Friday, May 11, 2018

Who is Lourdes Sereno and why is she not fit for Chief Justice position?



Who is Lourdes Sereno and why is she not fit for Chief Justice position?
Ousted CJ Loudes Sereno, photo from ABS-CBN News
Maria Lourdes A. Sereno is the first appointee to the Supreme Court (SC) by Pres. Noynoy Aquino and the youngest among the nominees for Chief Justice coming from the high tribunal.

She was born on July 2, 1960; she is 57 years old.

She completed her law degree at the University of the Philippines (UP) in 1984 as Class Valedictorian and cum laude.


As pre-law, she took up AB Economics at the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) where she graduated in 1980.

She completed her secondary education in 1976 at the Quezon City High School, with Honors; her elementary education was completed in 1972 when she graduated Class Salutatorian from the Kamuning Elementary School.

She had her post-graduate degree at the UP School of Economics with the Master of Arts in Economics Program which she finished in 1992. In 1993, she completed another masteral degree, this time, Master of Laws, at the University of Michigan, Michigan, USA.

Justice Sereno was appointed to the Supreme Court on Aug. 13, 2010.

Is she fit for the Chief Justice position?

Despite of her majestic educational background, many believe that she is unfit for the  highest position in the Supreme Court.

University of the Philippines sociology professor Randy David is convinced that Sereno is no longer fit to lead the Supreme Court.

David said Sereno did not try to win over the associate justices who felt bypassed when she, the most junior magistrate in the Supreme Court in 2012, was appointed Chief Justice.


“She displayed such a disconcerting sense of being anointed that one would think she was being named to an ecclesiastical rather than to a state office. At her first flag-raising ceremony at the Court grounds, for instance, she told the assembled employees: ‘The whole world is witness that this appointment is God’s will … Only God put me in this position. It seemed like it was time to give the leadership of the Supreme Court to one of his humble servants,'”

Deputy Majority Leader Juan Pablo Bondoc (4th district, Pampanga) and Justice committee  chairman Rep. Reynaldo Umali (2nd district, Oriental Mindoro) agreed with each other that there’s something wrong with Sereno’s brand of leadership if her SC colleagues themselves are looking into her alleged offenses.

Psychological records

According to Atty. Enriqueta Vidal, a former Supreme Court clerk, Maria Lourdes Sereno got a rating of 4 in her psychological report. This means Sereno got the second to the lowest rating in a 5-point psych test.

Geraldine Tria, clinical psychologist and “expert witness” or amicus curiae to the impeachment committee, stated categorically that she would not have recommended Sereno to the top judicial post, “based on the findings” and her assessment of the top official’s personality.


SALN issues

A lawyer who defended the late Chief Justice Renato Corona in the 2012 impeachment trial believes Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's alleged non-filing of statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) is a heavier case than Corona's non-disclosure of wealth.

"Non-filing [of SALN] will be heavier. The Constitution and the law requires it. It behooves anyone in public service to file. It may go to the issue of probity and integrity."

Corona was convicted for failing to declare around $2.4 million in bank deposits. A separate account worth P80.7 million supposedly co-mingled with relatives was also excluded from his SALNs.

Sereno meanwhile is facing an impeachment complaint that questions her failure to file her SALN for a 17-year period during her stint as a University of the Philippines professor.

The filing of SALNs is required by law, provided for under Article XI, Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.