JUDICIAL reform is tops in the task-list of newly appointed Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. She’s starting off with transparency by ordering the release of her Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth, looking at the prospect of eventually institutionalizing the practice of public disclosure among servants in the judiciary. In the long-term, she envisions a more ‘hi-tech’ judiciary, one that is ‘paperless’ or at least minimally dependent on hard copies of documents as a means of contributing to environmental conservation.
Following the lead and foresight of the Philippines’ first woman and second youngest chief justice in the Supreme Court, regional trial courts in the province can initiate a parallel transformation, primarily focusing on dispensing justice speedily and seeking to restore the integrity of the courts amid talks of corruption by law practitioners.
In September last year, the Supreme Court in fact drafted a new set of guidelines to hasten the litigation process in lower courts, which are swamped with pending cases. Among the regulations are limiting the number of pages on certain submissions, setting a cap on postponements, and the immediate scheduling of arraignment and pre-trial for cases that do not require mediation or judicial dispute resolution.
A failed justice system is the root of rising criminality in the country, where the rich and powerful get off while only the poor and powerless are left to account for their crimes.
With Sereno at the helm, the public is hopeful that it can believe in and respect the justice system again.
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TOO young for the post? Not really. At age 52, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is spring chicken no more.
P-Noy was 50 when he was elected president in 2010. Two years into Malacanang, P-Noy basks in the glory of the country’s economic growth of 5.9 percent in the second quarter alone — which was above the analysts’ average forecast of 5.3 percent and the Southeast Asian average of 4.7 percent.
Barack Obama wasn’t even 50 when he was thrust into the White House in 2009, duplicating the feat of the late, plus-40 years old John F. Kennedy, one of America’s most loved presidents. Obama struggled in the early goings, but he seems all right now and should give Mitt Romney a good fight in the November polls.
So, let’s give Sereno a chance. At the end of the day, her work will define her. And yes, age is merely secondary in everyone’s journey for greatness.