MANILA - Supreme Court (SC) Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio downplayed rumors that there is a divide within the 14 magistrates of the high tribunal stemming from the 'unwelcome' appointment of former junior Associate Justice and now Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Speaking to reporters at the sidelines of the awarding ceremonies of the 2012 Search for Outstanding Judges and Clerks of Court at the Manila Hotel, Carpio said his consistent non-attendance, along with the other senior magistrates, at the SC Monday flag rites should not be misconstrued for anything other than a personal choice of the justices.
Carpio, the most senior among the justices in the running for the post vacated by Chief Justice Renato Corona following the latter's removal from office by the Senate Impeachment Court, said the public should focus more on how decisions are arrived at by the entire court, and how these decisions impact on them.
"Dont look at that (non-attendance of justices in flag rites) too much, you [should] look at the decisions at the end of the day... it's up to you if you want to put color to it, but at the end of the day, it's how you vote on issues," he said.
Asked point blank if he supports Sereno, Carpio said: "We support her as the Chief Justice."
It was, however, noticeable, that Sereno and Carpio did not shake hands upon the former's entrance into the Centennial Hall, the venue for the awarding ceremony. They, however, acknowledged each other's presence.
Sereno, the 3rd most junior magistrate, bypassed 11 more senior magistrates in her appointment to the top judicial post.