MANILA, Philippines – On Thursday, August 28, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno faced journalists, including Rappler’s Buena Bernal, in a rare press conference.
The event is set a year after her first meet-up with the press, and two years after she assumed the top post in the country’s highest court.
Follow Rappler’s liveblog below.
Of late, the administration and the Supreme Court (SC) had locked horns after the SC declared 3 schemes under the government’s controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program unconstitutional. Prior to that, the high tribunal also declared unconstitutional the lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel.
Just recently, she administered the oath to newly appointed Supreme Court associate justice Francis Jardeleza, whose inclusion in the short list of nominees to the high court she opposed because of integrity issues. She ended up in the minority after her colleagues voted to put back Jardeleza’s name in the list of the Judicial and Bar Council. President Benigno Aquino III appointed Jardeleza to the Supreme Court, widely seen as a rebuke of Sereno.
Besides judicial reforms, Sereno has also been pushing for judicial independence. In early August, she declined an invitation by the House of Representatives to attend a public hearing on the Judiciary Development Fund, saying the public hearing was “premature.”
She pointed out in a letter to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr that a “healthy relationship” should exist between the legislature and the judiciary. She leads a court perceived to be deeply divided and at odds, at least for now, with the executive and legislative branches of government.
At 53, Sereno was the youngest Chief Justice to be appointed in recent history. She is the first female to hold the position, and at age 54, will occupy the post for 16 more years, or until her mandatory retirement at age 70.
Watch previous parts of the program below.
Sereno’s opening statement
Sereno on the Court’s relationship with other gov’t
Sereno on her relationship with the President
Sereno on the power and independence of the Supreme Court
Sereno on upholding the SC’s independence
Sereno on house probe on JDF
Sereno on the justices’ SALNs
Sereno: SC must be depoliticized
Sereno on improving the judiciary’s image
Sereno on internal investigations and the SALN law
Sereno on the judicial reform program
Sereno on expanded judicial review
Sereno on reform constraints and the judiciary budget
Sereno: The judiciary is strong if people believe
Sereno on image of the SC after President’s comments
Sereno on balancing power and overstepping boundaries
Sereno on dignified silence
Sereno on transparency demands on judiciary
Sereno on the future of media coverage of judiciary
Sereno on enforcing writs in Mindanao
Sereno on the length of cases
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