Sereno’s appointment as SC chief ‘a disappointment,’ says De Castro
Supreme Court Associate Justice Teresita de Castro felt it was “a disappointment” for Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to get the highest judicial post.
“How did I feel when Chief Justice Sereno was appointed? Of course it was a disappointment,” De Castro told the House Committee on Justice on Monday during the hearing to determine probable cause in the impeachment complaint against the Sereno.
It was President Benigno Aquino III who appointed Sereno as Supreme Court chief justice in 2012. Sereno was most junior among those were shortlisted to replace the late Chief Justice Renato Corona.
De Castro also vied for the chief justice post.
“I fully know [that] she was just two years as associate justice of the court,” De Castro said. “I would refrain from commenting how she was as an associate justice. But I think what’s important is that one who was appointed as chief justice must have a full grasp of the law, court procedure, and how to manage a big institution like the judiciary.”
But beyond the qualities she mentioned, De Castro said that the most important was that the chief justice should be “trustworthy.”
“The chief justice must be someone who’s very trustworthy, because we can’t be forever looking over her shoulder, finding out if she accurately wrote down the decision reached by the court en banc in an executive session without any stenographer being present,” De Castro said.
“The justices of the court must trust her. There are many things she does for he court which we can’t keep track of every minute of the day,” she added.
Aside from De Castro, SC Associate Justices Noel Tijam and Francis Jardeleza and retired Associate Justice Arturo Brion, also testified at the hearing.
De Castro substantiated the allegations that Sereno altered a court document and bypassed the court en banc when she reopened judicial offices. /atm