I AM pleasantly surprised every time I go the Bacolod Hall of Justice. It seems their tarp posters compete with the Christmas decorations outside the courtrooms.
Judges come, they served, and then retire. The cycle of life that will ensure the sustainability of the justice system.
Most judges I know are males. There's Judge Ray Alan Drilon. Although he handles criminal cases, his heart is close to alternative dispute resolution, being a former labor arbiter. We see each other from time to time in the virtual world Facebook.
I know only one female judge, my Sis Del (Judge Philadelfa Agriavador). I got to know her because we were "classmates" in the Prayer and Life Workshop. I feel blessed because I got to know her as a person, her back story, whom few lawyers saw the public persona.
Then there's Judge Karen Joy Tan-Gaston. We graduated together in our internship as court-annexed mediators. I got plenty of cases. Too bad, I failed to convince my parties she recommended to come up compromise agreements.
She's now a judge, and I am still an almost retired mediator.
And then there's Judge Giselle Sánchez-Tan, a former star swimmer and a legal researcher in our mediation internship days. Now I address her as your "Honor" in formal settings. Naturally, as with Karen, we get many media table cases from her.
Then, we now have Judge Sue Lowie Jolingan, a former mediator. She used to go to the Philippine Mediation Center, not as a mediator but as the legal counsel of one of the parties.
And yes, we now have Judge Juvy Victoriano Dioso, a frequent visitor as a legal counsel. I find her mediation-friendly.
How many new judges on the block are males? Still many but the numbers are dwindling gas many of them retire.
Surprisingly, many women become lawyers, and eventually into judges. May we see more female judges take up positions in the higher courts.
The Philippines has one of the smallest rates of gender disparity in the world. In the Global Gender Gap Index 2017, the Philippines ranked 10th out of 145 countries for gender equality.
I grew up mentored by women teachers. Mentors who are in position of power. And many of them take the leap of power.
But not with our judiciary here in Bacolod. Their numbers of relatively young female leaders are increasing.
So, congratulations your Honors. May Negrenses see your tribe increase in the province of Negros Occidental and in the whole country.