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‘Welcome me, support me, love me,’ pleads Chief Justice Bersamin

/ 02:49 PM December 03, 2018
Lucas Bersamin

25th Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin with retired CJ Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and other SC justices after taking his oath before Senior AJ Antonio Carpio. Photo from SC PIO

“Welcome me, I ask you to welcome me, to love me, to support me,” 25th Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin told Supreme Court officials and employees during his first flag ceremony as head of the judiciary.

“I am an accidental chief justice but that is not a statement of apology. I do not apologize to anyone for having been appointed [because] that is the wisdom of the President, who is the appointing power. Please accept me,” Bersamin said.

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Bersamin is the third most senior justice in the Supreme Court. But President Rodrigo Duterte appointed him for being the most senior in the judiciary, having been a trial court judge since November 1986.

Bersamin earlier said he joined the selection process simply because he is among the most senior in the Supreme Court without hope of being appointed.

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He said people may be expecting someone else to be appointed for the top judiciary post.

“I may lack more than what they [other candidates] have but it was up to the appointing power to choose among use who are properly nominated,” he said.

Bersamin assured that the 11 months he will have as chief justice will be worth it, immediately buckling down to work after his appointment.

The 69-year old Chief Justice urged the employees and other officials to give him a chance.

“11 months as chief justice, maikli lamang po ‘yan, kaya pagbigyan niyo na po ako,” he said.

Earlier, he vowed to balance the relationship of the three branches of government — judiciary, legislative and executive — but said that he will be leaning towards judicial activism when issues concerned are about environmental protection and human rights.

During the flag raising ceremony, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa and Rosmari Carandang were absent. Carpio, Peralta and Bernabe were among the contenders to the chief justice post.

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“Those who you do not see here have reason why they are not here this morning,” Bersamin said in jest drawing laughter from the crowd.

Bersamin said camaraderie and collegiality reigns in the Supreme Court. He said he loves his colleagues and added that he is confident that his colleagues will also support him. /je

Lucas Bersamin

Photo from SC PIO

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