CJ Sereno appointment draws cheers, jeers

By Jojo Malig, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Aug 25 2012 01:04 AM | Updated as of Aug 25 2012 09:04 AM

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino's appointment on Friday of new Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has drawn both praise and criticism.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., in a press statement, said Sereno "is a good choice."

"A new face yet an insider with a reputation for competence and independence. She will prove to be an effective leader of the Judiciary," he said. "Let us all give our full support for the new Chief Justice."

Senator Chiz Escudero, a member of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) that drew up the shortlist of candidates for the position that was submitted to Aquino, congratulated Sereno.

"All names in JBC list are equally qualified to be CJ. I congratulate CJ Sereno and wish her well as she seeks to reform the SC," he said on Twitter Friday night.

However, a lawyer of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband, Mike Arroyo, lambasted Aquino's decision.

Atty. Ferdinand Topacio described Sereno's appointment as "a grave insult to all right-thinking lawyers in the country."

"President Aquino has shown his determination to destroy Judicial Independence by planting the seed of its destruction deep within it," he claimed.
"Justice Sereno has painted in big and bold relief her bias in favor of the present administration in the oral arguments regarding the Department of Justice's circular granting the DOJ Secretary the power to issue hold-departure orders, and in the case relating to the constitutionality of the Joint DOJ-COMELEC Preliminary Investigation Panel by practically coaching the Solicitor-General in open court as to how to write his Memorandum, by her bristling interpellation of the lawyers for the petitioners, and by using evidence in her dissenting opinion that are not part of the records of the case," Topacio said in a press statement.

"Her appointment as CJ is an unmitigated disaster for the country," he said.