ISSUE ON NEXT SC CHIEF SHOULD NOT BE DIRECTED VS GMA - LAWYER
MANILA, FEBRUARY 5, 2010 (STAR) By Paolo Romero - President Arroyo’s lawyer Romulo Macalintal claimed yesterday that the chief executive could violate the provision of the Constitution that mandates her to fill any vacancy in the Supreme Court within 90 days of its occurrence if she does not appoint the next chief justice.
Macalintal said the issue on the appointment of the successor of Chief Justice Reynato Puno, who retires on May 17, should not be directed against Mrs. Arroyo but to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which nominates candidates to the Court.
Macalintal issued the statement as Supreme Court Associate Justice Renato Corona accepted the nomination as chief justice.
He, however, said such statement does not mean Corona was a shoo-in for the post after Associate Justices Antonio Carpio and Conchita Carpio-Morales also accepted their nominations but on the condition that the next president makes the appointment.
He said while the 90-day period will lapse on Aug. 17 or when the new president is just over a month in office, the JBC has yet to be constituted since some of its members, including representatives from the Senate and the House of Representatives, have yet to assume their posts in the panel.
He said there is an “imperative need” for Mrs. Arroyo to appoint Puno’s successor since the post cannot be left vacant for so long a time.
“I think the issue should be with the JBC not with the President because without the JBC, it would be hard for her to appoint the next chief justice,” Macalintal said.
“Why place the heat on the President? If there are no political intramurals like now, that should be a non-issue,” he said.
He said the JBC is empowered to make nominations despite the ban against midnight appointments and Mrs. Arroyo may or may not act on its nominations.
Macalintal said once the JBC submits a shortlist of nominees for chief justice, it already implies that Mrs. Arroyo can appoint the new chief magistrate.
Dismissed judge applies for chief justice
A judge who was dismissed for alleged mental problems has filed his application for the post of chief justice.
Former judge and lawyer Florentino Floro Jr. filed yesterday his application at the JBC.
In an interview, Floro said he decided to apply for the top post in the judiciary because the number of applicants is not enough to satisfy the law, which provides for at least three applicants for the post.
Floro, 56, graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Laws from the Ateneo Law School and placed 12th in the 1983 Bar examinations with a grade of 87.55 percent.
When he was applying for judge in 1995, he was rejected after the Clinic Services of the Supreme Court found “evidence of ego disintegration” and “developing psychotic process.”
But due to his impressive academic records, Floro was appointed a regional trial court judge in Metro Manila and began work in November 1998. – With Edu Punay
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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