New Chief Justice Sereno vows to be faithful to oath
MANILA, Philippines - New Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Friday thanked President Benigno Aquino for appointing her as the country's top magistrate.
Sereno also vowed reforms in the judiciary.
"I would like to assure our countrymen that I will keep my oath of office faithfully until the end of my term. That is something that we can rely on," Sereno told media at the Supreme Court after the Palace announced her appointment.
"I would like to thank the president for the trust that he has reposed in me," she said.
She replaces deposed Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was impeached by the House and found guilty by the Senate last May for guilty of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.
Aquino, in appointing Sereno, broke tradition by naming Sereno as the first female Chief Justice.
He first broke tradition in 2010 when, instead of then Chief Justice Corona, he took his oath before an associate justice now the Ombudsman, Conchita Carpio-Morales.
During the search for Corona's replacement, Aquino was prepared to break another tradition, when he said he could appoint someone from outside the Supreme Court.
But Aquino appointed an insider and still made history.
Sereno, 52, will serve as top judge until she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Aquino believes that Sereno is the best choice to implement reforms in the nation's justice system.
"He had an opportunity to interview the nominees for position of Chief Justice, and in assessment, and in his evaulation, Associate Justice Sereno was the best person to institute reforms in the judiciary," Lacierda told ANC Friday afternoon.
"She will have a full 18 years to implement reforms in the judiciary, and we are hoping those reforms will trickle as the years go by," he added.
Sereno, as associate justice, was also the first appointee of Aquino to the Supreme Court.
During the public interviews of chief justice nominees, Sereno told the Judicial and Bar Council how she intends to lead the judiciary.
"Yung leadership ko po will be marked by a willingness to create a generation of justices who will commit themselves to lives of uprightness and excellence," she said.
Sereno also said, being a female justice should not be a problem and in fact, has its advantages.
"Yung instinct po at intuition ng babae, matindi po iyun," she said. "Yung ability of women to take in so much work, so much burdens, nandun po iyan."
"These abilities are actually very strong leadership abilities," she added.
Sereno's appointment was issued while the nation still mourns Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.
Lacierda said the President, though grieving, was aware of the August 27 deadline to name a new Chief Justice. - reports from Ina Reformina and Tony Velasquez, ABS-CBN News; ANC