Friday, June 5, 2009

Court of Appeals Justice Josefina Salonga's CLEAN RECORD


The following articles commend Justice Josefina Guevara-Salonga:


Appellate court justice top choice for vacancy

ASSOCIATE Justice Josefina Guevara-Salonga of the Court of Appeals has emerged as the Supreme Court’s top choice to fill one of the two vacancies in the 15-member bench, an official said yesterday. (


Supreme Court submits 6 names to JBC

During a meeting, the justices voted for Court of Appeals Justices Josefina Salonga (eight votes), Martin Villarama (seven votes) and Remedios Salazar-Fernando (six votes), Sandiganbayan Justice Francisco Villaruz (seven votes), lawyer Rodolfo Robles (six votes), and University of Sto. Tomas law school Dean Robert Abad (five votes).

The JBC rules state that the council would give due weight to the Supreme Court’s nominees when it draws up a short list of nominees for the President’s consideration in appointing new high court justices. (


In the context of the CA, the banality of heroism is making its appearance. There seems to be a movement, spearheaded by whom I have in a previous column called “good apples,” to correct the CA’s sorry situation. They have been aroused from their bystander, evil-of-inaction stupor by the Supreme Court investigation and sanctions of some of their colleagues, as well as their realization that the CA has reached a nadir as far as public opinion is concerned.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported Friday that eight senior CA justices met with Chief Justice Reynato Puno and informed him about their plan to forge a covenant “to show their commitment to improving the judiciary and restoring the public’s faith in it.” [See report] It goes without saying that these eight are among the “good apples,” half of them (Justices Lucas Bersamin, Edgardo Cruz, Portia Hormachuelos and Josefina Salonga) being recipients of Judicial Excellence Awards. (



Salonga stressed that a more important factor in her application to the High Court is her “clean record.

“The [judiciary] is a small world,” she said, adding that lawyers, litigants and fellow justices could attest to her independence. Salonga has been in the judiciary for more than 20 years.

“My track record would back me up,” she added.

She challenged her critics to look at her decisions, which she said established her competence. She cited the most recent case she handled along with justices Lucas Bersamin, who has now been appointed to the SC, and Justice Japar Dimaampao. Both members of a Court of Appeals special division, which she chaired.

The division was tasked by the SC to hear the land dispute case between Manotok Realty Inc. and CLT Realty Development Corp. The two are caught in a legal tussle over the ownership of 1,000 hectares of the disputed Maysilo Estate in Caloocan City and Malabon.

The High Tribunal adopted the findings of the special division, and ruled that the Manotok Realty Inc. and Araneta Institute of Agriculture have the rightful claim over the said property, and not CLT Realty Development Corp. and the heirs of Jose Dimson.

“The Report is a commendably exhaustive and pellucid analysis of the issues referred to the Special Division. It is a more than adequate basis for this Court to make the following final dispositions in these cases,” the SC said in its resolution dated March 2009.


She furthered that issues about her dismal performance in the bar exam was already raised when she vied for her post in the Court of Appeals.

“The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) however noted that I was awarded for judicial excellence as a regional trial court judge,” she said.

During Salonga’s term as Makati Regional Trial Court executive judge from 1997 to 2000, she was granted the Justice Felicisimo Feria Award for Judicial Excellence in 1997. The award recognizes members of the judiciary who maintained a high disposal rate and introduced reforms in the court.

She later became a member and chairperson of the screening committee of the Society for Judicial Excellence, which gives the awards. (


In the records of the JBC, it is written that she disposed of 10 cases; seven cases were submitted to her for decision as of August 2008.

The bright spot is this: She disposed of 115 cases by decision from January to September, 2008; 215 cases for the whole year of 2007 and 217 cases for 2006.

Maybe this proves what we have often said that tests do not really test.  (



A UP Law Class '66 graduate and an RTC Judge for 13 years, Justice JOSEFINA GUEVARA-SALONGA was the Executive Judge of the Makati Regional Trial Court from 1997 to 2000 and a recipient of the Justice Felicisimo Feria Award for Judicial Excellence for 1997. During her 14-year stint as a Public Prosecutor in Laguna, she was chosen Most Outstanding Fiscal for Region IV in 1978 by the C.I.S. She started her career in the government as Legal Researcher in 1972 and literally rose from the ranks. She was the First Designated Special Prosecutor of the Ombudsman in Laguna; top One in the Disposition of Cases NCJR in 1994; ranked among the first five, performance-wise in the Makati courts, managing to keep her caseload below 100; cited by POEA 1997 for her efficient handling of Illegal Recruitment cases; Member, Screening Committee in the search for Judicial Excellence Awardees for 1998, 1999, 2000 & 2002; Lecturer in DILG-PNP sponsored seminars; delegate to the Philippine-Australian Judiciary Dialogue in Sydney, NSW (March 6-18, 2000); Director of the UP Law Alumni Association in 1990; Ulirang Ina Awardee for 2001; Outstanding Alumna of Colegio de Sta. Catalina de Sena in 1990; Graduated High Valedictorian in said school; was a regular columnist (Christian-at-law) the Christian Life Newsletter. (


THREE Court of Appeals Justices who are known for their integrity and wisdom were tasked by the Supreme Court to handle the controversial Maysilo land case. The appellate court has a total of 69 justices.

Justice Josefina Guevarra-Salonga will sit as chairman of the special division that will handle the Maysilo land case. Justices Lucas Bersamin and Japar Dimaampao will sit as senior member and junior member, respectively. (


Salonga, who is 9th in seniority in the SC, said she proved her mettle of being independent when she ruled, despite outside pressures, to hold the hearings of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s petition for habeas corpus at the CA instead at Camp Aguinaldo which the military wanted.

She said she prevailed upon then Presiding Justice Romeo Brawner to take her side. “I told him we cannot surrender the right of the Court to hear the case (in the CA),” Salonga said.

Salonga also batted for public disclosure of the justices Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Networth (SALN) as part of transparency. The SALN of justices, despite the absence of exemptions in the law, are not open for scrutiny by the public.  (


I was sad, when I searched Josefina Salonga on the Internet.  The first thing I saw was criticism from the press.  I realize how titles of an article attract readers.   I am hoping that my blog becomes the first thing people will see when they search for Court of Appeals Justice Josefina Salonga.

I could only assume that the news focused on one issue regarding Justice Salonga, because they could not find anything else that would attract the readers.  Did the news/newspapers write about how she is where she is, due to her honesty and integrity?  

There are those people stating that people are lobbying for her.  Do they know that Justice Salonga did NOT ask them to do that for her?  Do they know that people that are lobbying for her are doing so at their own will?  Are you going to tell me that if your friend were running for a position, you wouldn't support them if you believed that they were meant to be in that position?  It is to no fault of Justice Salonga that there are those that support her.

I remember when someone that I knew became Vice-President of the Philippines.  She NEVER asked me to put in a good word for her.  She has always told me that things are meant to be if it's God's will.  She has friends that are fortunate to be friends of the President of the Philippines, but she has not asked any of her friends to lobby for her.  If her friends did, it was their choice to do so.

My blog is to inform the readers that Justice Salonga has a CLEAN RECORD!  Since they could not find any dirt, they found one thing that they chose to write about.  If you loved and cared for your Father, would you be able to concentrate on anything?  Wouldn't your thoughts be with your Father?

This is MY OPINION.  I wasn't asked to write this!  I happen to admire Court of Appeals Justice Salonga's integrity.  There's a reason why she clinched votes from half of the 15-member SC.

God is good!...  May God's will be done.