‘Nothing to do with politics’
I think that the appointment of Teresita Leonardo de Castro as chief justice has nothing to do with politics or personal choice by the appointing authority. It was necessitated more by practical considerations than the common reasons offered by public conjecture.
President Duterte was given by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) a very limited choice, composed only of senior justices, from which to choose the next chief justice. If he wanted to have another shot at appointing someone he preferred, he must appoint the nominee who would retire the earliest, so that the constitutional process of JBC nomination and recommendation will roll again the soonest.
So choosing De Castro, who serves for only less than two months, is not an entirely unwise decision as some quarters would like us to believe, but one moved by necessity and convenience on the part of the President.
Mr. Duterte will again have that opportunity to select from a new set of JBC nominees after Oct. 8, 2018, when De Castro sheds her primus inter pares robe for good.
ALVIN T. CLARIDADES faculty member, PUP College of Law
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.