Just my opinion
By Raïssa Robles
This is just a wish list on my part. But here goes.
The following are NOT on my list for the post of Chief Justice: Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
It is not because they are not good in the law or unqualified. Far from it. It is because the Filipino people and the Philippine Supreme Court need a new start. Considering what just happened, appointing any of the three would be like lighting a match beside a gas tank.
It would instantly draw criticism and give the disgraced, sacked Renato Corona all the more reason to bleat that he was right all along. His impeachment was meant to place the judiciary under the dictatorial hold of the President.
[Note: I’ve updated this piece just now by including the background of the current justices. See below.]
When I asked myself offhand who I would like to see as Chief Justice, only one name instantly came up in my mind – former Senator Rene Saguisag.
Unfortunately, Saguisag is 70, which is three years beyond the retirement age for a justice.
I wondered why I had thought of Saguisag. And I came up with the following reasons. I wanted the next Chief Justice to be independent-minded. I wanted someone who had experienced personal pain. I did not want someone with a corporate law background or who has risen from the ranks of the judges or in government service like many of the present associate justices have.
I want someone who has litigated for the poor, for the down-trodden, or for those whose human rights have been violated and for whom luxury penthouses at The Fort are not a priority buy.
And so I came up with a tentative list of names that I thought could be looked into. I have talked at one time or another to each one of them as a source:
Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, founding Dean of De La Salle University College of Law and chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group
Raul Pangalangan – former Dean of the University of the Philippines College of Law
Theodore Te – Professor of Criminal Law, University of the Philippines Vice-President for Legal Affairs
Evalyn Ursua – Executive Director of the Women’s Legal Bureau and who is with the Gabriela Women’s Party and was the lawyer of “Nicole” in the Subic rape case
Katrina Legarda – lawyer of the victim of former Congressman Romeo Jalosjos
Antonio A. Oposa Jr. – environmental law specialist
I’m sure I missed some names. But let’s get the ball rolling.
Please ask the CJ nominees about how they feel about reproductive health, the environment and mining and other controversial topics that are sure to land on the lap of the Chief Justice one day.
I surfed the Supreme Court website today and I never ever thought last year that I would see the photo below with the following blurb:
UPDATE, June 9, 2012, 3 PM:
I want to explain @Baycas and to other readers and commenters why I said the following in this piece:
“I did not want someone with a corporate law background or who has risen from the ranks of the judges or in government service like many of the current associate justices have.”
In coming up with my wish list I wanted to balance the present make-up of the Supreme Court. Most current justices are either from corporate backgrounds or long-time government employees. In fact, nine of the 14 are career. What’s wrong with that, you’re likely to ask. Two things, for starters.
One – It is rare for someone with a corporate background to look out for the down-trodden. I’ve heard many lawmakers mouth the saying that those who have less in life should have more in law. That’s not the case in this country.
And Two – Personally, I feel that corruption in government, particularly in the judiciary, is one of the gigantic tasks facing the nation today. Many judges and associate justices rose due to the ‘bata-bata’ system. You and I know that. One of the things I regret that was not done after the Edsa 1 People Power was a cleansing of the judiciary. Let’s start now.
Before I wrote this piece, I looked at the backgrounds of the present crop of Associate Justices. This is what I found on the SC website. Two justices – Bienvenido Reyes and Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe – did not have any write-ups on the website. The paragraphs in red are my own observations and not those of the SC website:
Justice Antonio T. Carpio – government bureaucrat starting 1992 and corporate lawyer before that. Co-founded in 1980 the Carpio, Villaraza, Cruz Law Office (Now CVC Law)
Justice Roberto A. Abad – His long-time boss was Solicitor General (OSG) Estelito Mendoza. Justice Abad joined the OSG in 1975. Estelito Mendoza was OSG head from 1972 to 1986. Mendoza was the lawyer of Lucio Tan who succeeded in getting the SC to dramatically reverse itself on the FASAP case on October 4, 2011. By the way, I looked long and hard for that SC resolution reversing the FASAP case. I could not find it anywhere on the SC website. I wanted to know how Justice Abad voted. Does anyone know?
