Philippine outgoing president appoints new chief justice amid controversy

15:55, May 12, 2010      

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Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who will end her presidential term on June 30, has appointed Supreme Court Associate Justice Renato C. Corona to replace Chief Justice Reynato Puno when the latter retires on May 17, presidential palace Malacanang announced on Wednesday.

"The President(Arroyo) has chosen Supreme Court Associate Justice Renato Corona to be the next Chief Justice when incumbent Chief Justice Reynato Puno retires May 17. Justice Corona is the most senior SC justices among the four nominees of the Judicial and Bar Council(JBC)," presidential spokesperson Ricardo Saludo said in a statement.

The other JBC nominees are Supreme Court Associate Justices Teresita J. Leonardo de Castro and Arturo D. Brion, and acting Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Edilberto G. Sandoval.

Saludo said that Corona would assume his new post upon Puno's retirement.

Asked to comment on the threat of Sen. Benigno Aquino III, who is leading in the presidental race of the 2010 General Elections, that he will seek clarification on whether the appointment of the new Chief Justice is only in an acting capacity, Saludo stressed that Corona's appointment will not be in an acting capacity.

"He(Corona) will take over when Puno is no longer Chief Justice. No need to be acting. We expect all officials to respect the Supreme Court ruling that President Arroyo can appoint the next Chief Justice," he said.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Gary Olivar noted that "the permanent appointment of Justice Corona is supported by the High Court's recent decision as well as by judicial precedent and necessity and Corona 's own seniority and credentials."


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