Senators: Nothing wrong with a religious Chief Justice

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

MANILA -- Two senators expressed confidence that Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will not mix religion and the rule of law in deciding cases in the Supreme Court.

Sereno, a devout Christian, has always been heard praising God in public interviews and speeches, the last being on Monday when she credited the heavens for placing her in the position.

“We do not anticipate inability to perform duty. The other side of the coin is also true that she will perform her duties well,” Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile said.

He said religion should also be a non-factor in selecting public officials because the Constitution recognizes all denominations like Christianity and Islam.

“You can appoint a non-believer as a Chief Justice or a Justice of the Supreme Court. You can appoint a member of the Islamic faith. You can appoint a born again or a member of the Catholic Church. You can also appoint a Buddhist if he's qualified,” Enrile said.

Senator Francis Escudero, one of those who welcomed Sereno to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), offered the same view.

Sereno presided the meeting of the JBC—the body that screens applicants for all judicial posts—on Monday.

The meeting went well, Escudero said, after they have filled in nominations for 20 vacant judgeship positions that were submitted to President Benigno Aquino III for his consideration.

“That she is a religious person should not impinge upon her functionaries and function as a Chief Justice,” he said. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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