Soon-to-retire Carpio declines automatic nomination to Chief Justice post

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 20) — Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Tuesday declined his automatic nomination as Supreme Court Chief Justice. 

After 18 years in the Supreme Court, he is set to retire on his 70th birthday on October 26, just 8 days after the retirement of Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin on October 18.

"Yes I am declining because there are only 8 days left from the vacancy to my compulsory retirement," he said in a text message to reporters.

According to the rules of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which screens applicants to the judiciary, the five most senior associate justices are automatically nominated to the post, but they have to formally accept their nomination.

Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa also declined the automatic Chief Justice post nomination. On Monday, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen declined the nomination as the top court's next chief justice.

Associate Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Diosdado Peralta have accepted their automatic nominations. The JBC set the deadline for applications and acceptance of nomination today.

Under the JBC's rules, applicants will undergo comprehensive medical examinations, psychological evaluation, written evaluative examinations, and public interviews. An applicant should obtain the affirmative vote of at least four members of the JBC to be considered for nomination.

The JBC will then submit to President Rodrigo Duterte at least three nominees for him to choose from.

This is the third time Duterte is naming a chief magistrate, following the historic ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno. Bersamin took over the post in November 2018 after the short stint of Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, who replaced Sereno.