This is important because there are suggestions to appoint Justice Abad as Chief Justice because he will be retiring soon. If he becomes CJ, how will the court handle all those cases involving Lucio Tan and his tobacco company?
Justice Presbitero J. Velasco Jr. – bureaucrat (undersecretary of justice) from 1995 to 1998. Court of Appeals justice in 1998. Supreme Court Administrator in 2001.
Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro – bureaucrat starting 1973 as a law clerk in the Supreme Court. January 1975 to November 1978, served as a Legal/Judicial Assistant and as member of the technical staff of the late Chief Justice Fred Ruiz Castro. 1978 to 1997 – Department of Justice – rose from the ranks. 1997 – Chief State Counsel.
Justice Arturo D. Brion – Cleared Renato Corona of any wrongdoing in the FASAP-PAL case; private practice in labor law with the Siguion Reyna Montecillo & Ongsiako Law Offices 1975-1982, corporate law; entered government service 1982 as Executive Director of the Institute of Labor and Manpower Studies under the Philippine Ministry of Labor until 1984, when he went on to become Vice-Chair of the Labor and Employment Committee of the Mambabatas Pambansa, Philippine National Assembly. He became Deputy Minister of Labor for Legal and Legislative Affairs from 1985 to 1986 before returning to private practice as Senior Partner of the Natividad Delos Reyes Maambong & Brion Law Firm 1986 to 1988; 2001 – appointed Undersecretary of Labor for Labor Relations; 2002 undersecretary of Foreign Affairs for Special Projects of the Department of Foreign Affairs; 2006 – Labor Secretary; 2008 appointed to Supreme Court.
Is Justice Brion pro- or anti-labor? I don’t know. Readers will have to help me out on this matter.
Justice Diosdado M. Peralta – convicted ex-President Joseph Estrada of plunder. Appointed to Sandiganbayan in 2002.
Justice Lucas P. Bersamin – 1986 – Regional Trial Court judge; then Court of Appeals Associate Justice; appointed to the Supreme Court in March 2003
Justice Mariano C. Del Castillo – Accused of plagiarism, cleared by SC. Background – 1989 – Municipal Trial Court Judge of San Mateo, Rizal; 1992 – RTC Judge Angeles City; 1995 – RTC Judge Quezon City; 2001 – Court of Appeals; 2005, conferred the Justice George A. Malcolm Award as best performing CA Justice and in 2006 was recognized by the Presiding Justice of the CA for outstanding performance in disposition of cases.
Justice Martin S. Villarama, Jr. – 1986 – RTC Judge of Pasig City; 1998 promoted to CA. 2009 – appointed to SC.
Justice Jose Portugal Perez – From Batangas like Corona – rose from ranks in the judiciary; starting 1971 – joined SC as legal assistant in Office of the Reporter; 1977 – confidential attorney of Chief Justice Fred Ruiz Castro; 1980 – supervising attorney in the Office of the Chief Attorney and rose to post of Assistant Chief; 1987, promoted to Deputy Clerk of Court and Chief of the Office of the Reporter; 1996, Assistant Court Administrator; 2000, appointed Deputy Court Administrator; 2008, promoted to Court Administrator. 209 – appointed SC Associate Justice.
Justice Jose Catral Mendoza – From Batangas like Corona. Rose from ranks in judiciary. Wrote decision reinstating criminal charges against Dante Tan, and granting petition for writ of Amparo filed by the families of missing University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño, who were abducted allegedly by members of the military way back in 2006. This, despite being a son of a retired Air Force officer. 1977- joined judiciary as Research Attorney in the Court of Appeals; served as Senior Consular Investigator in the United States Embassy; 1980 – corporate lawyer with Alampay Alvero Alampay Law Office; 1985 – rejoined judiciary in Office of Justice Nestor B. Alampay and later in office of Justice Abdulwahid A. Bidin. 1989 – RTC Judge, Sta. Cruz Laguna; 1994 – Presiding Judge of Branch 219, RTC, Quezon City, which was designated as a special court for heinous crimes. For his fair handling of sensational cases, he was nominated by the IBP, Quezon City, for the Judicial Excellence Award. The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and the Crusade Against Violence (CAV) recognized and commended him. In 2002, the VACC bestowed on him the “Outstanding Judge” award. In 2003, he was appointed Executive Judge. 2003, appointed to CA.
Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno – At 50, the youngest judge. To retire in 2030. April 2000- president of Accesslaw, Inc. From 1994 – 2008, legal counsel in various government agencies: Office of the President, OSG, Manila International Airport Authority, Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, World Trade Organization-ASEAN Free Trade Area (WTO-AFTA) Commission, and the Philippine Coconut Authority. Handled various international trade and investment law disputes in WTO in Geneva, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington DC, and in International Chamber of Commerce’s International Court of Arbitration (ICC-ICA) in Singapore and in Paris, employing bilateral dispute resolution mechanisms. Co-counsel for the Philippine Republic in cases involving the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 and PIATCO. 2009 – Executive Director of the policy think-tank of the Asian Institute of Management since February 2009; and . She was a UP Law professor for almost 20 years. From 1995 to 2002, she was Consultant for Judicial Reform, working with the United Nations Development Program, the World Bank, and the United States Agency for International Development. Taught law and economics at the Philippine Judicial Academy; international trade law at the Hague Academy of International law, University of Western Australia, and Murdoch University; electronic commerce law at the AIM, and international trade law at the Department of Foreign Affairs-Foreign Service Institute.
HAS Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez resigned as Supreme Court Chief PIO?
AND who is Theodore Te?
Raissa-did you get your choice Chief Justice- do you still love her despite all her dishonesty and lies? I am shocked at her lack of super who.
Wherever did you get the idea that I “love” her?
Are you subliminally attributing to me words that you yourself are using?
When the President appointed Sereno as Chief Justice what appeared in the news were praises. However, the new Chief Justice has not even taken her seat, the tide is turning against her already.
Pubished in the Manila Times August 27, 2012:
SC justices ‘devastated’ (Written by Jomar Canlas, Jaime R. Pilapil and Ritchie A. Horatio)
“EIGHT members of the Supreme Court (SC) are “devastated” over the appointment of Ma. Lourdes Sereno as chief magistrate, with some saying that besides being the most junior member of the tribunal, she lacks the moral ascendancy to lead the judiciary.”
One of the reasons is the”low grade in a recent psychiatric test cast doubt on her ability to lead the Supreme Court.”
One justice also said that it could be a ploy of Malacañang to appoint their “most hated justice” so that some of them would resign and Aquino can have control of the entire high tribunal.
The Manila Standard Today also came out a similar view, “Other SC justices’ hope to be at helm doomed”
Is this sourgraping? Why did the Judicial and Bar Council nominated her in the first place?
@CPMers, what are your take on these?
The president has already decided. Let there be obedience to all. Tama ka, sourgraping ang noise outside of the Court. Now, with the new lady CJ, there is a new policy, SUPREME SILENCE in the Court! Tama rin ito! This SILENCE should be “heard” throughout the countryside! A noisy Court is like a market…palengke court!
Now, to declogg court cases! I suggest that the Court refrain from “adopting NEW RULES” in trying cases. It clogs also the lawyers’ mental and spiritual attitudes. Too many new rules as changes are not good. The existing rules have not even been tried for long and now has to be changed again! This is not stability but destructibility in the workings or handling of court cases. Noticeable is new rules every 2 or 3 years times, either in one City or another but intended for the whole court system! This practice or tendency on those “who knows too much of trial of cases” should be stopped! The consequence is worst than what is existing. Like the system is zigzagging along its way rather than focus on the path of travel to arrive at the destination.
People’s hope in their courts is a must. Heeding this will avoid more distrusts.
We put our trust in the new Chief Justice as leading the Court. God bless our country and the Philippine Supreme Court!
Excellent choice !!
Thank you , President Aquino III
Congratulations, Chief justice Sereno !!
You are in my prayer.
Hooray to the lying incompetent cheap justice.its a pleasure to have you lead the highest court of the land.
