If appointed, the young Hernando will serve in the SC for the next 23 years. But he maintains he is 'not really that young.'
MANILA, Philippines – His record is sterling when it comes to resolving cases.
At 47, Court of Appeals (CA) Visayas Station Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando is the youngest aspirant to the vacant seat at the Supreme Court (SC). He also ranks first among all CA justices in terms of case disposition rate.
On Friday, May 30, Hernando was interviewed along with 6 of his more senior co-nominees for the SC post by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC). It was the second day of the public interviews.
The young appellate judge vowed to maintain his speedy resolution of cases if appointed to the High Court.
“Well, I hope to replicate what I’ve done in the court for years. Kaya ko pa naman (I still can),” he told reporters.
Even one of the members of the JBC panel, lawyer Maria Milagros N. Fernan-Cayosa, took notice of Hernando’s record: zero backlog, with 417 cases disposed in 2013 and 370 in 2012.
In his 4 years as a CA justice, Hernando was able to finish 86.49% of the cases he handled.
The backlog of cases mostly due to the clogging of court dockets is one of the problems facing the judiciary.
According to SC Justice Antonio Carpio, the judiciary does not fully comply with constitutionally-prescribed case disposition timelines: for the SC, not more than 24 months; for the CA, not more than 12 months; and for the lower courts, not more than 3 months. The count starts from the date of submission for resolution of the case.
Asked whether the high number of case disposal rates affects the quality of his decisions, Hernando said that none of his decisions at the CA level has been reversed by the SC thus far.
If appointed, the young Hernando will serve in the SC for the next 23 years. But he maintained that he is “not really that young.”
Seniority is only one of the considerations, he told the JBC panel.
As for reforms, Hernando said he supports the computerized raffling of cases in the appellate courts. Right now, cases are raffled off manually to determine who is the ponente or the judge to write the decision.
Insider or outsider, President’s call
Hernando was a state prosecutor with the DOJ for 5 years, before being appointed Presiding Judge of Quezon City (QC) RTC Branch 93. He stayed at the QC RTC for over 3 years, until becoming a judge at a provincial court. He was the Presiding Judge at the RTC in San Pablo, Laguna for almost 3 years.
When asked about other co-nominees who were outsiders in the judiciary, he said it will always be up to President Benigno Aquino III.
“Wala hong problema doon sa insider o outsider. (There’s no problem if he’s an outsider or an insider) That’s the President’s call. Anyone who he thinks is good for the court should be appointed by him… All of them are qualified. They’re all qualified and they’re all very good candidates,” he said of his co-candidates.
The JBC panel members present during the two-day interviews were: Fernan-Cayosa representing the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, CA Justice Aurora Santiago-Lagman representing the private sector, and lawyer Jose Mejia representing the academe.
The JBC is set to submit the names of its shortlisted candidates to President Aquino, who has the full power to appoint the replacement of retired SC Associate Justice Roberto Abad. The next SC justice will be Aquino’s 5th appointee to the 15-member Court. – Rappler.com