Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo has exhorted all lawyers in the country to support the Supreme Court’s five-year reform program for the judiciary to enhance and achieve a fair, transparent, accountable and in real-time justice for all Filipinos.
Gesmundo made the call during the Grand Alumni Homecoming of the Ateneo de Manila University’s Law School held last Friday, Nov. 25, at the Centennial Hall of the historic landmark Manila Hotel.
“It is no exaggeration to say that the effectiveness of the Supreme Court and the entire judiciary is dependent on you, the members of the Philippine Bar,” Gesmundo said.
“The Court cannot fulfill its constitutional mandate without your support. As officers of the Court, lawyers are responsible for maintaining the dignity of the profession, and by so doing, strengthen and fortify the trust of our people, not just in lawyers, but in the whole Filipino justice system,” the top magistrate added.
“A trustworthy judiciary is a cornerstone of a functioning and healthy democracy, and a trustworthy judiciary can exist only if the members of the Bar are equally trustworthy and dedicated to the rule of law,” he said.
Appealing for his co-lawyers from AdeMU’s Law School, Gesmundo said: “Your support truly is essential. The effective administration of justice is only possible with the genuine support of all the stakeholders of the justice system, whether in the public or private sectors, the academe, or specialized fields.”
According to the SC Public Information Office, Gesmundo, who obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree from AdeMU in 1984, is among the seven incumbent SC justices who are graduates of the Law School.
The others are Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa, who was the chairperson of the committee of the just concluded 2022 online and regionalized Bar examinations; and Associate Justices Henri Jean Paul B. Inting, Rodil V. Zalameda, Ricardo R. Rosario, Jose Midas P. Marquez (Batch 1993), and Maria Filomena D. Singh.
Justice Inting was a graduate of the Ateneo de Davao University.
During the celebration, Justice Zalameda was unanimously chosen by the Ateneo Law Alumni Association, Inc. (ALAAI) as among the recipients of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
The award is given to alumni “who have brought honor and distinction to the Ateneo Law School through their laudable achievements and who have inspired others to value and respect the law as an instrument of truth, peace, order, and justice.”
Also present during the affair was Assistant Court Administrator and PIO Chief and Spokesperson Brian Keith F. Hosaka, who belongs to the Ateneo Law School Class of 1998 which is the host of 2022 homecoming dubbed as “True Blue in ’22.”
In his message, Gesmundo also thanked the ALAAI for “the great honor and privilege” of nominating him as SC associate justice in 2017.
“I was humbled to receive your nomination in 2017, and I most probably would not have been the Chief Justice today had I not started as an Associate Justice. Thank you for putting your trust and faith in me, your schoolmate from the Ateneo Law School,” Gesmundo said.
Gesmundo said the Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations (SPJI) 2022-2027 “is anchored on four guiding principles: Timely and Fair Justice, Transparent and Accountable Justice, Equal and Inclusive Justice, and Technologically Adaptive Management.”
“These principles will propel the Court towards achieving three outcomes: Efficiency, Innovation, and Access,” he said.
Paying tribute to AdeMU, Gesmundo said: “The Ateneo has always been at the forefront of social change, reform, and public service, and that it has a proud legacy of countless alumni choosing to serve in the public sector.”
“This is what the Ateneo has taught us: our excellence as lawyers is measured first and foremost by our service to the human family. To be ‘the best’ is not the goal; to be the best we can for our communities, our country — that is the goal.”
“This is what it means to be an Atenean lawyer: that we have a duty to do the best for our country, and in this regard, by supporting the rule of law and strengthening trust in our legal and judicial system,” the Chief Justice stressed.
The PIO said that also present during the homecoming celebration were former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former First Gentleman Atty. Jose Miguel Arroyo; First Lady Atty. Liza Araneta-Marcos; Senator Francis Tolentino; Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos, Manila 4thDistrict Rep. Edward Maceda, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra, Elections Commissioner Ernesto Maceda, Jr.;
Retired SC Associate Justice and former Philippine Judicial Academy Chancellor Adolfo S. Azcuna; Court of Appeals Justices Manuel Barrios, Jose Lorenzo dela Rosa, and Raymond Lauigan; Sandiganbayan Justice Zaldy Trespeses, Energy Undersecretary Sharon Garin, Information and Technology Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar, and former Justice Secretary and Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.