CJ hopeful: Corona trial inspired 'outsiders' like me to try out for the job
Former University of the Philippines dean Raul Pangalangan on Wednesday credited the impeachment and eventual ouster of former Chief Justice Renato Corona for the crop of so-called Supreme Court "outsiders" like him vying to become the next top judge.
JBC interviews 2nd batch of CJ nominees. Lawyer Rafael Morales (left to right), UP College of Law Dean Raul Pangalangan and SC Justice Roberto Abad wait to be interviewed on the second day of the Judicial and Bar Council interview at the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Danny Pata
During his public interview before the Judicial and Bar Council, Pangalangan claimed that the four-month Senate impeachment trial encouraged non-justices like him to try and secure the post vacated by Corona last May 29.
"[Before,] no outsider [would have had] the nerve to accept nomination for CJ. But because of the impeachment trial, here we are," Pangalangan said. "Had it not been for the impeachment trial, no outsider [would] be sitting before the JBC."
Of the 20 candidates for the position, six are current Supreme Court magistrates, and the rest are the so-called "ousiders".
As chief justice, Pangalangan said he would "bring his colleagues toward core agreements on key issues and to speak with a clear voice on constitutional norms." He said that his top three priorities would be the consolidation of the institution, implementation of administrative reforms, and addressing staff morale and benefits.
He added that though the Supreme Court is considered apolitical, it is still plagued by a "distinct source of political pressure."
Pangalangan said that having a Supreme Court spokesman -- a post currently held by attorney Gleo Guerra -- was proof that the high court was not immune from political pressures.
"Inherited wisdom says SC speaks only through its decisions. We have to strengthen the SC so it can stand firm versus political pressure," he said.
Pangalangan brought up his time at the University of the Philippines when talking about labor issues.
"As administrator in UP, I always pushed [for] improving the quality of life of employees," he said.
Pangalangan was general counsel and secretary of the UP Board of Regents from 1990 to 1992. He served as Dean of the College of Law from 1999 to 2005.
When asked about the worst criticism leveled at him, Pangalangan said it was the opposition to his deanship at UP Law. "I was a dean loved by no one except his wife," he said.
A comprehensive profile of Pangalangan and the other 19 candidates for the chief justice post can be accessed through GMA News Online's interactive package. - BM, GMA News
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