Manila, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has named Supreme Court Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, as the new chief justice, as detailed by ABS CBN and Philstar which both unveiled it was from a Malacanang source. The 69-year-old Bersamin will supplant Teresita Leonardo-De Castro who government service last October after serving as top magistrate for 41 days following the expulsion of Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Bersamin has filled in as the directing judge of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 96 starting November 1986, and was a Court of Appeals relate equity preceding being named to the high court by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
The associate justice also voted in favor of Maria Lourdes Sereno’s ouster, the late president and strongman Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, and the Mindanao martial law declaration and extension, among others.
Bersamin was also awarded the Judicial Excellence Award for Best Decision both in Civil Law and Criminal Law, which has remained an unprecedented feat.
To give more details about Bersmin’s profile, below are the decisions and ponencias he penned:
March 2010: Upheld President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s authority to appoint the next Chief Justice, despite 60-day constitutional ban on midnight appointments before presidential elections. Decision stated that the judiciary is not covered by Article 7, Section 15 of the 1987 Constitution, which solely covers the executive branch. April 2011: Upheld a Sandiganbayan decision that declared businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr.’s 20-percent stake, representing 20 million shares in San Miguel Corporation(SMC), was not illegally acquired using ill-gotten wealth that rightfully belonged to farmers. *
April 2013: Junked former Datu Unsay, Maguindanao Mayor Andal Ampatuan, Jr.’s plea to include key Maguindanao m4ssacre prosecution witness Kenny Dalandag in the criminal information for murder for the Nov. 23, 2009 Maguindanao carnage that led to the death of 58 people. July 2014: Striking down as unconstitutional the Aquino administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and the budget department’s Circular No. 541 that authorized the withdrawal of unobligated and unutilized funds to fund the program. The decision also stated that government officials (authors, proponents, implementors of DAP) may be held liable for the release of public funds under the stimulus package.
January 2015: Nullified and voided an order issued by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that designated the Civil Service Commission (CSC) chairman to sit in the board of trustees/directors of the government. October 2015: Junked business tycoon Lucio Tan’s Fortune Tobacco Corporation’s claim for tax credit or tax refund for reportedly erroneously collected taxes in 2004 amounting to over P219-million.
July 2016 : Junked plunder case against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo over P366-million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office confidential and intelligence funds, ruling that the Office of the Ombudsman failed to present evidence to prove the amassing, accumulation of acquisition of ill-gotten wealth not less than P50-million, a requisite for the crime of plunder. *
March 2018: Reversed earlier ruling in favor of over 1,400 flight attendants and stewards of Philippine Airlines (PAL) retrenched by the flag carrier in 1998 as it explained that: (1) PAL met all standards in effecting a valid retrenchment; and, (2) the retrenched employees were not opposed to the retrenchment program because it understood PAL’s financial troubles but were only questioning the manner and alleged lack of standard in carrying out the retrenchment. July 2018 : Directed the automatic release of the Internal Revenue Allotment of local government units in the national taxes, and ruled that the “just share” of LGUs must be computed based on all national taxes, and not only on national internal revenue taxes collected by government.
December 2010: Voted to strike down as unconstitutional President Benigno Simeon Aquino’s Executive Order No. 1, Creating the Truth Commission for limiting its scope only to the previous Arroyo administration thereby violating the equal protection clause in the 1987 Constitution
November 2011: Voted in favor of the distribution of Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita’s 4,915-hectare farmlands to farmer-beneficiaries March 2016: Voted in favor of the natural-born Filipino citizenship of Senator Grace Poe. November 2016: Voted in favor of the burial of President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani *
November 2013: Voted to declare the Priority Development Assistance Fund unconstitutional October 2017: Voted to uphold the arrest of Senator Leila De Lima over alleged involvement in the New Bilibid Prison illegal drug trade
December 2017: Voted to uphold the constitutionality of President Rodrigo Duterte’s imposition of Martial law in Mindanao and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus February 2018: Voted to uphold the constitutionality of President Rodrigo Duterte’s year-long extension of Martial Law in Mindanao
June 2018 (final decision): Voted to oust Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on petition for quo warranto, ruling that she was ineligible for the post for failure to faithfully file her annual sworn Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) during her 20-year teaching stint at the University of the Philippines College of Law, and submitting only 3 instead of 10 SALNs upon her application for Chief Justice in July 2012