(Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte administered the oath of office for newly appointed Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin on Tuesday, December 4, along with two other Court of Appeals Justices whom he had appointed to the high court.
Chief Justice Bersamin, who was appointed to replace former Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, was accompanied by his family at the Heroes Hall during the ceremony.
Bersamin was appointed as the country’s top magistrate on his 9th year in the Supreme Court last November 26, 2018.
Duterte appointed Bersamin who is the third most senior member in the high tribunal. But Malacanang said he is considered the most senior justice in terms of length of service in the judiciary, having been a trial court judge since November 1986.
Apart from Bersamin, Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando and Associate Justice Rosmari Carandang were also sworn in on this day.
Supreme Court justices and members of the Judicial and Bar Council of the Philippines were also present during the oath taking.
On Monday, December 3, Bersamin led other SC officials at the traditional Monday flag-raising ceremony at the high court.
He appealed to all the other members of the Supreme Court family to for their cooperation as he leads the high court as the new Chief Justice.
“I am not apologizing for myself, I am not apologizing for the President. I am here because I was appointed,” he said.
“I know that you have expected maybe another individual to be appointed to this office,” he said.
Absent during the flag-raising ceremony was the most senior SC justice, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio who was among the five SC justices in the shortlist for Chief Justice submitted to President Duterte.
Duterte previously explained why he did not appoint Carpio, who hails from Davao, as the next Chief Justice, citing the justice’s earlier refusal to benefit from the ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno who was removed via quo warranto proceedings.
“Carpio, ingon siya niadto di siya mudawat. Unya pagkahuman kay ang next in rank maoy akong giingon nako next in rank. Next in rank kung maay (Carpio, he said before he won’t accept the post. Then I’ve said the next in rank if you’re good),” he said in a speech in Lanao del Norte.
-Mass oath-taking of newly appointed officials-
Immediately after the swearing in of the top officials of the Supreme Court, the President led the mass oath-taking of 49 newly appointed government officials, composed mostly of Regional Trial Court Judges, State Prosecutors, and State Solicitors.
Among the newly appointed officials included in Tuesday’s oath-taking ceremony were Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Raquel “Rocky” Tobias, Civil Service Commissioner Aileen Lourdes Abella Lizada, National Anti-Poverty Commission Lead Convener Noel Kinazo Felongco, and Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor Chairman Alvin San Juan Feliciano.
“My only message to you is that we are all workers of government and so let us work to preserve the nation and to protect the people,” Duterte said in his brief message to the newly appointed officials. (with a PND report)