Supreme Court: GMA can appoint next Chief Justice

March 18, 2010

In a 9-1-3 decision, the Supreme Court declared yesterday that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo can appoint the next Chief Justice upon retirement of Chief Justice Reynato Puno on May 17, 2010.

The Decision stemmed from the question on whether an incumbent President can appoint Chief Justice Puno’s successor, considering that Section 15, Article VII (Executive Department) of the Constitution prohibits the President from making appointments within two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of her termexcept temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety.

In its Decision, the Supreme Court, speaking through Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin held that the prohibition against presidential appointments under Section 15, Article VII does not extend to appointments in the Judiciary.

The Court ratiocinated that “Article VIII is dedicated to the Judicial Department and defines the duties and qualifications of Members of the Supreme Court, among others. Section 4(1) and Section 9 of this Article are the provisions specifically providing for the appointment of Supreme Court Justices. In particular, Section 9 states that the appointment of Supreme Court Justices can only be made by the President upon the submission of a list of at least three nominees by the JBC; Section 4(1) of the Article mandates the President to fill the vacancy within 90 days from the occurrence of the vacancy.

Had the framers intended to extend the prohibition contained in Section 15, Article VII to the appointment of Members of the Supreme Court, they could have explicitly done so. They could not have ignored the meticulous ordering of the provisions. They would have easily and surely written the prohibition made explicit in Section 15, Article VII as being equally applicable to the appointment of Members of the Supreme Court in Article VIII itself, most likely in Section 4 (1), Article VIII. That such specification was not done only reveals that the prohibition against the President or Acting President making appointments within two months before the next presidential elections and up to the end of the President’s or Acting President’s term does not refer to the Members of the Supreme Court.”

 Click on this link to read a full copy of the Decision.

One Response to “Supreme Court: GMA can appoint next Chief Justice”

  1. Uhmm isn’t there a principle that “When a law does not distinguish, the court should not distinguish” panu yung po rung principle na yun?

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