‘Candidate with highest EQ should be chief justice’

Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - October 11, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte should pick the candidate with the highest emotional intelligence as the new head of the Supreme Court (SC), said Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, who is set to step down in a week.

Bersamin, who turns 70 years old on Oct. 18, the mandatory age of retirement for justices, said that if Duterte would ask him to choose among the four candidates for chief justice, he would suggest the candidate with the highest emotional quotient (EQ).

Vying for the post are SC Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Jose Reyes Jr., Andres Reyes Jr. and Estela Perlas-Bernabe.

SC Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio no longer applied for the position since he is due to retire on Oct. 26, or eight days after Bersamin steps down.

“I have been very consistent in saying that when you consider the qualifications for chief justice, there should be more EQ,” the Chief Justice said.

He added it was already a given that the four aspirants as well as the other magistrates in the high court have high intelligence quotients (IQ), otherwise they would not have earned the respect of their colleagues.

“I presume all of these four have IQ but maybe if I would be asked by the President whom he should choose, I would say choose the one who you believe has more EQ than the others. This is also a position of leadership among equals – primus inter pares (first among equals) – so it is very important here, a large part is the EQ.”

Today, the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will vote on the candidates and select at least three who would be included in the shortlist for the position of chief justice to be submitted to the President.

Bersamin served as head of SC for 11 months and is the 25th chief justice. He served as a judge of the regional trial court in Quezon City from 1986 until he was appointed to the Court of Appeals (CA) in 2003. He joined the SC as an associate justice in 2009, and was appointed Chief Justice by Duterte on Nov. 28, 2018.

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