Arroyo can name next Chief Justice, says SC

Puno designates Carpio acting Chief Justice

MANILA, Philippines—Reinterpreting the constitutional provision against an outgoing president’s so-called midnight appointments, the Supreme Court Wednesday gave President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the authority to appoint the next Chief Justice.

Nine of the 15 justices voted to allow Ms Arroyo, who steps down from office on June 30, to appoint the successor of Chief Justice Reynato Puno, who retires on May 17. According to the nine, Section 15 Article VII that prohibits midnight appointments does not apply to the Supreme Court.

The high court ordered the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to submit the short list of nominees for Chief Justice to Malacañang “on or before May 17.” But it did not say whether Ms Arroyo could appoint Puno’s successor before the vacancy occurs.

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