The Next Chief Justice: JBC Live Public Interview Day 4

1. SEC Chair TERESITA HERBOSA

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND:
-Master of Comparative Law, University of Michigan Law School, 1980
- Admitted to the Bar, 1978
-Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Laws, University of the Philippines, Cum Laude 

PREVIOUS POSITIONS:
Professorial Lecturer on Remedial Law, UP College of Law
Senior Partner, Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Office (ACCRA)
Commissioner, Committee on Bar Discipline, IBP
On accepting CJ nomination: I feel like I have all the qualifications

On her other experiences: I took part in a UNICEF-funded project on training policemen in handling child-sensitive cases.

On her goals: Give everyone access to courts, no delay, all cases decided on basis of merits

On restorative justice: There should be an opportunity for everyone to rehabilitate & give back to society

On solving unequal distribution of judges:  As pointed out by other nominees, we lack judges. Give judges in far-flung areas higher hazard pay. Deploy judges seeking promotion.On reforms:  We should have more special courts to deal with special cases. Law schools should have courses that train students into becoming judges. Judges themselves should be able to train other judges. There should be emphasis on little-known fields of law. Some judges are not adept in handling estate cases; judges should also be computer-literate.

On having outsider CJ:
These are unusual times and these would probably call for unusual solutions.

Herbosa says her great-grandmother was the sister of Jose Rizal

On plans if she does not become CJ: Herbosa says if she does not become CJ, she would like to apply for a position as associate justice

On preparations as a nominee: Herbosa says she's been prepared to be CJ since she was nominated, she would like to be a part of the SC, would have applied before.

On Lady Justice:
Lady Justice represents the underprivileged, including women, children. The Lady Justice is not soft-hearted, not weak. She's supposed to represent the underprivileged

On judicial restraint:
Constitution is adequately worded & intent of framers should be considered if it is unclear. I am for judicial restraint.

Herbosa says that when she took office, SEC lobbied for budget to complete computerization project.

Herbosa says she is for SC taking an active role in shaping economic policy.

On corruption: The reason there is a perception of corruption is some lawyers overpromise and underdeliver. Corruption is counterproductive. We should also upload online the memoranda of the parties aside from the decisions. Being more transparent and making available the filings of the parties so they can compare the decisions, if that decision was truly based on merits.

On how a woman CJ will manage the court: I don't think it would be much different from a man, my vision for the court is that everything should be based on the merits. The court should implement more reforms in reducing delays and decongesting dockets. To me, it is the independence that is very important, giving everyone their fair shake.

On her character: I believe I have a strong personality. It just takes a lot of consensus building and persuasive skills on my part. And giving credit where credit is due. In SEC, even when I was newest appointee, I think that there was no problem.

On not having a partner: I am used to being alone.

On why she deserves the position: It is just a matter of self-confidence. After years of private practice and gov't service, I never imagined I will have the opportunity to apply for this position. I could see that all my co-nominees also have the qualifications. Even if you say that you are a graduate of law, it is probably through constant reading of decisions that you will really get a feel of it. I have done that for 33 years. My independent thinking, I am willing to assert what I think should be done. As to relationships with other people, people skills are very important. A CJ should be able to discuss matters calmly and arrive at a decision.

Rizal's traits Herbosa says she has: No sense of entitlement, being thrifty.

On her beliefs: You can't let personal beliefs interfere in deciding matters especially in evaluating facts of the case, evidence

On Corporate social responsibility:
Herbosa says it's time to have a law that encourages CSR but says CSR need not be mandated

Herbosa is in favor of divorce. 

2. RONALDO B. ZAMORA 

-Age: 67
-former Executive Secretary (1998-2001)
-former Congressman, San Juan  (1987-2010)
-Landmark laws: Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, the establishment of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the law creating the ARMM; and the creation of Mandaluyong as a highly urbanized city
-1972 TOYM Awardee for Law/Public Office
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND:
- Bar Topnatcher 1970 (grade: 87.3%)
- Bachelor of Laws, UP, 1969, Magna Cum Laude
- AB Political Science, UP, 1965, Magna Cum Laude
- the youngest ever Editor-in-Chief, The Philippine Collegian

PREVIOUS POSITIONS:
-Majority Leader/Minority Leader, House of Representatives, during 6 terms in the lower House
-Assemblyman representing the National Capital Region, 1978
  
On the state of the court: [Citing surveys] Ang ating hukunan ay inaanay. Inaanay ng lagayan, inaanay ng suhulan.

