MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno S. Aquino III has appointed a New Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (SC) of the Philippines, Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Punzalan Aranal Sereno, the 24th SC Chief Justice and the first woman to be appointed to the top post. She succeeds former Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.
Born July 2, 1960, in Manila, Justice Sereno graduated with honors from the Kamuning Elementary School and Quezon City High School. She studied as a scholar for her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Ateneo de Manila in 1980 and her Bachelor of Laws from University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law, graduating Cum Laude and Class Valedictorian in 1984. After graduation, she joined one of the country's largest law firms, but left in 1986 to teach Civil Law, Negotiable Instruments Law, and International Trade Law at the UP College of Law and at the Philippine Judicial Academy. In 1993, she went to Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the United States of America, to work for her Master of Laws at the University of Michigan Law School as a De Witte Fellow and Ford-Rockefeller Scholar. When she returned to the Philippines, she was appointed legal counselor at the World Trade Organization's Appellate Body Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland. She served on the faculty of The Hague Academy of International Law in Cambodia in 2004.
She co-founded the Accesslaw, a corporation that provided the first annotated electronic search system in Philippine law. A paper on judicial reform that she wrote for the United Nations Development Program became the basis of a program that facilitated the first-ever dialogue between SC Members and representatives of the basic sectors. She was selected as one of Ten Outstanding Women in the Nation's Services (TOWNS) for law. When she was interviewed by the Judicial and Bar Council, she said: "My leadership is to uphold the truth; it is to be exercised in favor of those who are weak; it is to uphold the rule of law in a way that shows no favoritism for the privileged."
Justice Sereno is married to Federation of Philippine Industries International Trade Policy Committee Chairman Mario Jose E. Sereno. They have two children: Maria Sophia and Jose Lorenzo.
The Manila Bulletin, led by its Chairman of the Board Dr. Emilio T. Yap, President and Publisher Atty. Hermogenes P. Pobre, Executive Vice President Dr. Emilio C. Yap III, Editor-in-Chief Dr. Cris J. Icban Jr., Business Editor Loreto D. Cabañes, and Officers, congratulate Associate Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno on her appointment as the 24th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. We wish her all the best and success in all her endeavors. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!