On Tuesday, Malacañang defended President Benigno Aquino III’s order for his legal team to create a list of potential replacement to Chief Justice Renato Corona, who will face an impeachment trial in January.
“There’s no legal issue because we’re just preparing for a contingency,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said at a press briefing. “This is merely an eventuality but he has asked his legal advisers to look into names for possible Chief Justice.”
Even then, Aquino has never welcomed the legality of Corona’s appointment as chief justice in the last days of the Arroyo administration. In recent speeches, Aquino has bluntly criticized Corona and even questioned his impartiality.
Under the Constitution, the mandatory retirement age for members of the judiciary is 70, which means Corona, who was born in 1948, will not retire until the year 2018. Aquino’s presidency ends in June 2016.