No case on chief justice row, nothing for SC to decide – Gibo

By Dateline Philippines

Unless a case is filed, the Supreme Court (SC) cannot decide on whether President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo can appoint a replacement for Chief Justice Reynato Puno, who is retiring when an election ban on the naming of new officials will bin effect, administration candidate Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said in San Fernando, La Union on Saturday.

“Is there a case? There’s no case. The Supreme Court cannot decide if there is no case and if there is no controversy. Right now there is no controversy or case for the SC to decide,” Teodoro said in an interview.

Teodoro, a bar topnotcher, was asked to comment on the statement of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) that it has yet to decide when to submit the shortlist of candidates to replace Puno and that the SC should decide if Arroyo can make the appointment despite the election ban.

Puno will retire on May 17. The elections ban on appointments starts on March 10, two months before the May 10 elections, and lasts until June 30, the end of Arroyo’s term.

As head of the JBC, Puno earlier said he would not take part in the body’s deliberations.

Teodoro said the SC makes decisions based on actual cases and “does not make advisory opinions.”

“So if there is no controversy, there is nothing to decide,” he said.

He reiterated that Arroyo should not appoint a chief justice unless the position is vacant.

“I have said that the vacancy will occur in May. If there is no vacancy, no appointment, so I do not think the President should appoint the CJ,” he said.

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