The online news portal of TV5
The Constitution cannot be more clear that only men and women of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence are qualified to sit on the nation’s highest court, but it's a pity that the framers never thought to regard ambition as a quality ill-suited for a Chief Justice.
Ambition as a vice should be parsed differently from aspiration as a virtue: when one holds oneself up for comparison to an idea higher than oneself, such produces aspiration. Ambition arises when one estimates oneself according to lowered a standard which, as Marcus Aurelius, the last of Rome's "good emperors," said, is the way a vulgar man aspires.
The office of the Chief Justice represents the pinnacle of every lawyer's career, and while many apply, only one is chosen. Some sectors say that the country's highest-ranking jurist must be "pro-people" and a "champion of human rights." It is easy enough to agree with this in the abstract and, quite frankly, anyone can claim to be pro-people in the same manner that they can also claim to be honest, incorruptible and fair. So while abstractions such as "rectif[ying]" the separation of powers and "not be[ing] oblivious to social realities and the public interest" may extend the discussion, they lead to nowhere useful or concrete.
Taking our lessons from the Corona impeachment, it should be clear that a candidate's competence, integrity, probity and independence are qualities not only to be proven prior to appointment but are to be demonstrated after assuming office and during.
We agree that the Chief Justice must be a figure who inspires the people's trust and confidence, and to do so, he or she must lead by example. Current events show us that history is taking the Court to the direction of transparency, accountability and independence, and if words are to be backed up by deeds, the new Chief Justice must commit to, among others:
By no means is this list final and exclusive. The successor to Renato C. Corona will find a lot to improve, if such a one has the aspiration for it.