Philippines chief justice search gathers pace
Philippines President Benigno Aquino has begun the interview process to appoint a new chief justice following the removal of Renata Corona, who was convicted by a senate impeachment court in May.
According to a report in the Philippine Star, two of the eight nominees on a shortlist submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) have been personally interviewed by the president. The 90-day period for the appointment of a new chief justice expires on 27 August.
Sources suggest the two interviewed so far are former San Juan congressman Ronaldo Zamora -- a former colleague of President Aquino in the House of Representatives -- and Supreme Court Justice Arturo Brion.
The other six nominees in the JBC shortlist are acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, fellow justices Roberto Abad, Teresita de Castro, Lourdes Sereno, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza and former Ateneo law dean Cesar Villanueva.
According to the report, a spokesman for the president described the interviews as confidential, and that a decision would not be made until the 27 August deadline. ‘As a standard procedure, he [President Aquino] takes the opportunity to meet with the applicants,’ said the spokesman.
President Aquino had already made it clear that chief justice nominee Justice Secretary Leila de Lima was his first choice, but she was disqualified because of two disbarment complaints filed against her.
Meanwhile, veteran pundit Amando Doronila endorsed acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio to take the role permanently. He wrote in the Philippine Daily Inquirer – reported on the Business Mirror web site: ‘In his 11 years as associate justice, Mr Carpio has established a record as a brilliant jurist, but more significant than that is that he has earned the reputation for being fiercely independent — something the court badly needs but the president may not always welcome.’