JBC gets personal with CJ nominee Herbosa
By PATRICIA DENISE CHIU, GMA News July 27, 2012 5:11pm
Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Teresita Herbosa is not the only woman on the list of 20 to be interviewed by the Judicial and Bar Council for the chief justice post. But Hermosa, who was first to undergo scrutiny Friday, found herself answering questions about her womanhood, and why, at 61, she remains single.
Herbosa, who has never been with the judiciary, said she didn’t think it mattered, whether the next CJ is an insider, or outsider. "Unusual times call for unusual solutions,” she said. “It's more of whether person is equipped with skills to unite and lead the group to overcome the present crisis and go for a common goal," she added.
The SEC chair has 33 years of law practice under her belt. She said that being appointed the chief magistrate would cap a long career, and that she feels she is qualified for the position. Herbosa also said that if she does not become CJ, she would like to apply as associate justice.
“I believe I have a strong personality,” she said. Hermosa pointed to her experience in SEC as qualification. “Even when I was the newest appointee, I think that there was no problem,” she said.
Herbosa, like the four women nominees before her, was asked about gender issues. Being unmarried, she was additionally asked about her marital status. Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, JBC chair, asked how a woman would run the judiciary differently, while Justice Aurora Lagman wanted to know if Herbosa was single by choice.
“I don't think it would be much different from a man,” she said. “There's no difference, you just have to be prepared,” Herbosa added.
On her civil status, she said: "I'm sure it's by accident.”
“There were opportunities where I could have changed my status,” she added.
Retired Justice Regino Hermosisima quoted Genesis, and asked if Herbosa thought the Lord should have given her a partner. Herbosa laughed when she answered, “I'm used to being alone.”
Herbosa also expounded on her opinion that women are not the weaker sex. “Lady Justice represents the underprivileged, including women, children,” she said. “The Lady Justice is not soft-hearted, not weak. She's supposed to represent the underprivileged,” she added.
The SEC chair is a direct descendant of a sister of Jose Rizal. Her great grandmother Lucia was the national hero's sister. Hermosa also said that she is in favor of divorce.
If she is appointed CJ, she said she will campaign for additional budget, give hazard pay to judges assigned to far-flung areas and improve assignment rotations.
“We should have more special courts to deal with special cases,” she said. Hermosa also suggested that law schools train students into becoming judges, and that there should be emphasis on little-known fields of law.
When asked about her judicial philosophy, Herbosa said she defers to the Constitution, and that she is for judicial restraint. “The Constitution is adequately worded,” she said. “If unclear, the intent of framers should be considered,” she added.
“I will consider the Constitution as the rule of the land,” she said. — RSJ, GMA News