Sereno appointment draws mixed reactionsINQUIRER.net
MANILA, Philippines–The appointment of Maria Lourdes Sereno as the new Supreme Court Chief Justice has continued to draw mixed reactions from various sectors.
The Makati Business Club, in a statement e-mailed to media organizations, hailed Sereno’s selection as the 24th Chief Justice. “We believe that the President has chosen a morally upright person with impeccable integrity, independence of mind, and competence essential for the highest magistrate of the land,’’ the statement said.
“The impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona divided the country and greatly tested the faith of the people in our justice system. We sincerely hope that our new Chief Justice rebuilds the people’s trust in the institution by ensuring greater transparency and accountability in the courts. We also hope that she drives the long-delayed and necessary reforms towards uncrowding our congested dockets, the speedy resolution of cases, and the fair and equal application of the law,’’ the statement added.
Secretary Joel Villanueva of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) called on the people to respect the decision of President Aquino in naming Sereno to the post. Villanueva said Sereno would bring competence, integrity and independence to the judiciary.
“It is vital that we stand side-by-side with her, keeping an open mind while being watchful, as she embarks on the daunting task of steering the Supreme Court towards genuine reforms.
“Let us also respect the choice of President Aquino, having been made following a transparent and efficient process that included the public,’’ Villanueva said in a statement issued on Saturday.
Two environmental lawyers also welcomed the appointment of Sereno. “I welcome the appointment of Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno as the next Chief Justice. With her brilliance, integrity and youth, I’m hopeful that under watch she will revitalize the green courts to serve as bastions of environmental justice upholding our people’s constitutional right to a healthful and balanced ecology,” said Atty. Amang Mejia, counsel for EcoWaste Coalition.
Atty. Gloria Estenzo-Ramos, coordinator of Philippine Earth Justice Center, issued this statement:
“We laud the appointment of the first woman Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. In the short time since her appointment as Associate Justice, she has already left a visible imprint with her forceful dissent on controversial cases such as the Vinuya ruling of the Corona Court and the GMA petition. We admire her independence, probity and integrity. We hope that, like the sterling legacies of the Davide and Puno Courts. The Sereno Court will continue the creative and reformist judicial pronouncements and initiatives in protecting our vastly threatened environmental rights, which made our Supreme Court one of the more progressive minded courts in the world. We look forward to another environmental justice summit in the beginning of her watch.”
The militant group Anakbayan, however, expressed apprehension over the selection of Sereno, saying her appointment confirmed that the impeachment of Corona was about Hacienda Luisita and about Aquino’s control of the judiciary.
In a statement, Anakbayan national chair Vencer Crisostomo, also said: “Sereno’s appointment seals Aquino’s tyranny over branches of government which he will surely utilize to further implement pro-foreign and pro-crony policies which will attack the interests of the majority of Filipinos who are poor.
“One such policy which will benefit from the new Chief Justice is the move to revive Charter Change, and the opening up of the national economy and patrimony to further plunder by giant foreign corporations. Another is Aquino’s Executive 79 which is seen as a means to override LGUs’ ordinances against foreign, destructive mining operations.’’
But Anakbayan’s youth sector was ready to give Sereno a chance to prove her worth by giving the young generation hope by being pro-people. Dianne Marie Solmayor, Anakbayan National Capital Region Secretary-General, said in a statement:
“Our hope shall be anchored only on her being pro-people unlike her predecessor, otherwise cynics we will be. We hope Chief Justice Sereno shall leave up to her statement that she will not be another one who ‘bends the law’.”