MANILA, Philippines - Will her religious beliefs affect newly installed Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's work in the Supreme Court?
At least 2 senators on Monday said they see nothing wrong with Sereno being outspoken about her faith amid reports that she is a born-again Christian.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said there is no religious test for any position in government, including that of Chief Justice, because there is religious freedom in the country.
"You can appoint a non-believer as a Chief Justice or a Justice of the Supreme Court. You can appoint a member of the Islamic faith. You can appoint a born again or a member of the Catholic church. You can also appoint a Buddhist if he's qualified. We have religious freedom in this country," Enrile said.
Similarly, Sen. Francis Escudero said religious beliefs should not impinge upon Sereno's function as a Chief Justice.
"Na may matinding pananampalataya, may mabigat na pananampalataya ang sinumang opisyal ng gobyerno, hindi naman dahilan yon para makaapekto sa kanyang trabaho," he said.
Escudero said Sereno presided over her first Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) meeting on Monday after her appointment as Chief Justice. He said the JBC was able to nominate people for 20 vacancies in the regional trial courts, metropolitan trial courts and municipal trial courts for cities.
Sereno earlier said in her interview for the position of Chief Justice that her decisions are always based on her faith and dependence on God.
She told the JBC if ever she is appointed as Chief Justice, she will lead a court hinged on credibility, morality and accountability.
“My leadership will be marked by a willingness to create a generation of judges who are going to commit themselves to lives of uprightness and excellence,” she said.
On Monday, she told Supreme Court magistrates and employees that her appointment was not through any political or business block, but God's will.
"Hindi po ito gawa ng tao, hindi po ito gawa ng kahit sinong political block. Hindi po ito produkto ng pagla-lobby ng business or economic interests, kundi ng Diyos na may alam ng tama para sa ating bayan," she said.
She told the SC: "Buong pagkukumbaba akong humaharap sa inyo. Ako po ay inyong lider, ngunit ako ay inyo ring servant leader."