carpio turns 70, the mandatory age of retirement for a justice. His last day in office would be on Friday.

He said he cherished the moment he was appointed to the SC by then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and recalled the warm welcome he received from employees, especially when he introduced himself as the newest magistrate of the high court.

As he stood on the same spot yesterday, he bade them farewell and relayed his gratitude to SC officers and employees for their unselfish support, professionalism and dedication. “They have lightened the heavy burden on my shoulders,” he said of his staff.

Carpio said he is both happy and sad about his coming retirement. “Happy, because I have done my best to serve our people, and sad because I am bidding farewell to my family of the last 18 years. I cannot name all of you individually. You have made my long journey pleasant and productive,” he said.

Although known for his integrity and independence, Carpio missed the chance to become chief justice five times, with the appointment of Renato Corona in 2010, Ma. Lourdes Sereno in 2012, Teresita de Castro and Lucas Bersamin last year and by declining his nomination as Bersamin’s replacement. He said he would only serve as chief justice for eight days if he accepted the nomination and got appointed as Bersamin’s replacement.

In an earlier interview, Carpio said that after his retirement he would continue his research and writing to promote the country’s position on the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea issue.

“I have several invitations to talk about the West Philippine Sea in Japan and in the United States. I have friends researching on the same subject, who are also interested in the same subject and we agree to meet regularly and see how we should proceed from there,” he said.

When asked if he would accept a position as a government adviser in international affairs, he said,  “I am always available to defend our sovereign rights in the WPS. I don’t have to have any formal position. They want my opinion, my recommendation, I will give it willingly and gladly,” he said.

At yesterday’s flag-raising ceremony, the SC gave Carpio a certificate of appreciation and a plaque of recognition signed by other justices.

“He adopted reasonable and principled interpretations of its various provisions, mindful of contemporary needs for social justice and regardless of its popularity or whether it accommodates the powerful,” his magistrate-colleagues said.

They are mindful of his advice to “follow the rule of law but also to seek and aspire for the rule of justice whenever there is a gap between the rule of law and the rule of justice.”

They also called him a “statesman and a patriot” and lauded his effort to “protect our national sovereignty and ensure the accountability of all government officials remains tireless, unceasing and enlightening.”

They also said “his knowledge and applied wisdom on National and International Law is unparalleled.”

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