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June 19, 2011

PHILIPPINES: Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales May Take Over as Ombudsman

MANILA / Manila Standard Today / Nation / June 19, 2011

After 40 years, Morales bows out of Supreme Court

Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, who administered the oath of office on President Aquino, retires after serving the government for 40 years, 28 of them in the judiciary. Since Morales’ compulsory retirement age of 70 will still be on Sunday, June 19, the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Renato Corona decided to hold the retirement ceremony in her honor on June 17.

With her retirement, there is no more legal impediment for her nomination to the Ombudsman post, but the female justice would have to answer several objections against her being shortlisted as nominees by the Judicial and Bar Council.

Morales, a native of Paoay, Ilocos Norte who graduated from the University of the Philippines and passed the bar examinations in 1969, was appointed Supreme Court justice on September 3, 2002 by then President Arroyo.

Morales served as chairman of the SC’s third division and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal. She was a member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal until last year and was chairperson of the 2010 committee on bar examinations.

She had represented the SC in various international conferences.

Morales received many awards and commendations, among which were as “Outstanding Awardee in Championing Justice/Justice” given by the UP Alumni Association in 2008; the “Most Outstanding Kannawidan” of Ilocos Norte in 2003; and the “Ulirang Ina Awardee for Law and the Judiciary” given by the Father’s Day Mother’s Day Foundation in 2001.

Among the recent controversial decision written by Morales was the ruling that allowed live television and radio coverage of the trial of the cases involving the 2009 Maguindanao massacre where 57 persons died, 32 of them journalists. But the decision cannot be used as precedent in other cases since it was adopted only after considering the peculiar circumstances of the trial. She said.

She also authored the decision that dismissed on technicality the petition of the Dacer family seeking the indictment of Senator Panfilo Lacson, in connection with the killing of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in November 2000. The SC ruled that only the Office of the Solicitor General may bring actions in behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, or may represent the people of the Philippines or the State in criminal proceedings before the CA or the SC.

Rey Requejo

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