Duterte says he'll consult various sectors for next chief justice
President Rodrigo Duterte said he would consult various sectors on his choice of next chief justice, who would replace ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
In an interview in Bohol on Thursday, Duterte said he could not say yet if Sereno's successor would be an insider.
"I cannot. It would depend on the recommendation of people. I have to consult not only the Justices themselves but also the law profession --- so it’s by IBP (Integrated Bar of the Philippines) and Philippine Constitutional Association and others," he said.
Duterte said he would also consult his criminal law professor when he was still studying law.
Under the law, Duterte has to choose the chief justice from the shortlist to be provided to him by the Judicial and Bar Council.
Duterte said the most senior Supreme Court justices could also be included in the shortlist since it is part of the tradition.
However, since Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio had said he was not interested to be the chief magistrate, he would not consider him.
"The guy has already said that he is not interested and he does not want the position. So what can I do?," Duterte said.
Carpio has been critical of the Duterte administration for its soft stance towards China, particularly on the South China Sea issue.
He was one of the legal luminaries who worked hard to get a favorable ruling from the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal when the Philippines questioned China's historic and sovereign claim in almost the entire South China Sea through its nine-dash line.
The arbitral court declared as illegal China's nine-dash line. But Beijing refused to recognize the arbitral ruling.
Meanwhile, as to Sereno's possible joining in the 2019 senatorial race, Duterte sarcastically said it was "good" for her.
"She wasted the prestige of the chief justice. Not everybody can be appointed as chief justice," he said.
Sereno was removed as the chief justice through a quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida for her failure to comply with the submission of all the copies of her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth before the JBC.
With the granting of the quo warranto petition, Sereno's appointment as chief justice was void ab initio. Celerina Monte/DMS