MANILA, Philippines—Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno on Friday introduced the Supreme Court’s new spokesperson, human rights lawyer Theodore Te, but asked media not to ask him questions first until he assumes his position on January7.
Sereno attended the SC Christmas party for the media on Friday and brought along Te, a University of the Philippines law professor, and her newly-designated communication consultant, Ateneo School of Government Dean Antonio La Viña.
Te will be the new SC public information chief and will be coterminous with Sereno, who will be Chief Justice for 18 years.
In a brief speech, Sereno said in keeping with her promise to the media, she interviewed a lot of people in her search for someone who “could best give the perspectives on the role of the judiciary in the country’s democracy” and eventually found Te.
She thanked the media for its understanding that she could only deal now with the appointment of a spokesperson for the high court because she had to focus first on a lot of things that needed her time and attention since she assumed office in August.
“The judiciary has a number of problems in its budget. There are also some small wrinkles that needed to be fixed,” said Sereno, who is not popular with some of the justices in the high court.
Sereno bypassed a number of senior justices when she was appointed by President Aquino as replacement for ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona.
She said that Te’s appointment papers were now being processed and that she had sought the “goodwill” of both the high court and UP in this effort.
“They are welcoming him (Te) but his papers still needed to be processed,” Sereno added.
And since Te will assume his new post only next month, the Chief Justice asked the media not to pepper him with questions until then.
For his part, Te said that he will take over his new job on January 7 next year and remarked that he knew most of the reporters in the beat, having been interviewed by them on matters of the judiciary.
“My only role is to be a bridge or a way of information from the Supreme Court to the people through the media,” Te said, adding he had an abundance of patience and understanding in dealing with the media.