Bowing out with grace
Colleagues were effusive in their tributes to him. “Through his participation and leadership, he defined an era of the Supreme Court,” said Justice Marvic Leonen, who described Carpio as the quintessential scholar, a patient mentor, an enlightened and patriotic Filipino, and a passionate and just jurist. Court employees showed their support by wearing the colors of the Philippine flag. Many things can be said of the retiring justice. He is most visible and vocal in his advocacy in asserting our sovereign rights on the issue of the West Philippine Sea. His research on the matter—the book “The South China Sea Dispute: Philippine Sovereign Rights and Jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea”—is a primary resource for all who wish to know more and fight harder. He was a key player in the arbitration case filed by the government before the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The arbitral court ruled in favor of the Philippines in that case, but the current administration has, for a myriad of reasons, been feeble in asserting that victory. Carpio has shown no letup of this cause—and likely because of this, he will not fade from our consciousness anytime in the next few years. Carpio, with his unifying leadership and congenial relationship with his colleagues, ably led the High Court during difficult times, specifically when Chief Justices Renato Corona and Maria Lourdes Sereno were being threatened with removal.