Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio is not at all bothered of losing his chance to become permanent Supreme Court (SC) chief justice because of his advocacy of defending the country in its territorial dispute with China.
Carpio is the most senior associate justice of the SC and is set to retire in October 2019 making him the strongest candidate to replace ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. By tradition, the most senior justices of the High Court vie for the top magistrate’s post.
However, the decision on who to be appointed as the next High Court chief justice still rests with the President, in this case, President Rodrigo Duterte. Carpio and Duterte do not see eye to eye when it comes to dealing with China.
Last year, Duterte criticized Carpio for insisting that the Philippines should invoke the arbitral ruling against China.
During the 119th anniversary celebration of the Philippine Navy, Duterte said “these stupid government [officials], they keep on egging me on the arbitral ruling. They said, ‘What are you doing on the arbitral [ruling]?’”
“Carpio keeps on harping [on South China Sea ruling]. Son of a b****, he did not do anything before. So he wants me to go to the UN (United Nations) for the enforcement [of the ruling],” Duterte added as he insisted that if the country goes to war against China, the country will lose.
During his interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source, Carpio was asked about the possibility that he might not become chief justice because of his advocacy, he said “that’s beside the point.”