BAGUIO CITY – Cordillerans are now celebrating the appointment of Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, the first native of the region, as the next Chief Justice of the High Court.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, who chairs the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC-CAR), claimed that President Rodrigo R. Duterte made the right choice in naming Bersamin, a native of Abra, to the highest post in the judiciary because of his proven competence, independence and track record as a member of the judiciary for over three decades.
“We are proud of Bersamin’s appointment as the next Chief Justice. He deserves to be named to the highest position in the judiciary because of his long decades of experience in the legal profession,” Domogan stressed.
Bersamin was a regional trial court judge in 1986 and was appointed as an SC justice in April 2009.
Bersamin, a graduate of the University of the East law school, finished the 1973 Bar Exams as the ninth placer with an average of 86.3%.
He started his career at the judiciary in November 1986, when he was appointed as a trial court judge for which he received the Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos Award (Outstanding RTC Judge) in 2002.
In 2000, he bagged the Best Decision in Civil Law and Best Decision in Criminal Law recognitions.
Bersamin was appointed as Court of Appeals associate justice in March 2003.
Then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now the House speaker, appointed Bersamin to the high court on April 2, 2009.
Among the most notable cases that Bersamin penned at the SC were the ruling that granted former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile bail due to humanitarian grounds and the decision that there was no illegal retrenchment of more than 1,000 flight attendants and stewards of the Philippine Airlines.
Bersamin also penned the ruling that ordered the “immediate release” of Arroyo—who appointed him to the SC after the court granted the former president’s demurrer to evidence.
A demurrer to evidence is a plea to challenge the prosecutor’s evidence and eventually lead to a dismissal of the case.
Bersamin also voted to grant the government’s quo warranto petition against former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, uphold the constitutionality of martial law in Mindanao and its year-long extension, affirm the jurisdiction of a trial court on the drug case against Sen. Leila De Lima and allow the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Joining the RDC-CAR and RPO-CAR in congratulating the new Chief Justice are Kalinga Rep. and Mountain Province caretaker congressman Allen Jesse Mangaoang, Benguet Gov. Crescencio C. Pacalso, Mountain Province Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr., Ifugao Gov. Pedro Mayam-o, Kalinga Gov. Jocel Baac, Apayao Gov. Elias C. Bulut, Jr., Apayao Rep. Eleanor Bulut-Begtang and Benguet Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan. By Dexter A. See