Justice Antonio Carpio stands by vow he won’t benefit from Sereno ouster

July 25, 2018 - 4:20 PM
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio (FILE PHOTO, PHIL. STAR)

Acting Supreme Court Chief Justice Antonio Carpio is making good on his vow that he does not want to benefit from the ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno by declining the nomination to be the next chief justice.

Carpio’s decision to decline the nomination shocked some who  regard him as the most qualified for the post in the Supreme Court.

‘Most senior’

Carpio, 68, was nominated by the Integrated Bar Council and former Chief Justice Hilario Davide. He is also automatically nominated because of his position as acting chief justice,

He communicated his intention to decline the nominations in a letter he sent to the Judicial and Bar Council.

Carpio in June 2018 said that he would turn down any nomination he would receive following the ouster of Sereno.

He was one of the six justices who voted to dismiss the quo warranto petition that led Sereno’s removal.

“I have to be consistent with my position that the quo warranto is not the proper way to remove a sitting member of the court, so I don’t want to benefit from that decision on which I disagreed,” said Carpio in an interview on ANC that month.

Carpio also mentioned that age is one of the factors that convinced him not to pursue the post.

“I’m about to retire so I don’t hunger for any position at this point,” he added.

The acting chief magistrate is set to retire on Oct. 26, 2019, after he turns 70, the mandatory age of retirement for members of the judiciary.

He had previously been nominated, but was bypassed in favor of Sereno.

Those praising him have cited his principled decision to make good on his earlier promise.

He has been praised alongside his cousin, outgoing Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, another prominent name in the legal profession.

Carpio graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines College of Law in 1975. He placed sixth in the bar exam the same year.

He later established the Carpio Villaraza and Cruz Law office which would become one of the most powerful law firms in the country.

Carpio entered public service when he was appointed Chief Presidential Legal Counsel by Fidel V. Ramos in 1992.

After spending some time in the private sector, he entered the judiciary at the age of 52 when he was appointed as an associate justice of the Supreme Court by Gloria Macapal-Arroyo in 2001.

He has recently been applauded for his staunch defense of the Philippines’ exercise of sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea, having served as part of the legal team sent to argue on behalf of the country at the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal in 2016.