De Castro is only transition Chief Justice, ex-Solgen says

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 28 2018 02:10 AM | Updated as of Aug 28 2018 03:56 AM

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MANILA - Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro's appointment as top magistrate is not enough to institute reforms in the judiciary, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay said Monday.

"Dahil kulang na kulang sa panahon para maglagay ng mga reporma o kahit man lang struktura ng reporma," he told "Bandila sa DZMM."

(There's not enough time to instill reforms or even structural reforms.)

With barely 2 months left to serve on the bench, De Castro would only become as a transition chief justice, Hilbay said.

"Ang gusto natin ay 'yung maitahi ng matagal 'yung mga reporma para 'yung reporma maibaba dun sa mga mababang hustisya at makatulong dun sa mamamayan," he told "Bandila sa DZMM."

(We want reforms to be stitched up so it can trickle down to lower courts.)

Following the time-honored tradition of choosing the top magistrate based on seniority also doesn't sit well with Hilbay.

"Dahil 'yung punong mahistrado, siya 'yung lider ng buong hudikatura. Siya 'yung nagbibigay ng direksiyon dun sa patutunguhan ng administrasyon ng hustisya," he said.

(The chief justice is the head of the whole judiciary. The chief justice sets the direction of the judiciary.)

As the most senior magistrate, De Castro was chosen to replace Maria Lourdes Sereno whose appointment was invalidated in May.

De Castro and 7 other magistrates voted to oust Sereno for failing to fully disclose her wealth by granting the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

The new chief justice is expected to serve only until October 8 when she reaches the mandatory age of retirement of 70.

De Castro has served in government for 45 years. She was presiding justice of the anti-graft court, Sandiganbayan, before she was appointed to the Supreme Court.

She is expected to take her oath before President Rodrigo Duterte on August 31.