SC decision allowing GMA to appoint next Chief Justice (G. R. No. 191002)
Posted by akosistella on March 17, 2010
“For sure, the framers intended the position of Chief Justice to be permanent, not one to be occupied in an acting or temporary capacity. In relation to the scheme of things under the present Constitution, Section 12 of the Judiciary Act of 1948 only responds to a rare situation in which the new Chief Justice is not yet appointed, or in which the incumbent Chief Justice is unable to perform the duties and powers of the office. It ought to be remembered, however, that it was enacted because the Chief Justice appointed under the 1935 Constitution was subject to the confirmation of the Commission on Appointments, and the confirmation process might take longer than expected.
“The appointment of the next Chief Justice by the incumbent President is preferable to having the Associate Justice who is first in precedence take over. Under the Constitution, the heads of the Legislative and Executive Departments are popularly elected, and whoever are elected and proclaimed at once become the leaders of their respective Departments. However, the lack of any appointed occupant of the office of Chief Justice harms the independence of the Judiciary, because the Chief Justice is the head of the entire Judiciary. The Chief Justice performs functions absolutely significant to the life of the nation. With the entire Supreme Court being the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, the Chief Justice is the Chairman of the Tribunal. There being no obstacle to the appointment of the next Chief Justice, aside from its being mandatory for the incumbent President to make within the 90-day period from May 17, 2010, there is no justification to insist that the successor of Chief Justice Puno be appointed by the next President.”
Click SC jurisprudence.
THE DISSENTING OPINION:
“As a member of the Court, I strongly take exception to the ponencia’s implication that the Court cannot function without a sitting Chief Justice.
To begin with, judicial power is vested in one Supreme Court and not in its individual members, much less in the Chief Justice alone. Notably, after Chief Justice Puno retires, the Court will have 14 members left, which is more than sufficient to constitute a quorum.
The fundamental principle in the system of laws recognizes that there is only one Supreme Court from whose decisions all other courts are required to take their bearings. While most of the Court’s work is performed by its three divisions, the Court remains one court — single, unitary, complete and supreme. Flowing from this is the fact that, while individual justices may dissent or only partially concur, when the Court states what the law is, it speaks with only one voice.”