FORMER EXECUTIVE SECRETARY Ronaldo Zamora assured the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) that he would not give any preferential treatment to the family of the former strongman Ferdinand Marcos if he is appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Zamora, a former congressman who also served as Assistant Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs for President Marcos, acknowledged that he had close ties to the late President.

“Nagsimula ako sa gobyerno nung panahon ni Marcos, nandun ako hanggang mapalitan ang gobyerno,” Zamora said. “I always thought of him as, not just the President, I thought of him in a slightly more personal way, as a mentor.”

Zamora was asked the question after the JBC noted his long history as a politician, shifting between the executive and the legislative. Zamora had served Marcos as Assistant Executive Secretary and Minister of Public Works from 1972 to 1978, before winning a seat in the National Assembly representing the National Capital Region.

However, Zamora said he would like to see the Marcos cases have closure, saying that the cases against the Marcoses have been going on for almost 30 years.

“Malinaw po na dapat ang mga kaso ay matapos na. The Marcoses are old enough and they are mature enough, they can defend themselves properly,” Zamora said. “Bakit hindi natin tapusin. Anuman ang desisyon, after 20 years, matapos lamang ang mga kaso, pati sila (Marcoses) magpapasalamat.”

Zamora also dismissed concerns that he was a politician applying for a post in the judiciary, saying his stint in politics had prepared him to serve in another branch of the government. After the Edsa Revolt in 1986, Zamora had served as congressman of San Juan until 1998, when he accepted the post of Executive Secretary of then President Joseph Estrada.

Zamora said this experience “gives me a better sense of how to deal with people, a better sense of how to answer questions and supply solutions for very large problems.”

Zamora added that he could “claim more independence than the usual.”

“For one thing I did not even for the President the last time around,” Zamora said. “I do not owe anybody a political obligation, I do not owe anyone a personal favor. I simply owe myself and the Constitution I try to serve.”

If appointed Chief Justice, Zamora said he would try to “bring the law to ordinary persons.”

For example, Zamora said he would like to start the transition of the language of the law to the national language, noting that there are now two languages used in the justice system – English for Justices, Judges, and lawyers, and Filipino for everyone else.

“We have court interpreters, but aren’t these supposed to be courts in the Philippines? yet we need someone to interpret to ordinary applicants the language used by the courts.”

For her part, Securities and Exchange Commission chairperson Teresita Herbosa also said independence was one of her major advantages over other aspirants to the Supreme Court.

Herbosa confirmed to the JBC that she is one of the direct descendants of national hero Jose Rizal. Herbosa’s great great grandmother was the sister of Rizal.

Asked what qualities or traits qualify her for the position, Herbosa responded with this: “I would like to think on a personal level that the traits I saw from my grand aunt and grandfather were traits they learned from my uncle (Rizal).”

These traits, Herbosa said, are that “you are not entitled to any advantage or preference in life, no sense of entitlement. You have to work for everything you want, and in the process of working, you are not supposed to step on the shoes of other people or be unfair and unjust in dealing with people.”



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