Sereno is first woman Philippines chief justice

Maria Lourdes Punzalan Aranal-Sereno was appointed over the weekend as the new chief justice of the Philippines in a move local commentators predict will focus attention on a judicial reform agenda in the country.
Chief Justice Sereno: a gender first for Philippines

Chief Justice Sereno: a gender first for Philippines

Not only does the judge become the second youngest – at 52 – to hold the top judicial slot, she is also the first woman in the role. Writing on local web site Rappler, law professor Theodore Te says the new chief justice must wrestle with the question of ‘how exactly does the constitution guide the court and exactly how does the constitution envision the Supreme Court as an instrument of reform, transformation and change’.  

Gender politics

Writing in the Philippine Star newspaper, Jose Sison speculates that Chief Justice Sereno’s gender played an important role in her appointment. The columnist describes her as being an ‘insider’ in the local legal fraternity, but nonetheless an interesting appointment as all the other insiders on the short list were ‘more senior to her’.
Mr Sison points out that the country’s current leader – known as PNoy – is the son of the Philippines first woman president. According to Mr Sison, the president may well have appointed Chief Justice Sereno ‘because he believes that women like his mother are more trustworthy and hardworking, and could thus serve our country more faithfully’.


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