Press Release
August 28, 2018

Statement of Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon

On the appointment of CJ De Castro

All questions, issues, and doubts surrounding the appointment of Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro, particularly with regard to her impartiality, can only be addressed if the newly-appointed chief magistrate refrains from participating in any political case pending before the court. I encourage her to inhibit from politically charged cases in order to uphold the integrity of the decision that the Supreme Court may make during her short tenure.

I have known Chief Justice de Castro for over two decades and I have known her to be a woman of intelligence and integrity. However, whether she can do as much, set a trend, or influence the Supreme Court, during her five weeks tenure as Chief Justice is something that is difficult to expect given such limitation. What else can she do within her term?

On Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio

The President has announced that Justice Teresita de Castro is appointed Chief Justice with her seniority as a principal and major consideration. That could be a good indication for Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio to be the next Chief Justice.

Contrary to news reports that the President has shut the door for a possible Carpio-led Supreme Court once the newly-appointed Chief Justice retires in October, I read the President's statement to mean that, he respects Carpio's refusal to be nominated as Chief Justice for the vacancy created by the removal of Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

Unless I am wrong, the President did not close the door to future nominations of Carpio as next Chief Justice. In fact, the President's statement that seniority is his major and principal consideration in appointing individuals to the government boosts Carpio's chance of becoming the next chief justice.

Carpio declined the nomination for the vacancy created by the removal of Sereno because he did not want to benefit from the removal of Sereno, which he has opposed. But Carpio's reason for declining any nomination for chief justice is no longer applicable today, because the vacancy that will be created next is by reason of de Castro's retirement - not the removal of Sereno.

Hence, I urge the most senior associate justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Carpio, to reconsider his stand and heed the call for him to apply as a successor of de Castro. I urge him to apply as the next chief justice.

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