Supreme Court Associate Justice and UP alumnus Lucas Bersamin has been chosen as the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Bersamin’s appointment as top magistrate by President Rodrigo Duterte was confirmed on November 28. He replaces Teresita Leonardo De Castro who retired on October 8.
Bersamin earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1968 from the then College of Arts and Sciences of UP Diliman. He finished law at the University of the East in 1973, and placed ninth in the Bar examinations that same year. He is a fellow at the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute in Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.
He entered private practice in 1974, becoming a partner in the Purugganan, Lizardo and Bersamin Law Office. In 1986, he was appointed by then President Corazon Aquino as judge on the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 96 at the age of 37, making him the youngest RTC judge in Metro Manila. He became an associate justice on the Court of Appeals in 2003.
In 2009, then President Macapagal-Arroyo appointed Bersamin as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. He has been a member of the judiciary for more than 30 years.
Bersamin was awarded the Best Decision in Civil Law and Best Decision in Criminal Law awards in 2000 during the Judicial Excellence Awards (JEA), and the Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos Award for Judicial Excellence (Outstanding RTC Judge) in the 2002 JEA. In 2006, he was one of UE’s 60 Most Outstanding Alumni Awardees during UE’s Diamond Jubilee Awards.
Hailing from a political clan from Bangued, Abra, Bersamin is the brother of former governor Eustaquio Bersamin and Abra Rep. Luis Bersamin, Jr., who was fatally shot in Quezon City in 2006.
His decisions in recent Supreme Court cases include dismissing plunder charges against President Arroyo and allowing the burial of President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and granting the Duterte administration’s quo warranto petition to remove then Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Bersamin, who is 69 years old this year, retires in October 2019.