MANILA, Philippines – The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has started the application process for the replacement of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, retiring in October and September respectively.
The JBC has announced the opening on its website with details on how to apply.
Carpio will retire on October 26, while Jardeleza on September 26.
Carpio will retire as a Senior Associate Justice, the only magistrate in the current Court with such rank. Despite his seniority, he has been bypassed thrice for the chief justiceship, the most recent being Duterte's choice to appoint Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin. (READ: Justice Antonio Carpio: Forever the No. 2)
Bersamin will retire ahead of Carpio – on October 19 – which will start another selection process for a top magistrate.
With Carpio, Jardeleza and Bersamin leaving, there would only be 4 justices on the 15-man bench who are not appointees of President Rodrigo Duterte. They are Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, appointed by former president Gloria Arroyo; and Associate Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic Leonen and Benjamin Caguioa, all appointed by former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.
The JBC is currently screening 23 applicants to replace Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo, who will retire on July 29.
Carpio is expected to participate in the upcoming oral arguments on a Writ of Kalikasan petition that accuses the Duterte government of neglecting Philippine maritime rights in the West Philippine Sea.
The oral arguments come at a time that the West Philippine Sea Issue has intensely heated up with the sinking of a Philippine fishing vessel in the Recto Bank, where Philippines enjoys exclusive sovereign rights.
Duterte has echoed statements of China, which has already admitted that it was a Chinese vessel that hit the Filipino boat.
Duterte recently called Carpio “stupid” for the latter’s statement that allowing China to operate within Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is unconstitutional.
The oral arguments will be held on July 2. – Rappler.com