Profile: Justice Arturo Brion
MANILA, Philippines - "Under the Brion Court, the SC [Supreme Court] will not be in the news," he said. "We will work silently, away from the glare of the media."
This is what Justice Arturo Brion said in 2010, when he was first interviewed for the position of chief justice. The High Court has been in the headlines then, receiving brickbats for one controversial ruling after the other, a number of which favored then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
The High Court was also then reeling from criticisms after it exempted the judiciary from the appointment ban, which bars the president from making any appointments two months before the elections and up until her term ends on June 30.
"[The media] has been hammering the perception that the judiciary is not independent," Brion told the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) in that public interview held in Baguio. The JBC is the body that vets aspirants to the judiciary for appointment by the president
Two years later, however, Brion would see himself in the news after unleashing scathing remarks about the impeachment trial of now dismissed chief justice Renato Corona.
In a speech delivered before new lawyers on March 21, SC Justice Arturo Brion said the rule of law "recognizes and gives no special treatment to any President, cabinet member, legislator, justice or judge" and “recognizes neither the Supreme Court nor the Impeachment Court as a tribunal higher than the other; both must bow to the supremacy of the Constitution, our highest law.”
Brion showed his support for Corona -- having been his friend for almost 42 years -- until the 11th hour, so to speak, when Corona faced his accusers and signed a bank waiver allowing the scrutiny of his dollar deposits (Corona had US$2 million in his bank accounts) in May. All eyes were on Corona then after Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales testified that Corona has $12 million in "fresh deposits."
Brion, along with Justices Roberto Abad (another aspirant for the post of chief justice), Martin Villarama and Jose Perez said they are willing to sign their bank waiver.
Brion is for charter change, saying it should be done through a constitutional convention, where delegates are elected. He said an amendment giving a definite percentage in the national budget for SC funding is needed.
- has penned 481 decisions and resolutions in 2011
- has an average monthly output of 40 cases
- Brion heads the following committees:
– Sub-Committee on Commercial Courts
– JRSP (Judicial Reform Support Program) Sub-Committee on Enhancing Institutional Integrity.
- finished law in Ateneo de Manila University, valedictorian, cum laude in 1974
- bar topnotcher in 1974 with an average of 91.65%
- took up Masters of Law from Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in Toronto, Canada
- Specialized in labor cases as a lawyer in Siguion Reyna Montecillo & Ongsiako Law Offices from 1975 to 1982
- Appointed Court of Appeals justice in 2003
Major decisions penned
- GR Nos. 164368-89, People v. Estrada
- GR No. 182498, Razon v. Tagitis
The High Court said there is "government complicity" in the disappearance of Engineer Morced N. Tagitis in 2007 and affirmed a Court of Appeals ruling. It issued a Writ of Amparo to the Philippine National Police and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. The Writ of Amparo is a legal remedy introduced by the SC in 2007 to address the problems of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.
- GR No. 191771, Liberal Party v. COMELEC, Nacionalista Party (NP), and Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC)
The SC ruled the Commission on Elections abused its discretion when it allowed the registraton of the NP-NPC coalition beyond its April 17, 2009 deadline.
- G.R. No. 178083 - Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP) Vs. Philippines Airlines, Inc. (PAL), et al
The case became part of the impeachment complaint against Corona, however, because he voted for the reversal of the ruling the following month (Corona has previously inhibited himself). In March 2012, Brion penned a resolution clearing Corona of any liability in the questioned resolution.
Brion said he has no judicial philosophy, but just handles each case "objectively," addressing them based on their own set of circumstances.
The 65-year-old is the first SC senior justice to accept his nomination for the highest post in the judiciary. He will retire in 2016. – Rappler.com
Click on the links below for more.
- 22 official candidates for Chief Justice
- JBC to interview CJ candidates starting July 24
- 25 accept nominations for chief justice
- Questions for chief justice candidates
- JBC should review process of choosing CJ
- Besides JBC, Palace has judicial search committee
- CONVERSATIONS: How should the JBC choose the next chief justice? #SCWatch