MANILA Newly-appointed Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin on Wednesday said he plans to make his stint count in terms of resolving the problems facing the judiciary.
Bersamin, 69, took his oath of office as Chief Justice before Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio who some said was a close contender for the post. The two will reach mandatory retirement age within days of each other in October next year.
"It will be a work-filled 11 months," Bersamin said as he answered newsmen's question for the first time as head magistrate.
"Leaving a legacy will be foremost in my mind," Bersamin said, adding that among his immediate concerns about the judiciary and the working relationship between the lower courts and the Supreme Court (SC).
The magistrate said, "by reaching out to our people in the field" the SC may "correct the perception that we do not care about the lower courts."
The magistrate also said court workers must be mindful of their duties as state employees and bear in mind that they "are not the owners of the office,"
Bersamin, who assured the court during his watch will remain impartial, said he feels "the government (lawyers) often have better arguments than the other side,"
Bersamin is the most senior-serving member of the high court in terms of service.
In 1986, he was appointed a trial court judge in Quezon City by President Corazon Aquino. In 2003, Bersamin was elevated to the Court of Appeals by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Bersamin is the sibling of the late Rep. Luis Bersamin Jr. of Abra and three-term provincial governor Eustaquio P. Bersamin.
His father, the late Luis F. Bersamin Sr., was the provincial governor shortly after World War II. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency