choosing a chief justice

read Why the next CJ should be an insider, sent to malaya by a lawyer who requested anonymity, and published in the spirit of, heed the message, don’t shoot the messenger.

read also solita collas-monsod’s The best candidate for chief justice.  after disposing of the four major objections to the appointment of acting chief justice antonio carpio, she turns to what his actual performance has been in the supreme court:

…I have read his opinions, whether majority or dissenting, in a number of cases which I followed closely because of their importance to either the Philippine economy or its polity. And I have come away deeply impressed by the clarity and logic of his thinking, the solidity of his arguments, the homework he so obviously has done. No strain to credulity, no mental gymnastics, no decision-first-justification-later.

Moreover, as Tony La Viña of the Ateneo School of Government puts it, “He is consistently on the right side of environmental social justice and public accountability cases.” Some of these opinions I have written about, and I invite the Readers to refresh their memories—from people’s initiative to Radstock, to Koko Pimentel, to La Bugal and mining, to martial law.

But wait. A chief justice also has to be an excellent administrator. Does Carpio have what it takes? Just ask the Supreme Court staff how he has handled the administrative tasks assigned to him. Accomplished. Soonest.

And the latest proof, of course, is how, in his first meeting en banc as acting chief justice, he led the high court in reversing its stance on the disclosure of statements of assets, liabilities and net worth.

What are we waiting for?

i agree with the lawyer who prefers to remain anonymous, better an insider than an outsider for all 10 reasons he listed.  and mareng winnie has just sold me on  carpio.  thank god she wasn’t selling justice lourdes sereno, just because, hey, she’s the one who wants to raise compensation for hacienda luisita to some 10B bucks instead of just the ordered 200M.  no wonder the prez is keen on a new CJ in the Sereno mold.

right after the corona conviction, my kneejerk reaction to carpio as the next cj was a big no. following the president’s logic, that corona was gma’s man, carpio would only be the president’s man. but then, again, following that logic, anyone aquino appoints would be aquino’s man.  surely there’s something not right about that.

googled it and found this from todd e. pettys, university of iowa college of law:

After identifying the original rationales for our longstanding tradition of permitting the President and Senate to decide which of the Court’s nine members will serve as Chief Justice, I argue that those rationales are anachronistic, that the tradition creates unnecessary conflicts of interest and separation-of-powers concerns, and that the Court’s members should be permitted to decide for themselves which of them will serve as Chief Justice.

way to go.  or we’ll never have a truly independent judiciary.


  1. angie,
    a collegial body voting among its peers will create a “boys club” which might be an independent judiciary but will ultimately serve not in the best interest of the people in the long run just you have feared that a GMA Court will turn in be a Pinoy court if appointed by the Pinoy and his legislative allies.

  2. manuelbuencamino

    Parang mali yata yun 2 for 1 argument: “Two for 1. Appointing a CJ from among the associate justices allows PNoy to appoint 2 to the SC instead of just 1 if he appoints someone from the outside. An outsider can be appointed to the SC immediately after one from the SC is appointed CJ.”

    15 lang ang justices, 1 CJ and 14 associate justices. Corona’s impeachment leaves 14 justices so PNoy can only appoint 1 justice.

    Pnoy won’t be appointing 2 to the SC. He will be making 2 appointments, one promoting an insider to CJ and the other to make the SC 15 justices.

  3. Ferrum Mann

    De Castro? No effin way! She was first appointed to a special court created to ensure Erap’s conviction. Having done the little queen a favor, she was appointed SC Justice. Who says she’s independent? No baggage?

  4. manuelbuencamino

    PNoy has not submitted any nominees. He wants De Lima and Henares to remain in their position because he believes they are doing a good job right where they are. PNoy will choose from the JBC short-list. I think that’s a good call. He cannot be accused of packing the court.

    But being passive can also have negative consequences. The JBC is not exactly famous for being upright and independent. So if PNoy does not express any preference for CJ then someone or someones will surely fill the vacuum.

    The problem really is there are people who will always find fault with whatever PNoy does.
    Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t, ika nga. Maybe he will just say f**k you to everyone and appoint Miriam :-)

  5. baycas

    With Hon. Hermosisima at the JBC helm, I suggest Acting Chief Justice Carpio to stay put in the JBC to unseat Hermosisima who is already on his 15th year in the JBC.

    If Carpio chooses ambition over his JBC task, he must convene the SC en banc to find a replacement for him. The SC en banc’s authority is higher than him. The JBC is under the supervision of the SC.

    Re: de Lima, she’d better do her chore at JBC or resign as DOJ Sec so her successor will do the JBC task. After all, 8 heads are better than 6 in coming up with the short list especially that 2 politicians are included.


    I prefer a nominee in the short list to include someone coming from the ranks of judges…someone who originated from an underrepresented region, Visayas or Mindanao.

    • baycas

      My operational definition of an “insider” is one that originated from the Judiciary ranks.

      Thus, among the 5 incumbent SC Justices who were automatically nominated to the CJ post on account of their seniority (namely: Acting CJ Carpio, J. Velasco, J. Leonardo-de Castro, J. Brion, and J. Peralta) only J. Diosdado M. Peralta “has risen from the ranks of the judges” (to borrow Ma’am Raissa’s words).

      Well, even though there is one among the 5 incumbent SC Justices who is an insider to me, I wouldn’t want him to be part of the short list. Choosing someone presently sitting as SC Justice will only leave a vacancy for the President to fill up.

      I prefer an “insider” (from the ranks of judges) but an “outsider” (not an incumbent SC Justice).

      Appointing the rightful Chief Justice is enough for P.Noy and it has long been delayed, almost two years, making the total 15 = 1 CJ, 14 AJs.

      Another appointment for an Associate Justice could probably wait.

  6. baycas


    Over at Ellenville, someone said…

    Sa panahon ni Aquino, hindi na uso ang endorsement. Ibinalik ang matrix system ng search committee at mas nililigwak ang sinomang magsubmit ng “endorsement” ng politicians.

    – Oblak – June 14, 2012 7:29 pm
    Sa panahon din ni Aquino, may actual background check ang search committee sa mga applicants without the applicants knowing it. An applicant will be subjected to quality control by the NBI before an NBI clearance is issued.

    – Oblak – June 14, 2012 7:41 pm

    So, may reform pala sa JBC.

    According to PCIJ in May 2011…

    Knowing more about those who would be jurists or Ombudsman is a first step, he says, for citizens “to be more concerned about the quality and diversity” of the courts.To be sure, Gatmaytan affirms that the JBC’s public interviews afford the citizens a chance to see and listen to the nominees. But these forums also have become no different from the sneak previews or trailers that are shown in movie theaters, with the citizens allowed only to watch in silence.This is because during the interviews, only the eight JBC members can ask questions. And while the proceedings are documented in writing, cameras and tape recorders are banned, and live TV and radio coverage disallowed.And although the interviews are open to the public, Gatmaytan says those who have attended the events have raised some observations: the questions are not probing enough, and the interviews seem to be rushed, especially when the JBC has to deal with so many nominees racing after the same plum positions.

    So, what would you like to ask the “chief justiciable”???

    And, the JBC members better ask your questions!!!

    • baycas

      From Raissa Robles:

      Justice Roberto A. Abad – His long-time boss was Solicitor General (OSG) Estelito Mendoza. Justice Abad joined the OSG in 1975. Estelito Mendoza was OSG head from 1972 to 1986. Mendoza was the lawyer of Lucio Tan who succeeded in getting the SC to dramatically reverse itself on the FASAP case  on October 4, 2011.