Aquino appoints Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno as Chief Justice
August 24, 2012
Breaking news, finally, President Aquino appointed Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Aranal Sereno as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
From the Supreme Court Website,
“President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino today swore in lawyer-academician Maria Lourdes Aranal Sereno as his first appointee to the Supreme Court. Justice Sereno’s appointment to the Supreme Court as its 169th Justice completes the 15-man tribunal.
Justice Sereno fills in the vacancy created by the elevation of now Chief Justice Renato C. Corona to the top judicial post on May 17 following the retirement of then Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno.
Born July 2, 1960, the 50-year old Justice is the youngest to be appointed to the SC in this century. She is also seen to be one of the longest-serving justices so far as she is set to mandatorily retire after serving a 20-year term in 2030.”
“I will serve my fellow Filipinos with integrity and conviction, holding myself to the ideal of justice that refutes the abuse of strength and instead labors to succor the weak…; justice that may serve as one of the several foundations for rebuilding institutions and restoring the people’s faith in good government,” Justice Sereno said in her first official statement issued today.
Post 187.1 was Sereno’s statement when she was appointed Associate Justice.
Sereno is 1st female chief justice
(from Rappler.com Posted on 08/24/2012 4:46 PM | Updated 08/24/2012 5:05 PM)
“Supreme Court Associate Justice Ma Lourdes Sereno, 52 years old, is the country’s new chief justice. She is the first woman chief justice in Philippine history.
President Benigno Aquino III made the appointment Friday, August 24, according to Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda.
Sereno is the 24th chief justice of the country. She replaces dismissed Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was removed from his post on May 29 for failing to disclose P183 million in his statement of assets, liabilities and networth.
Sereno will serve for 18 years as chief justice, until she reaches the retirement age of 70.
Back on this…JBC “recommends” nominees for CJ post.
The principal function of the JBC is only to recommend to the president. The latter by common sense can reject all of the listed nominees, contrary to JBC member Neil Tupaz’ statement that JBC can insist PNoy makes a one choice out of the list.
No. 5 SEC. 8 ART. VIII Const. says “The Council shall have the principal function of recommending appointees to the Judiciary.”
“Recommend” means to “advise.” Not to demand or order upon another.
I hope PNoy appoints a good “Dean” as CJ.
My error…PNoy knows better! Congratulations PNoy! and Congratulations Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno! May the force of law be with you. Live with the rule of law well ! We thank a lot to President Aquino III his choice here. God bless Pilipinas!
Why do you say that Justice Antonio Carpio is not good in the law?
Hi all, please read this article…is this true?
There is a new issue on the selection process for CJ: JBC’s situation is being questioned by Congress (Senate & Lower House) that a regular CJ should preside and not anybody. That Congress’ representation should be two (2) representatives and not one.
A former Sol Gen says (thru the pet.) only one rep and SC rules that only 1 representative under the Constitution.
Congress appears in opposition to SC’s ruling. Thus, appear to have pulled out their representatives at the JBC.
A motion for recon filed by Sol Gen on SC’s decision. Still pending for resolution by SC.
A dilemma at hand!
Is there a “real gravity” involved in the composition of the JBC: 1 or 2 representatives of Congress, as being debated? Or a CJ as ex officio Chairman of the JBC and not just any justice or acting CJ of the SC? What is the “real gravity” here?
Is it correct first of all to literally interpret the proviions under SEC. 8 (1) ART. VIII Constitution or any other acceptable legal interpretation to make the provision work as intended by that Law?
First of all, is SEC. 8 (1) “mandatory” or “directive” in real substance? Which? If we accept that there is such “real gravity” in that provision then we believe that it is “mandatory.” Otherwise, it is “directory.”
What will really happen when “there is no regular CJ” of the SC under any situation, thus the most senior justice “acts” as CJ for the time being to head the JBC?
What will really happen when 2 representatives of Congress are members rather than only one before the JBC?
Will the functions ofr the JBC be in “grave situation(s)” in either sides of the dispute? How detrimental is it?
SEC. 8 (1) says “xxx composed of the Chief Justice as “ex officio Chairman xxx” but there is no regular CJ at present. Will this provision be understood that the JBC cannot function at all?
