MANILA, Philippines – President Arroyo will appoint a new Chief Justice before she steps down in June despite objections from several quarters.
“What’s clear and what should be made clear is that the President will do what is required of her, not only by law, but by overriding national interest, and right now it’s clear that it is in the national interest not to have such an important position vacated for such a long period of time,” deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar said.
He was referring to a scenario of a Supreme Court (SC) without a chief justice from Reynato Puno’s retirement on May 17 to the end of Mrs. Arroyo’s term on June 30.
“It seems to me that acting in the national interest would require that she make the proper action as far as recommending the next chief justice,” Olivar said of the President’s determination to appoint Puno’s replacement before her term ends.
He said that barring an unfavorable ruling from the SC, Mrs. Arroyo “will do what is needed for the national interest and required of her by her office.”
Olivar said those opposed to the President’s appointment of Puno’s replacement have politicized the issue.
He said the detractors should raise the matter to the SC to settle the issue once and for all.