Vizconde: Carpio Not CJ Material

Lauro Vizconde yesterday asked the Judicial and Bar Council not to consider Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio for the post of Supreme Court chief justice.

In a three-page opposition filed with the JBC, Vizconde accused Carpio of lobbying fellow justices to acquit Hubert Webb and six others previously convicted for the massacre of his family in 1991.

"I am respectfully submitting my vehement objection to the nomination and appointment of Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, as he is wanting in, and has not proven his possession of the qualities of integrity, probity, and independence," Vizconde said.

He alleged that Carpio "has exhibited his tendencies to submit to corruption and to entertain biases to serve his own personal interest and the interest of those close to him."

Vizconde recounted how Justice Carpio allegedly acted as the point man in marshaling efforts to secure the acquittal of Webb as early as the time when the case was still under review before the Court of Appeals.

Webb, the son of former senator Freddie Webb, was implicated and convicted by a Parañaque trial court for the massacre of Vizconde's wife Estrellita, and his daughters Carmela and Anne Marie Jennifer.

The Supreme Court acquitted Webb and six other in 2010.

According to Vizconde, he was informed by then SC Chief Justice Renato Corona that Justice Carpio was lobbying with his fellow justices for the acquittal of the younger Webb. Vizconde even quoted Corona as saying "Talagang binabraso at iniimpluwensyahan ni Carpio ang kanyang mga kasama para mapawalang-sala si Webb."

"I was taken aback by the information given by the Chief Justice, but there is no conceivable reason, other than his commitment to truth and justice, for him to say it," he said.

Aside from questioning the impartiality of the magistrate, Vizconde said he believed that President Aquino would only create an impression that the Executive has control over the judiciary should he appoint Justice Carpio.

"Appointing Justice Carpio to the Highest Judicial Office with the foregoing unsettled and still haunting issues will be a blemished start for the new Supreme Court and would only promote divisiveness than unity in our country," he said.

Meanwhile, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) will host today a second public forum on the search for the next chief justice at the IBP Building in Ortigas, Pasig City.

The forum entitled: "The Search for the Next Chief Justice: Defining the Best Candidate for the Post" will feature the Chief Justice nominees themselves, who will discuss their judicial philosophy and judicial reform agenda. The forum will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

Among the nominees who have accepted the IBP invitation are incumbent SC Associate Justice Roberto Abad, Atty. Rafael Morales, Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento and former UP Law Dean Raul Pangalangan. (With a report from Francis T. Wakefield)

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