SEC. 8 91) also says “xxx and a representative of the Congress xxx.” Congress is composed of a Senate and a Lower House. 1 each or only 1 for the “whole” Congress?
It didn’t say “xxx of a Congress,” or “xxx of the whole Congress,” Admitting a “flaw” on this specific exists, will such flaw demand or required the JBC to stop functioning for selecting a CJ or any justices of the SC on this situation?
Is such flaw a real gravity? Is that provision intended to create a real gravity to make the JBC stop functioning at all? No chief justice to be selected and appointed? Is that the intent of that provision? Is that provision merely “directory” that can be flexible at times depending on the situation of the composition of the JBC? If both Houses of Congress agree on one interpretation with the Executive Dept concurring, thus putting some legally accceptable stand on a “directory” meaning which will make the JBC continue to function as intended, will the SC’s different interpretation as the final arbiter of the Law be followed but the JBC will have to stop functioning be the interpretation followed by the other Branches of Government and the Country?
A “working or workable” interpretation of this SECTION must be made. To interpret the provision to “not make” it work is absurb! Every provision of the Constitution must be interpreted to make it work. The opposite is never going to make it work when a simple flaw is noticed and will not cause a real gravity at all. What is the grave harm thought of?
Legal pundits must be of sound mind to make laws work. Erroneous ahd harmful legalese are absurb.
One way or the other, make the provisions of the Constitution work to a goal that is good for the country and not to hinder or put somethings at a stand still ! Like that Case of Bush vs. Gore, the US Sup Ct had to decide one way or the other, who should be declared winner in that presidential elections of theirs without sacrificing the good of the country. Let history be the judge of that! The only matter that matters is MAKE THE LAW work!
This is just my honest understanding on this simple dispute. Not really complicated as thought by some or many.
In resume, there is really no real and harmful gravity to making the correct workable interpretation of the Constitution, SEC. 8 (1) provision.
Just to add something I believe will be an answer to Atty. Frank Chavez argument on the “deadlock” issue of a 7 member JBC…the provision on SEC. 8 (1) ART. VIII does not state of such a deadlock situation. Even with a 7 member, if one member opts to inhibit there is a possibility of a deadlock for the remaining 6 membership, and so on….
It really could have been overlooked by the Framers that Congress should have 2 representatives after voting for a bicameral system of Congress which originally was only for a unicameral and forgot later on SEC. 8(1) provision for that 1 representative. Whether the record of the transcripts of the proceedings supports this or not, the overlooking fact is obvious thus creating that flaw.
Again, interpreting the provision to work rather than not to work is the correct and practicalble goal. No much harm will be inflicted in the fundamental law of the land.
I’m hoping they will choose an outsider since walang ma eexpose na kapalpakan kung insider na naman ang uupo.. mahirap pa namang mag impeact ng CJ or kahit associate justice man lang… We need someone who will really make other justices feels uncomfortable para mag isip isip muna sila bago sila gumawa ng kapalpakan… Sabihin na nating pwedeng maging malapit sya sa pangulo,, pero I’d rather give my trust kay Pinoy and sa CJ na iaappoint nya kesa sa mga existing justices who are proven to be incompetent ( evident when they suspended the hold departure issued by DOJ kahit alam nilang may balak umalis ng bansa si Gloria)…
P.S. biglang gumaling si Gloria.. :P
andrew lim says
Just finished watching the JBC interview for Justice Carpio.
Im moving him to the top of my list for the following reasons:
1. Aside from checking all the boxes (integrity, competence, etc) the guy is capable of instituting reforms while being an insider, so he satisfies both camps – the judiciary which prefers an insider and the reformers.
Tech -savvy pa!
2. If this was for an Associate Justice post and not CJ, then I would also think highly of Dean Pangalangan, Chel Diokno and Dean Valdez. But they sorely lack the administrative and managerial experience.
3. I dont buy the allegations vs Carpio – CVC, Sigma Rho connections, etc. They are not based on anything, and they were made by pro-Corona, pro-Arroyo people.
So far it’s Carpio for me.