Ex-chief justice Lucas Bersamin is new GSIS chairman

MANILA, Philippines – After leading the Supreme Court, retired chief justice Lucas Bersamin is now the head of the Government Service Insurance System, a government-owned and controlled corporation.

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go late Thursday, February 13, confirmed to ABS-CBN that Bersamin had already taken oath before President Rodrigo Duterte.

"Naka-oath na siya, last week pa. Siya na magiging chair," said Go, as reported by ABS-CBN.

(He had already taken oath last week. He will be the chair.)

According to a post by Bersamin's niece Anne Bersamin, the retired chief justice was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as part of the GSIS Board of Trustees.

Bersamin took oath on February 6, joining hundreds of other newly appointed officials. 

OATH-TAKING. Former chief justice Lucas Bersamin (far right) took his oath before the President, along other newly appointed officials on February 6, 2020. Malacanang photo

OATH-TAKING. Former chief justice Lucas Bersamin (far right) took his oath before the President, along other newly appointed officials on February 6, 2020.

Malacanang photo

Bersamin was subsequently elected by the GSIS board as its chairman, replacing Rolando Macasaet who had been at the helm of the pension fund board since 2018.

Macasaet, meanwhile, is still the acting President and General Manager of GSIS.

As new GSIS chairman, Bersamin will face the review of the planned sale of a 67-hectare property at the Manila North Harbor, which is operated by Enrique Razon-led International Container Terminal Services Incorporated.

In 2019, resigned GSIS president Jesus Clint Aranas had locked horns with the Razon-led company over the purported land sale, which the latter disapproves of. Aranas had accused ICTSI of billions of pesos in unpaid rent. (TIMELINE: GSIS, Enrique Razon's dispute over port property)

Under the Duterte administration, Bersamin had a track record of voting in favor of the President's policies. 

He voted in favor of giving late dictator Ferdinand Marcos a hero's burial, declared Martial Law constitutional, and agreed to the quo warranto petition that ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Bersamin had served the judiciary for 10 years, of which he spent his last year as chief justice.

He penned controversial ponencias, including the acquittal of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who had appointed him to the Supreme Court, and the bail grant to plunder defendant Juan Ponce Enrile. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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