By Jeffrey Damicog
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) hopes the appointment of Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro would start a trend that only senior justices of the high tribunal will only get picked as top magistrate.
On the other hand, IBP National President Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo admitted that the organization does not like President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision in picking de Castro as chief justice.
“While on the one hand she faces ethical questions considering that she is succeeding a CJ (chief justice) she helped remove, on the other hand we are hoping that this starts a trend that will weigh heavily in favor of seniority as a tradition,” Fajardo said in a statement.
“Seniority means predictability in the appointment of the CJ and helps avoid unhealthy jockeying and wrangling that the new CJ will assert judicial independence and help protect the SC’s progeny–the lawyers, who of late have been under attack,” he added.
De Castro is one of the eight SC justices who voted to grant the quo warranto petition which resulted in the ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice.
Fajardo said the IBP would have preferred SC Associate Justice Antonio Carpio taking the mantle as the country’s top magistrate.
“We maintain that the removal of CJ Sereno was unconstitutional,” he pointed out.
“But faced with a vacancy, we nominated Senior Justice Antonio Carpio on account of his seniority in the Court. Unfortunately, he declined the nomination,” he lamented.
De Castro was picked after having bested two other senior justices of the SC in the shortlist submitted to Duterte.
The other two in the shortlist are Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta and Lucas Bersamin, both of whom also voted for the ouster of Sereno.