Philippine supreme court finalizes chief justice appointment

19:00, April 20, 2010      

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The Philippine government is "gratified" by the Supreme Court decision to uphold with finality its earlier ruling to allow President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to appoint the successor of Chief Justice Reynato Puno, who retires on May 17, Philippine officials said on Tuesday.

"We are gratified by the High Court's reaffirmation of its original ruling, and we hope that the rest of the process of selecting the next Chief Justice-so essential for institutional stability especially in an election year-can now proceed without further entanglements in the sordid agendas of campaign politics," Gary Olivar, a deputy presidential spokesperson said in a statement.

Rogelio Peyuan, another deputy presidential spokesperson, said in a news briefing that Arroyo will abide by the Supreme Court's decision.

"We'll always presume that the president will exercise her authority in accordance with law," Peyuan said.

The Philippine Supreme Court denied on Tuesday with finality the appeal to reverse its March 17 ruling allowing Arroyo to appoint the next chief justice.

The court ruled that the selection of Supreme Court justices is not covered by the election period ban, which prohibits an incumbent president from making appointments two months before an election and until his or her term expires.

Applied this year, the election ban started on March 10 and will last until the end of Arroyo's term on June 30. The general elections will be held on May 10.

Several motions were filed asking the Supreme Court to reconsider its March 17 decision. But the court upheld the ruling with a vote of nine for, and one against, local newspaper Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on its website on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the newspaper reported that the supreme court has directed the Judicial and Bar Council to submit the list of nominees for the chief justice post, underscoring that it is mandatory for the council to submit the list of nominees to the president.

Source: Xinhua


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