MANILA, Philippines - Supreme Court justice Renato Corona has agreed to be part of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) nominees to replace retiring Chief Justice Reynato Puno.
Supreme Court spokesman Midas Marquez said Corona has written the JBC, the council that vets nominees to the Supreme Court, expressing his interest to be part of the list of candidates for new Chief Justice.
Corona said he will leave it up to the JBC to decide when to submit its list to the President in light of a legal controversy over whether the JBC should submit its list due to the presidential appointment ban provided under the Constitution.
Under the Charter, a president is barred from issuing permanent appointments two months before a presidential election and until the end of his or her term.
However, some legal quarters say a president may fill up vacancies in the Supreme Court even during the appointments ban, but it must come from a list given by the JBC.
Puno is retiring on May 17. The appointment ban starts March 17 and ends June 30.
The deadline for submission of nominees for new Chief Justice is Thursday, February 4.
Corona is believed to be President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's bet for Chief Justice.
He has consistently followed Malacañang's stand on key legal issues that have been brought before the Supreme Court.
Before he was appointed by Mrs. Arroyo to the Supreme Court in April 2002, Corona served the President in various capacities: presidential spokesman; chief presidential legal counsel; acting executive secretary; presidential chief of staff.
Unlike Corona, senior justices Antonio Carpio and Conchita Carpio-Morales have said they will only accept an appointment as Chief Justice if it will be made by the next President.
Two other senior justices--Presbitero Velasco and Antonio Nachura--have deferred to their more senior colleagues. -- report from Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News