De Castro's appointment as chief justice stirs mixed reactions

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 26) — Teresita Leonardo-de Castro has been appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as the new Chief Justice, a position she will hold for only six weeks.

This, as she is set to retire on October 8 upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.

READ: De Castro is new Chief Justice until October

For Malacanang, there is nothing wrong with De Castro's short stint as the head of the high court.

"I just heard her that she's in charge with certain initiatives to boost efficiency in the judiciary. All she needs is a two-month period to ensure that the program is in place and it need not to be implemented in her watch," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Meanwhile, University of Santo Tomas Law Dean Nilo Divina doubts she can do reforms in six weeks. All she can do in such a short span of time, he said, is to unify the SC that was divided when the justices voted to oust Sereno in May.

"I think 42 days would be good enough time to well unify and rally the Supreme Court to achieve the objectives set out under the constitution," he said.

Divina said her appointment is more of a fitting tribute to her four decades of service in the judiciary.

Opposition lawmaker Albay Representative Edcel Lagman believes De Castro was appointed as a "reward" for her role in Sereno's ouster. Despite the appointment, the congressman said, she should still be impeached for partiality.

"The process will go on, but I think Justice De Castro should have seriously considered declining her nomination and refusing her interim appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court considering the seriousness of the impeachment complaint against her for culpable violation of the constitution and betrayal of public trust," Lagman said.

Garry Alejano shares the same sentiment. In a post on Twitter, Alejano said the appointment "is a clear case of bayad-utang (debt-paying), walang delicadeza (lack of delicadeza) at garapalan (flagrance) in the government."


Online, De Castro's appointment also drew different reactions and sparked talks on who is really the first Filipina to hold the position.



CNN Philippines' Rex Remitio and Robert Vergara contributed to this report.