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MANILA, Philippines - Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who was among the senator-judges who voted for the conviction and removal from office of Chief Justice Renato Corona, is against the appoinment of Antonio Carpio as chief magistrate.
Estrada said that if ever President Benigno Aquino asks him to become Corona's successor, the associte justice should decline the offer.
"I don't have anything against Justice Carpio pero delicadeza states, huwag n'ya nang tanggapin kung saka-sakaling i-appoint s'ya ni Presidente...Parang hindi magandang tingnan," Estrada said on Friday in a radio interview.
[I don't have anything against Justice Carpio but out of delicadeza he should not accept if the President decideds to appoint him. It looks inappropriate]
Napakaganda kay Justice Carpio kung sabihin niyang I'm not interested in that position [It would be very good for him if Justice Carpio would say that I'm not interested in the position] ," added Estrada.
Last February, Corona asked Carpio, the most senior member of the high tribunal, not to participate in the hearing of a petition to stop the impeachment trial in the Senate against the chief justice.
Corona said that Carpio, his fiercest rival in the top Supreme Court post, had been critical of him.
Meanwhile, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano urged the Aquino administration to capitalize on the gains achieved by the Corona impeachment trial by striving to set a higher standard of transparency and accountability with the selection of a new Chief Justice whose integrity is beyond reproach.
“The trial of Chief Justice Corona is already over but the campaign for a higher standard of transparency and accountability in the government has only just begun,” he said.
The senator urged government officials, members of civil societies and the stakeholders in the judiciary to sustain the momentum for major reforms in government as he emphasized that people’s active participation is the key to real check and balance in government.
“As a nation, we should learn from the lessons and experiences we’ve shared during the impeachment trial in our continuing struggle not only to rid the system of graft and corruption that has become endemic in our society but to achieve equality in the eyes of law,” he said.
The Senate minority leader pointed out that the first step in achieving this goal is for the nation to urge President Aquino to appoint a well-respected Chief Justice who enjoys high moral ascendancy in the judiciary and the legal profession.
“The Chief Justice stands for the foremost government institution tasked with the duty of upholding justice in the land. He or she should be seen as a personification of justice itself,” he said.
Also, Cayetano reiterated his call to the President to require his appointees to sign waivers allowing their bank accounts to be placed under scrutiny if an official investigation involving the public servant warrants it.
“In the spirit of transparency and accountability, this process should be made the protocol in all government offices. Our search for truth and accountability must not be derailed simply because bank accounts cannot be scrutinized,” he said.
He pointed out that the impeachment trial should serve as the starting point for the government to start working on reforms needed by the judiciary.
“We need to eradicate the cancer in our society – different standards of justice for the poor and rich. What applies to the poor must also apply to the rich. Everyone must follow the rule of law, if not then none at all,” he said.