On people and the law: I'd like to see more people getting involved in the law as part of their daily life.We cannot do it in a foreign language. Give the poor more in law because they have less in life. The reward for massive reforms is justice for all. Some believe justice can be bought and favors only the rich and powerful

On budget: The judiciary does not have enough funds; this year it has less than 1% of the national budget. If we are able to double the budget in 2-3 years, there will be tremendous improvements in the dispensation of justice in PH. We need some more money and a better presentation of what we need.

On technology:  Zamora brings out iPad to illustrate point that court must embrace technology.

On his independence: I don't owe anybody a political obligation, a personal favor

On being an outsider: Yes, I'm an outsider; I've never been in the judiciary. But I can enter it with certain useful skills from the other 2 branches of gov't

On being 67:
Because of his age, Zamora says he may not have enough time to change SC, but that he can bring skills and experience into the job.

On being a politician: Being a politician is a qualification; it gives you a better sense of how to supply solutions.

On SC problems: The problem is not just with the judges, the problem is also how we react to court decisions.

On jueteng: Tingin ko ang jueteng ay tanggap ng ordinaryong tao.

On justice in PH: Let us take a look at the system of dispensing justice in this country. Let us do good.

On digitization: We should show the judiciary's capital requirements; I'm surprised we're not computerized like law offices

On cases vs. Marcos: Zamora wants all cases involving Marcoses resolved. No case should drag on for 30 years.

3. Justice LOURDES SERENO

-Age: 52
-SC Associate Justice
-President Aquino's first appointee to the Supreme Court
-Appointed to the SC at the age of 50
-Seen to be 1 of the longest-serving justices who will retire in 2030 after a 20-yr. term
-Active in law practice for 23 years
 
PREVIOUS POSITIONS:
-Executive Director, Asian Institute of Management, 2009
-Director for Int'l Legal Studies, U.P., 1996 to 1999
-U.P. law professor for 20 years
-Professor, Phil. Judicial Academy, the Hague Academy of Int'l Law, Univ. of Western Australia & Murdoch Univ.
-Legal counsel in various gov't agencies 1994 to 2008
-Drafted the legal framework for 1st paperless trading of securities in PH for Bureau of Treasury

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND:
-Placed 14th in the 1984 Bar Exams
-Law, U.P., Valedictorian & Cum laude, 1984
-Economics, Ateneo de Manila University
 



Sereno says warm reception of people towards her appoinment as justice made her accept CJ nomination.

On her contributions: Nakita ko na ang aking kontribusyon sa dispensation of justice, nakakaabot sa mga tao.

On her vision for the judiciary: Willing ako to undertake whatever sacrifices necessary to make (my vision for judiciary) alive. Ayaw ko ng personalistic na panunungkulan. Gusto ko community-shared vision. I won't get burned out bec. past 52 years of her life have been fruitful, exciting.

On where she gets her passion: Lahat ng meron tayo galing sa Diyos. Pinanganak po ako na ganito talaga, ganado sa buhay.

Oh faith: Faith in God must be strong. The moment you first accept a bribe (or) render an unjust decision, tuloy-tuloy na yan.

On her guiding philosophy as a law professor: Napakaganda po ng batas.

On teaching: Kung may ibinibigay na original idea ang estudyante, pumapalakpak ang aking puso. I am a mentor.

On reforms: Action program for judicial reform must be updated. Reforms can't be dependent on personalities of justices. It must be an institutional commitment.

On being a woman: Lady justices have strong intuition, can take in so much work and burdens. I can lead fellow justices even if she often gives dissenting opinions.

