Sereno Named As First Woman Philippine Chief Justice

Taking the seat that Chief Justice Renato Corona vacated is Associate Justice, now Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

CJ Sereno has been appointed by Philippine President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III on August 24, 2012.

CJ Sereno hails from the University of the Philippines and is now the first woman to take the position as Philippine Chief Justice.

Aside from that, the 52-years old Sereno is currently the youngest appointed justice in the history of the Supreme Court.

Below is the official statement of the Philippine government as published in the Official Gazette.

Statement of Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda:

On the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines

In the midst of this period of deep mourning for the loss of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, the President is cognizant of his constitutional duty to appoint the next Chief Justice of the Philippines. He has therefore decided to appoint Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Punzalan Aranal-Sereno as the 24th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

The President is confident that Chief Justice Sereno will lead the judiciary in undertaking much-needed reforms. We believe the Judicial Branch of government has a historic opportunity to restore our people's confidence in the judicial system.

Sereno appointment wins high praise from senators

At least three senator-allies of President Benigno Aquino III on Friday praised the appointment of Associate Justice Lourdes Sereno as the 24th chief justice of the Supreme Court.

"We welcome the appointment of Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Punzalan Aranal-Sereno as the 24th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court," Senator Francis Pangilinan said in a statement released Friday.

 "A well deserved appointment. The first lady-CJ," Senator Franklin Drilon said in a separate statement.

 "It's a very good choice.  [It's] a historical move and long-term [a] strategic one," Senator Koko Pimentel said in a text message to GMA News Online.

 Sereno, who was Aquino's first appointee to the Supreme Court, will serve for 18 years since the retirement age for justices is 70.  She turned 52 just last July.

Pangilinan and Drilon, who are members of Aquino's Liberal Party, said Sereno will have the "opportunity to institute reforms" in the judiciary.

 "We hope her relative youth and her passion and dynamism will invigorate the moribund and antiquated system of justice in the country. Nothing less than sweeping and comprehensive reforms will do to ensure that the crisis facing the judiciary will be overcome, and we will need the energy, creativity and stamina of a new generation of jurists to do just that," said Pangilinan.

 Pimentel, who will also run under Aquino's LP in the upcoming 2013 elections, likewise said, "Now, the chief justice cannot use the lack of time as an excuse not to be able to pursue and implement her vision for the judiciary."

 Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III, for his part, said that the appointment was a "presidential prerogative."

 "If she is the choice, then let's hope for a more vibrant SC and judiciary," he told GMA News Online in a text message on Friday.

 Sereno will be replacing former chief justice Renato Corona, who was unseated by the Senate in a historic 20-3 vote after a four-month trial that started on Jan. 16.

Sources: Gold Star Daily & GMA News online

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