MANILA, Philippines – Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio faced the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) Thursday, July 26, and said his edge over an outsider is his knowledge and understanding of the reforms needed in the judiciary.
Carpio also addressed questions related to the law firm he co-founded, the CVC Law, and how he can assure the public that, if appointed chief justice, the firm would not again enjoy the kind of power that it enjoyed in the past.
The CVC law helped in the presidential campaigns and administrations of two presidents – Fidel Ramos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Carpio served as Ramos’ presidential legal counsel and was named to the SC by Mrs Arroyo in 2001.
On the bench, Carpio voted against both presidents, however. He cited in particular the people’s initiative to amend the Constitution under the Arroyo administration (2006) that pushed for a parliamentary form of government, which he ruled against.
Carpio also publicly admitted for the first time that Ramos had wanted to push for Charter change during his term, and that as his legal counsel he opposed it. “I also opposed [the Charter-change campaign of] Ramos. The Constitution should not be amended for the sake of Ramos.”
Under Arroyo, he maintained the same opposition to an apparently rushed Charter-change campaign. “If i wanted to be chief justice then, I could have voted for the Cha-cha (Charter change). That was a turning point in our history. We could have become a parliamentary form. I’m not looking at this for myself. I have so much respect for the Constitution.”
If the Constitution has to be amended, it has to be done properly, according to Carpio. If it is through people’s initiative, the people who signed a petition for Charter change should have first read the provisions that the campaign was seeking to amend. This was not the case in the people’s initiative under Arroyo, he said.
“I was in law school during martial law,” when the Constitution ceased to take effect, Carpio recalled. “I questioned whether I should still be a lawyer. And thats why I persevered [to protect the Constitution].”
Asked about his ties to his law firm, Carpio said: “I have inhibited in all the cases of my former law office. I continue to inhibit.” Carpio said he has never lobbied with any of the justices. “You can ask any of them. I don’t even visit them in their chambers. I have never visited the chamber of Justice [Diosdado] Peralta.” Peralta is the presiding officer of the JBC.
Critics have accused Carpio and the CVC law of influence peddling and cutting deals within the judiciary, especially during the Ramos and Arroyo governments, thus the tag name “The Firm,” in reference to a John Grisham novel about a power-tripping, dishonest law firm.
JBC member and Iloilo Rep Niel Tupas Jr asked Carpio about the impeachment trial of dismissed Chief Justice Renato Corona and his silence over allegations that he was part of the plot to remove him from office.
“I maintained my silence for several reasons. There were pending cases on the impeachment. I take a long-term view of these things. All these accusations will be exposed as false because I know they’re not true,” Carpio said. “I was accused as one of those who schemed… that I was scheming with President Aquino and Secretary Mar Roxas. I never talked to these people.”
Not PNoy’s choice
Then the Acting Chief Justice dropped two lines that made the audience laugh. “In fact what they’re saying is I’m not close to the President [and that's why] I won’t be appointed.” [...]
Read the full story >> Carpio: I chose to respect Charter at the expense of CJ post
- – - – - – - – - – - – - -
Carpio: I will respect Noy’s decision on CJ post
Source: The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Thursday said he will respect the decision of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III if an outsider will be appointed as chief justice.
Carpio told the Judicial and Bar Council on Thursday that the president has the prerogative to appoint the candidate that Aquino thinks is the best for the post.
“Tradition and wisdom [dictate] that you appoint somebody senior from the staff, but there are pros and cons here. People expect that you appoint from the inside, but again I want to emphasize the president can appoint anyone from the list of the JBC. I’m the first to respect the Constitution,” Carpio said.
Although he said he would have resigned from the chief justice post if he had misdeclared his statements of assets, liabilities and networth “to that extent”, Carpio denied insinuations that he was among those who plotted to oust Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Also, despite perceptions that the impeachment trial of Corona damaged the reputation of the judiciary, Carpio said he did not see the proceedings as an “affront” to the judiciary.
“That is part of the checking mechanism, part of our democracy. We can’t complain [about the impeachment trial because the ] Constitution authorizes it,” he said.
If he is appointed chief justice, Carpio said he would lead the judiciary to be “fair, honest and efficient.”
Carpio also said under his leadership at the SC, he initiated a reform that paved the way for the SC to prepare checks for utilities of courts in the provinces and deposit them directly to bank accounts of these firms instead of giving these checks to clerks of courts. He said the SC had to dismiss a number of clerks of courts for running away with the court’s funds.