Bersamin: No pressure felt from gov’t in rulings on cases

MANILA Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin on Thursday said he has never felt any pressure from other government branches in rendering decisions on various cases.

"I have never felt any pressure from the other branches of government. This is demonstrated by how the SC (Supreme Court) arrived at its decisions, especially in sensitive cases, " Bersamin said during the public interview for Chief Justice aspirants of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC)

While acknowledging that the High Court is a political agency or body as it issues policy statements that affect many sectors, Bersamin said other branches of government have been respectful to judges and justices.

We have not hesitated to render our decisions. We may be concerned about the reactions of other branches, but that is personal on the part of each justice, he noted.

Bersamin, the fifth most senior SC magistrate, also emphasized the need to strictly filter the cases being filed before the High Court, considering the heavy volume of pending cases.

He added the JBC must be given more power towards a stricter screening of applicants vying for judiciary posts.

I would advocate the enhancement of the JBC for the selection and vetting of the JBC for selection of judges which need more muscle for aspiring of judicial positions especially for those serving in the provinces, he said during the JBC's panel interview.

Bersamin also cited the need to strengthen the Philippine Judiciary Academy in order to produce competent judges and justices.

We need to hone the perspective judges with skills based training, more than (just) knowledge, he stressed.

He also wants to expand the publication of the judicial decisions of the court, noting many people still do not know the actual functions of the SC even in the age of internet and social media.

Bersamin was the first to submit his acceptance of the nomination for Chief Justice.

Prior to his appointment to High Court by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Bersamin was a justice of the Court of Appeals (CA).

Prior to being a CA magistrate, he was the presiding judge of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 96.

If appointed as Chief Justice, Bersamin has only 13 months in office as he will retire from the judiciary upon turning 70 in October 2019. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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