Carpio stands firm on West PH Sea rights despite possible impact on CJ nomination

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio

Nothing will stop Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio from advocating a tougher stance in claiming Philippine’s sovereign rights to the West Philippine Sea — not even its potential impact on his nomination for chief justice of the Supreme Court (SC).

The possibility of his chances being affected due to his position on the issue is not lost on Justice Carpio, knowing that president Rodrigo Duterte, who holds the power to appoint the next chief justice, is friendly with China.

“It’s the prerogative of the president to appoint whoever he wants and I respect that. But that doesn’t stop me from continuing my advocacy because I think this is more important than anything else,” Carpio said.

Carpio made the statement during his lecture on the West Philippine Sea at the gathering of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas in Makati, Tuesday night.

Last week, Carpio decided to accept his automatic nomination to the chief justice post, noting that the circumstances are different this time as there are no longer any legal issues involved unlike during the ouster bid against former Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

“Because in Sereno, my opinion stated that she could not be removed by quo warranto but she was removed. Now, I do not want to benefit from a ruling that I disagreed on. But now this is an expiration of term. De Castro’s term as CJ expired. There’s no legal issue anymore. That’s why I said there is no reason anymore to decline,” Carpio explained.

Other SC justices who accepted their automatic nominations are Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin, Estella Perlas-Bernabe and Andres Reyes Jr.

Justice Antonio Carpio is currently the acting chief justice after Chief Justice Teresita de Castro retired on October 10 upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.

The Judicial and Bar Council of the Philippines (JBC) extended the deadline for the submission of applications and nominations until October 26.

If he is selected for the post, Carpio will have until October 2019 to lead the Supreme Court. — Mai Bermudez

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