On being a role model: Kailangang mamuhay ako sa isang pamamaraan na nakikita ng mga tao na hindi ako magiging corrupt. I must never put myself in a position in which I cannot judge rightly. Nais kong malaman ng mga Pilipino na ang kinakain nila, kinakain ko rin. Hindi nila masasabi na, 'masyado kang nasa taas.' Kailangang nakikita na ang quality ng aking trabaho ay napakataas. Ang bawat linya ng aking trabaho galing sa puso, isip.

Sereno says if it no longer hurts for her to see injustice, then she's no longer fulfilling her oath and not fit to stay.

On Hacienda Luisita case: Uniform ang jurisprudence natin. May formula ang just compensation. Sinabi ko, kailangan idistribute immediately, we followed a formula.. Bigla na lang po lumabas yung P10B (na just compensation amount) sa media. Wala sa (SC) records at all kung magkano yung babayaran. Pinaliwanag ko yun in my 3rd opinion. Walang katotohanan na nais kong pahirapan yung mga magsasaka.

On outsiders vs. insiders: Kung outsider ang ilalagay natin, parang nag-appoint ng civilian na mag-head ng giyera imbis na general.

Sereno proposes body of experts which would identify possible conflicts in decisions.

Hermosisima: If the law not in accordance w/ ur conscience will u abide by it?
Sereno: I'd think it would be very rare for that to happen

On policy choices: It is not our role to make policy choices. We can't replace community values with our own.

On justice:
Justice, in order to be justice, must be rendered in a credible manner. Judge rendering it must be credible. When we try to render justice, we try to render the work of God which is also justice.

"Kaya ba maging Chief Justice?":
Wala naman pong hidwaan. Ano bang ihe-heal? Hindi nai-imagine ng insider na kaya naming maglabas ng strongly worded dissent at magtawanan kapag lunch na. 

4. PRESBITERO VELASCO

- Age: 63
- SC Associate Justice
- Named Supreme Court Administrator in 2001
- Appointed Justice of the Court of Appeals in 1998
- Served as DOJ undersecretary from 1995 to 1998
- Worked in private law practice for 20 years

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND:
-Placed 6th in the 1971 Bar Exams
-Ranked 8th among graduates of U.P. College of Law class of 1971
- Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, U.P.
-Studied high school at U.P. Preparatory School
-Graduated first honor in J. Sumulong Elementary School
 



On SC's budget: SC needs a bigger budget for construction of courtrooms, buying equipment

On Financial support from LGUs: They should be placed in a judicial trust fund. The independence of our judges who receive allowances from LGUs may be somewhat compromised.

On why he changed his mind & accepted nomination: I had difficulty deciding whether to accept CJ nomination or not. I initially thought Carpio should be appointed since he's the most senior associate justice. But, I realized I have a wealth of experience behind me.

On a "cooling period":
No need for that. There was understandable sadness when CJ was removed. But to me, we have a duty under constitution. We have cases in our dockets. We have to forget what happened and move on. That is our duty in the constitution. We should decide cases expeditiously. We have to continue doing our job as prescribed by the constitution.

On rule of law & economic growth: We must show foreign investors that court decisions are predictable, uniform, consistent.

On lawyers these days:
A lot of litigants in this country can be considered 'pauper litigants.' There's a big need for legal aid lawyers.We must create more public attorneys. Many places have no public attorneys that can represent clients.

Velasco says IBP chapters have to create legal aid committees with volunteer lawyers, a community legal service where new lawyers will be mandated to serve a community for free for 1 year.

Velasco agrees it's President's constitutional duty to appoint CJ fr JBC list, agrees Pres. has prerogative to decide who'll be CJ.

Velasco agrees with JBC chair Peralta that gov't officials performing their duties under environmental laws should be protected

Velasco discusses strategic legal action against public participation (SLAAPP) suit.

Velasco: Napakaganda po ng Writ of Kalikasan. We are trying to encourage litigation for the environment
 <<< Go to The Search for the Next Chief Justice
<<< Go to Live Blog of Day 1
<<< Go to Live Blog of Day 2
<<< Go to Live Blog of Day 3 

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