Rappler file photo
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Supreme Court (SC) en banc has designated Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio as Acting Chief Justice as Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno went on indefinite leave beginning Thursday, March 1.
SC spokesman Theodore Te made the announcement in a news briefing where he read the statement of 13 justices that the indefinite leave of Sereno was the "consensus" of the SC en banc on Tuesday, February 27.
"The Court En Banc considers Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno to be on an indefinite leave starting March 1, 2018. Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio shall be the Acting ChiefJustice," the statement read.
Carpio has been designated as acting chief justice in the past.
Then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed Carpio to the High Tribunal in 2001. (READ: Antonio Carpio: The man on the bench)
Carpio will preside over the succeeding en banc sessions. He will also be the acting chair of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) and the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).
Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro assumes chairmanship of the First Division while Sereno is on leave.
Under Rule 7, Section 6 (c) of the SC’s internal rules, “members who are on wellness leave or who are on vacation or sick leave for at least 15 continuous calendar days shall be exempt from raffle."
The First Division is left to De Castro as acting chair and members Associate Justices Mariano del Castillo, Francis Jardeleza, and Noel Tijam.
According to Section 4 of Rule 8, there is no need to replace a member on leave as long as there is a quorum of at least 3 members.
Under Section 4 of Rule 12, “a member who goes on leave or is unable to attend the voting on any decision, resolution or matter may leave his or her vote in writing, addressed to the Chief Justice or the Division Chairpoerson, and the vote shall be counted, provided that he or she took part in the deliberation.”
Sereno’s spokesperson Jojo Lacanilao stressed that Sereno is only on leave.
“Even now that she is on wellness/indefinite leave, she remains the Chief Justice of the Philippines. So, let’s all be clear about that,” Lacanilao said. – Rappler.com