Sereno appointment gets mixed reactionsBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines—The Integrated Bar of the Philippines welcomed the appointment of “upright” and untainted Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice even as a militant group warned the public not to let their guards down to “thwart any effort by the Executive to control the judiciary.”
The IBP believes that the 18 years that Sereno will serve as Chief Justice will be a “good 18 years.”
“She’s upright, an expert in international and economic law, no corruption charges or any vestige or hint of corruption on her. Considering what an outstanding jurist she is, the 18 years will be a good 18 years,” the IBP, through spokesperson Trixie Angeles said over the phone.
“The appointment of Chief Justice Sereno marks the end of a historic selection process and the start of a new period for the Supreme Court and the entire justice system,” lawyer Marlon Manuel, convenor of the Alternative Law Group, which is part of the Supreme Court Appointments Watch, said.
“We are hopeful that CJ Sereno will use her almost two decades of service as Chief Justice to install and institutionalize much needed reforms to enhance the integrity of our justice system and its ability to deliver justice for our people,” Manuel said.
Meanwhile, the leftwing group Bayan called on the public to exercise vigilance to protect the gains of the farmers in Hacienda Luisita, a vast sugar estate owned by the family of Aquino in Tarlac.
Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes said that while Sereno took the correct position in exposing the so called maneuvers to allow former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to seek medical treatment abroad, “her dissent in the Luisita case favored the landowners with bigger compensation.”
“It remains to be seen if the new Chief Justice will exercise real independence from President Aquino. Public vigilance is also needed to thwart any effort by the Executive to control the judiciary,” Reyes said. “Like Corona, Sereno’s voting record will be closely monitored as an indicator of independence from the Palace.”
Ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona in a text message to reporters, meanwhile, said that Sereno’s “appointment speaks for itself.”