MANILA, Philippines - Justice Renato Corona took his oath Monday morning as the country's 23rd Supreme Court Chief Justice.
Corona took his oath before President Arroyo in a simple ceremony in Malacañang Palace. Arroyo appointed Corona last week despite questions about the timing of the appointment.
Legal watchdogs, as well as leading presidential bet Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, had said that President Arroyo should have just allowed the incoming Chief Executive to appoint the next Chief Justice.
In his farewell speech last week, Chief Justice Reynato Puno "apologized" to Corona because his birthday, which falls within the period of the ban on midnight appointments, had caused troubles for the incoming Chief Justice.
However, the Supreme Court earlier ruled that appointments to the Supreme Court are not covered by the constitutional ban on midnight appointments .
Puno retired from the court after reaching 70 years old on May 17.
A graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University, Corona was appointed to the Supreme Court on April 9, 2002 as the 150th Member of the High Tribunal.
He previously served as Assistant Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs under the Ramos administration, and was promoted Deputy Executive Secretary and subsequently Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and member of the Ramos Cabinet.
He became Chief of Staff of then Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, then joined her in Malacañang when she assumed the presidency in 2001. He served as her Presidential Chief of Staff, Presidential Spokesperson, and later, Acting Executive Secretary.