Philippine Daily Inquirer

Se­nior­ity should be con­sid­ered in choos­ing next CJ—Leo­nen


Se­nior­ity is a “marker of ex­pe­ri­ence” and should be con­sid­ered in choos­ing the next Chief Jus­tice, Supreme Court As­so­ci­ate Jus­tice Mar­vic Leo­nen said on Thurs­day.

“Se­nior­ity is a marker of some­thing. Se­nior­ity is a marker of ex­pe­ri­ence. It is also a marker of a per­son who knows his or her col­leagues,” Leo­nen said in an in­ter­view with television sta­tion ANC’s Head­start on Thurs­day.

“If you stay in the court longer, you be­come more familiar with the peo­ple that you work with, in­clud­ing the staff, chief of of­fices, the judges of lower courts, the ap­pel­late courts. So se­nior­ity, I think, is a marker. It is not, per se, the only re­quire­ment, but se­nior­ity as a marker of some­thing like ex­pe­ri­ence,” Leo­nen said.

Leo­nen said he was not as- pir­ing for the po­si­tion left va­cant by Chief Jus­tice Maria Lour­des Sereno, who was ousted by her col­leagues through a quo war­ranto pe­ti­tion.

Sort of at­ti­tude

“The work of a Chief Jus­tice re­quires some sort of ca­pac­ity or an at­ti­tude that right now I can­not imag­ine my­self do­ing,” he rea­soned.

“You have to be able to find a mid­dle ground. You have to have the grav­i­tas to be able to bring peo­ple to lis­ten to each other and then later on, come out with a de­ci­sion,” said Leo­nen, an ap­pointee of for­mer Pres­i­dent Benigno Aquino III who has been with the Supreme Court for al­most six years.

“It is nor­mal if you are new in a court, a col­le­giate court, that you will feel threat­ened if some­body dis­agrees with you,” he said.

Ex­cel ‘10 times more’

Leo­nen also said a Chief Jus­tice should ex­cel “10 times more than [his or her] col­leagues” and be the ne­go­tia­tor, “the per­son that will find the mid­dle ground” in ev­ery po­si­tion.

Un­der the pre­vail­ing se­lec­tion sys­tem, five of the most se­nior jus­tices of the high court are au­to­mat­i­cally nom­i­nated for the Chief Jus­tice post.

Leo­nen is en­cour­ag­ing the se­nior jus­tices to ac­cept the nom­i­na­tion and vie for the po­si­tion.

“[Act­ing Chief] Jus­tice [An­to­nio] Car­pio has been there for more than a decade. [As­so­ci­ate Jus­tice Tere­sita Leonardo-Cas­tro] Tess de Cas­tro, I’ve seen her work, I’ve seen the way that she works, she is a work horse, she has a lot of good ideas,” Leo­nen said.

“Jus­tice [Dios­dado] Dado Per­alta, one of the lead­ing lights for con­tin­u­ous tri­als, speedy tri­als, and he gets peo­ple to work to­gether. Jus­tice [Lu­cas] Luke Ber­samin is also some­body that can get [along] well with the col­leagues, has had the ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing from the lower court to the [high] court,” he added.

The dead­line for the sub­mis­sion of nom­i­na­tion for the Chief Jus­tice post is on July 26.

 ??  ?? Mar­vic Leo­nen
Mar­vic Leo­nen

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