SC will be fiercely independent despite number of Duterte appointees – Bersamin

Published October 7, 2019, 5:35 PM

by Martin Sadongdong & Antonio Colina

By Richa Noriega

Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin said on Monday that the Supreme Court will remain fiercely independent despite the number of appointments made by President Duterte to the High Court.

Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin (Rio Leonelle Deluvio / MANILA BULLETIN)
Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin (Rio Leonelle Deluvio / File Photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Whoever is the President to appoint, no matter the number of appointees, you can always be sure that the Supreme Court in the deliberations of all these matters of serious concern to the nation will be very fiercely independent,” Bersamin said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

The chief justice gave the assurance that even if the President was the appointing authority on the members of the court, it was not an assurance that High Tribunal would always be in his favor.

“Our history (in) the Supreme Court is really that we are no President’s court. I can give you that assurance [na] kahit inappoint buong Supreme Court ng isang Presidente, it is not the assurance na lahat kami mapupunta sa kanya,” he said.

Bersamin said that his independence as a chief justice was challenged every time.

“Every time, the first question that I have always asked by media persons is what are you sir a follower of this judicial restraint or judicial activism. And I always qualified na judicial restraint ako kung tungkol sa aksyon ng executive at saka legislative dahil I have to respect them,” he said.

“And if only the most extreme demonstration na lumabag sila, then I go against them. But I am a judicial activist as far as health, environment and so on are concerned,” he added.