Bersamin is Duterteâs new chief justice
Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin is one of the five candidates vying for the chief justice post. As chief justice, one will head the judiciary which is the third branch of government.
Philstar.com/Kristine Joy Patag

Bersamin is Duterte’s new chief justice

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - November 28, 2018 - 8:49am

MANILA, Philippines (Update 2 1:04 p.m.) — President Rodrigo Duterte has chosen Supreme Court Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, the third most senior high court justice on the shortlist, to become the next chief justice.



Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarro confirmed this news on Wednesday afternoon after a Palace source had released information about the associate justice's appointment in the morning.

Duterte in August said he follows the “seniority” tradition at the high court when he appointed Associate Justice Teresita de Castro as the top magistrate after the ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno. 

He said this after questions on whether he picked De Castro due to her support for the removal of Sereno, who Duterte said was his enemy.

Five names were included on the shortlist of chief justice aspirants drawn up by the Judicial and Bar Council.

Bersamin was a regional trial court judge in 1986 and was appointed as an SC justice in April 2009. Among the list, Bersamin is the third most senior justice in terms of experience at the high court.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, meanwhile, is the most senior justice in the SC where he is serving since 2001. 

Following him is Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta who was appointed to the SC in January 2009.

Who is Bersamin?

Bersamin, a graduate of the University of the East law school, finished the 1973 Bar Exams as the ninth placer with an average of 86.3%.

He started his career at the judiciary in November 1986, when he was appointed as a trial court judge for which he received the Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos Award (Outstanding RTC Judge) in 2002. 

In 2000, he bagged the Best Decision in Civil Law and Best Decision in Criminal Law recognitions.

Bersamin was appointed as Court of Appeals associate justice in March 2003.

Then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now the House speaker, appointed Bersamin to the high court on April 2, 2009.

RELATED: Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin defends P18-million wealth

Bersamin rulings

Among the most notable cases that Bersamin penned at the SC were the ruling that granted former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile bail due to humanitarian grounds and the decision that there was no illegal retrenchment of more than 1,000 flight attendants and stewards of the Philippine Airlines.

Bersamin also penned the ruling that ordered the “immediate release” of Arroyo—who appointed him to the SC—after the court granted the former president’s demurrer to evidence.

A demurrer to evidence is a plea to challenge the prosecutor’s evidence and eventually lead to a dismissal of the case.

Bersamin also voted to grant the government’s quo warranto petition against former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, uphold the constitutionality of martial law in Mindanao and its year-long extension, affirm the jurisdiction of a trial court on the drug case against Sen. Leila De Lima and allow the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Bersamin is due to retire in October 2019.

RELATED: Bersamin asserts judicial independence during JBC interview

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