Editor's Note: President Benigno Aquino on Friday appointed Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Punzalan Aranal-Sereno as the 24th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. She is the first woman to assume the position. Here is her interview with the Judicial and Bar Council last July 27 that aired on the ABS-CBN News Channel, as well as a partial transcript on ANC's liveblog.
Sereno says warm reception of people towards her appoinment as justice made her accept chief justice 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.
On 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.