Last we looked, the position of chief justice of the Supreme Court was a coveted post. As the head of the entire judiciary, an independent—supposedly, that is—branch of government, the chief justice is the fifth most powerful government official.
He or she is the first among equals and has the capacity to influence jurisprudence through leadership of his or her colleagues.
Questionable appointments and incidents of bypassing have stirred controversy, leading to demoralization at best and animosity at worst among justices.
Indeed to be named chief justice is an honor and privilege.It is strange, then, and sad, to note that not one among the five most senior associate justices of the court appear keen on accepting the nomination.
This is after Maria Lourdes Sereno was ousted by quo warranto proceedings in May.
The five justices who have neither accepted or declined their automatic nominations are Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo-de Castro,
Diosdado Peralta and Lucas Bersamin.Carpio, the most senior of the five, has earlier stated he would not accept the nomination.Delicadeza, he said, would not allow him to benefit from a situation he had voted against.
He voted with the minority, believing that Sereno should have been impeached,The Judicial and Bar Council, which screens nominees for the post, has set the deadline for nominations on July 25.
Many things can happen between now and the day President Duterte actually names the top magistrate.It is difficult to tell whether the position has lost its attractiveness because of what befell the last two chief justices.
Renato Corona was tried at the Senate, convicted and ousted. Sereno’s ouster was affirmed by her colleagues, who are now admonishing her for talking too much about her situation.
Perhaps the justices have realized that the position is as precarious as it is prestigious, and that occupying it would open them up to attacks, warranted or otherwise.That would be a more logical and likely explanation than mere coyness on their part.If this were accurate, then it would be unfortunate.
It means that the most qualified, esteemed and deserving candidates would be depriving the country of their service for reasons unrelated to the effective performance of their judicial duties. / posted July 19, 2018 at 12:50 am by Manila Standar
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