PRESIDENT Macapagal-Arroyo has appointed a UST Faculty of Civil Law professor as one of four new Court of Appeals (CA) associate justices.

In an interview with the Varsitarian, Justice Lucas Bersamin said he and Justices Hakim Abdulwahid, Rosmari Carandang, and Noel Tijam were chosen by the President from among 18 nominees of the seven-member Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to fill up four CA associate justice vacancies.

The JBC is composed of the Chief of Justice, the Secretary of Justice, a representative from the Senate, another from the House of Representatives, and four other members appointed by the President. Former UST Law Dean Amado Dimayuga is a member of the JBC.

Before his appointment, Bersamin had been Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge since November 1986.

Bersamin, 53, said that his awards, decisions, and overall performance as RTC judge since 1986 were major factors in his CA appointment.

He admitted that he had been expecting the appointment for a long time.

“I started applying since I was 42 years old. After five years in law kasi puwede na, but there seems to be an unwritten rule that a justice cannot be nominated to the CA if he or she is younger than 50 years old,” Bersamin said.

“But then, there’s no such thing as being ‘overripe’ or waiting too long. It’s just a matter of being nominated,” he added.

Bersamin also said he hopes to be promoted to the Supreme Court before he retires from the judiciary.

“Well, time is on my side. Our mandatory retirement age is 70, so I’m looking into 16 and a half years for that promotion,” he said.

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Bersamin earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of the Philippines in 1968 and his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the East (UE) in 1973. He placed ninth in the 1973 bar examinations.

In 2000, Bersamin started teaching in the UST Faculty of Civil Law as a “temporary” substitute for Justice Alfredo Benipayo.

Bersamin said he is grateful to the Faculty of Civil Law for giving him teaching loads even after Benipayo returned, adding he will continue teaching in the University despite his appointment. He is now a member of the UST Pre-Bar Review faculty.

“I was busier when I was a trial judge. I will probably have more time because my job here (in the CA) basically entails thinking and writing,” Bersamin said. “Besides, UST has already become a second home for me. It is such a great institution that is not so easy to leave and I hope I would continue to contribute to the UST students even as a CA associate justice.”

Bersmin also teaches in UE and the Far Eastern University. He gives lectures at the UP Law Center and other law schools. Elka Krystle R. Requinta

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