MANILA, August 27, 2012— Catholic bishops appealed on newly-installed Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno to preserve judicial independence under her administration.
The bishops said the division of powers as enlisted in the Constitution between the judiciary, executive and legislature should always be upheld.
“My only hope is that she will not become an Aquino chief justice. There should be independence in her judgment,” said Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo.
“Let’s give her a chance to prove that she is a good Chief Justice,” said Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez.
For his part, retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said he has mixed feelings on Sereno’s appointment. “Frankly, on one hand I’m sad and on the other hand I’m happy,” he said.
“First, is the fact that the practice of appointing a senior chief justice was altogether disregarded by the president. Two, I feel sad because there are suspicions about her fidelity towards the president and not to what the law says and what people need,” Cruz said.
“In a way, I’m very happy (because) she has a lot of time to prove herself in terms of making the administration of justice faster that it is now which is a primary concern and agenda for her as chief justice,” he said. “I hope that the negative impressions now would eventually become positive thoughts about her effective leadership in the judicial branch of government.”
Sereno is the first female Chief Justice in the country and President Benigno Aquino III’s first appointee to the SC in August 2010.
At 52, Sereno has 18 years to go before she retires which is considered the longest-serving Chief Justice in recent times.
The bishops also called on the public to remain vigilant particularly on Sereno’s actions on the Hacienda Luisita, a vast sugar plantation in Tarlac City owned by Aquino’s family.
“We are hoping that she will favor on what is for the common good especially the poor and not those who are rich and powerful,” Pabillo said. [RL/CBCPNews]