After months of heated debate all over the country, the Supreme Court has finally spoken – President Arroyo is not prohibited by the Constitution to appoint the next Chief Justice of the Philippines (see Arturo M. De Castro Vs. Judicial and Bar Council, et al., G.R. No. 191002, G.R. No. 191032, G.R. No. 191057, A.M. No. 10-2-5-SC, G.R. No. 191149, G.R. No. 191342, March 17, 2010).
According to the Supreme Court, President Arroyo can appoint the successor of Chief Justice Puno upon his retirement on May 17, 2010 since the constitutional prohibition against presidential appointments during the two month period before a presidential election does not extend to appointments in the Judiciary.
Many of our readers will likely be surprised with the ruling. In the poll we conducted among Lexoterica readers during the past several weeks, 78% believe that the President cannot legally appoint the next Chief Justice. Only 19% believe that the President can legally do so. For the rest, they “don’t know”.
Have your views changed given the Supreme Court’s ruling? Let us know by voting at our new poll. To help you decide, here is a link to the majority opinion penned by Justice Bersamin, the dissenting opinion of Justice Carpio Morales, the separate opinion of Justice Brion and the separate opinion of Justice Nachura.