Source: Sun Star
MANILA (Updated) — President Benigno Aquino III on Saturday morning administered the oath to new Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Punzalan Aranal-Sereno at the Rizal Hall of Malacanang.
Sereno was accompanied by her husband, Mario Jose Sereno, and their two children Maria Sofia and Jose Lorenzo.
Also present during the oath-taking rites were Quezon Representative Erin Tanada, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Presidential Communication Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, among others.
De Lima, who was earlier disqualified for the Chief Justice post, said she believed Sereno would be a “very good” leader in the Supreme Court.
“Her youth, her dynamism, and her brilliance would go a long way in ensuring that we can look forward to a judiciary that would be worthy of the people’s trust,” she said.
De Lima said she congratulated the new chief magistrate and told her that “the Supreme Court will now be in good hands.”
The Justice Secretary said she has no ill feelings towards any member of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which vet the candidates for the top judicial post. De Lima remains as ex officio member of the screening body.
“I have no rancor or whatsoever. I just said my piece when the JBC decided to disqualify me. I always try to be honest with my feelings. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. But that’s it. After saying my piece, I’m ok, no rancor,” she said.
Coloma, for his part, said Sereno will have an opportunity to push the reforms in the judiciary especially those that started during the impeachment trial of ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona.
He added that Sereno’s appointment will bring back the public trust and confidence to the country’s judicial system and ensure equal protection of the law.
“Those who have less in life should have more in law,” he said.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, meanwhile, defended Sereno against those who were supposedly making fun of the 52-year-old Chief Justice on social networking sites.
“That is also something that perhaps should not be taken against her,” she said of the criticisms against Sereno, who is also the youngest chief justice to be appointed in the country.
“She has 18 years. That’s a good opportunity to really carry out the reforms that are needed in the judiciary,” she added.
Sereno, the country’s first woman Chief Justice, was appointed by President Aquino on August 16, 2010 as the 169th Justice of the SC. She was the President’s first appointee to the High Tribunal.
Access to justice is one of the centerpiece advocacies of Sereno. One of her earlier works in law school included a review of the interface between domestic laws and indigenous customary laws.
Prior to her joining the SC, she was engaged in major international litigation as co-counsel for the Republic, after which she joined the Asian Institute of Management as Executive Director of its think-tank – the AIM Policy Center – where she pursued her interest in policy reform and its impact on governance and the economy. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)