SC seeks call to exempt judges from election gun ban

To thwart possible attacks against members of the judiciary, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Commission on Elections to exempt over 2,000 judges nationwide from the coverage of the election gun ban.

The call came in the wake of separate bombing attacks that might have targeted judges Silvino Pampilo Jr. of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 26 and Leo Principe of the Basilan Regional Trial Court Branch 1.

In an interview with reporters, SC administrator and spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said the high tribunal “condemns in the strongest possible term” the twin attacks.

The Comelec implemented the nationwide gun ban last January 10 to avert election-related violence. Marquez said he made the request as early as January, but the poll body has yet to act on the matter.

“We reiterate to the Comelec our call to review its policy that disallows a gun ban exemption on our judges. We have been asking this since,” Marquez said.

He added that the exemption would enable judges to handle controversial cases without fear of retaliatory attacks from aggrieved parties and litigants, especially during the election period. (PIA-Bohol)

Carpio acting Supreme Court chief in next 2 weeks

CHIEF Justice Reynato Puno has designated Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio as acting chief justice while he is on sabbatical leave from March 18 to 30.

Carpio, as acting chief justice, is authorized “to exercise the powers and prerogatives of and pertaining to the position of chief justice on matters that cannot wait for the chief justice, effective March 18 until the undersigned reports back to work.”

Among the functions that Carpio is expected to perform is to sit as ex-officio chair of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which is expected to deliberate on the next moves it will take following the high court’s ruling on the appointment of Puno’s successor.

Carpio will also temporarily assume the position of chairman of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal during Puno’s absence.

The SC on Wednesday upheld the authority of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to appoint the successor of Puno, who will be retiring on May 17 at the age of 70. (PIA-Bohol)