Press Release
January 13, 2010


Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said yesterday President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo can appoint the new chief justice after the retirement of incumbent Chief Justice Renato Puno.

In an interview with reporters, Enrile said that the President can appoint the new chief justice even without the nomination of the Judicial and Bar Council if the appointee comes from among the 14 other justices in the Supreme Court.

Enrile said that the nomination by the JBC is necessary only if the appointee shall come from outside the Supreme Court.

A lawyer and a former secretary of justice, Enrile made the statement in view of the controversy arising from the upcoming retirement of CJ Puno on May 17, 45 days before the end of President Arroyo's term.

Former Senate President Franklin Drilon said Mrs. Arroyo could not appoint the successor to CJ Puno because of a Supreme Court ruling that the President "was neither required nor allowed" to make appointments to the Court during the last 90 days of her or his term.

According to Enrile, the ban on the President making appointments exists only during the period 60 days before the elections.

Enrile said that it was imperative that the President should not delay the appointment of the chief justice because the Supreme Court will have to compose itself into an electoral tribunal to settle election disputes after the holding of the elections.

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