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Lawyer-academician Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno was appointed on August 16, 2010 as the 169th Justice and on August 24, 2012 as the 24th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Born on July 2, 1960, she is the youngest to be so appointed to the SC in this century. She may also be one of the longest-serving ever, as she is to mandatorily retire in 2030 after serving a 20-year term.
Despite her family’s humble means, Chief Justice Sereno’s parents were able to nurture in her a passion for learning and personal excellence during her formative years. Her father, a native of Siasi, Sulu, and her mother, a public school teacher, saved what little money they had to buy second-hand books that she would eagerly read. Her appetite for literature and reflection served her well during her primary schooling and enabled her to graduate with honors at the Kamuning Elementary School and Quezon City High School. She was then awarded generous scholarships by the government and several private institutions that allowed her to earn an Economics degree at the Ateneo de Manila University, and a Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of the Philippines.
After graduating valedictorian from the UP College of Law in 1984, Chief Justice Sereno joined the largest law firm in the country. While she enjoyed her very challenging work in the law firm, her family started to grow. Choosing to spend more time with her two young children and her husband, she opted to leave the law firm in 1986.
She joined the UP College of Law where she was able to mold young men and women in the principles of Civil and Commercial law. From being one of the youngest faculty members, she would eventually go on to lead and administer two institutions based in the UP Law Center – the Institute of International Legal Studies and the Information and Publication Division. She was a professor at the UP College of Law for nearly 20 years. She has also taught at the Philippine Judicial Academy and several international academies.
In 1992, Chief Justice Sereno was awarded a De Witte Fellowship and a Ford-Rockefeller Scholarship to pursue her Masters of Laws at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she developed her proficiency in law and economics and international trade law. When she and her family returned to the Philippines, she played a key role in developing those fields of law.
At the age of 38, she was appointed as legal counsellor at the World Trade Organizations’ Appellate Body Secretariat in Geneva. Her international experience and her pioneering achievements in the legal profession were recognized when she was selected as one of The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) for law.
At the age of 39, she was chosen as the only female member of the 1999 Preparatory Commission on Constitutional Reform where she was elected Chairperson of the Commission’s Steering Committee. Here, she helped the various sectoral committees identify key constitutional issues, and integrated their findings into a common framework for analysis of the various constitutional provisions. In the same year, together with Justice Jose Campos, Commissioner Haydee Yorac, and other professors from the UP College of Law, she co-founded Accesslaw, a corporation that provided the first annotated electronic research system in Philippine law.
Access to justice is one of the centerpiece advocacies of Chief Justice Sereno. One of her earlier works in law school included a review of the interface between domestic laws and indigenous customary laws. The United Nations Development Program would commission her to write a paper on judicial reform, which would eventually become the basis for the first external reform program that was welcomed by the Supreme Court. Among the activities the project birthed was the first-ever dialogue between the Members of the Supreme Court and representatives of the basic sectors. She also assisted in the High Tribunal’s pilot projects on mediation and judicial case management systems, and wrote a widely-quoted survey-based paper on justice and the cost of doing business, together with professors from the UP School of Economics.
Prior to her joining the Court, she was engaged in major international litigation as co-counsel for the Republic, after which she joined the Asian Institute of Management as Executive Director of its think-tank - the AIM Policy Center - where she pursued her interest in policy reform and its impact on governance and the economy.
Believing in what she could deliver for justice and judicial reform, President Benigno C. Aquino III made her his first appointee to the Supreme Court.
She is married to Mario Jose E. Sereno. They are blessed with two children, Maria Sophia and Jose Lorenzo.
December 8, 2017, 50th Anniversary of PALS, Solaire, Paranaque
December 8, 2017, 30th Anniversary of JBC, PICC, Pasay City
December 7, 2017, 14th Metrobank Professorial Chair Lecture, En Banc Session Hall, SC, Manila
December 4, 2017, CFAG Year-End Activity, Crowne Plaza, Quezon City
November 29, 2017, 25th Anniversary of CFAG, Blue Leaf Filipinas
November 20, 2017, Inauguration and Blessing of the New Valenzuela RTC, Valenzuela
November 23, 2017, Human Rights Summit, SMX, SM Aura, Taguig
November 6, 2017, 8th IOJT Conference Opening Ceremony, Shangrila Fort, Taguig
October 20, 2017, 2017 Search for Outstanding Judges and Clerks of Court, Manila Hotel
October 11, 2017, PTJLI 24th Convention Seminar, Palo, Leyte
October 14, 2017, Talakayang Alay sa Bayan (TALAB), Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City
September 21, 2017, Unveiling of the Ka Pepe Diokno Statue, CHR, QC
September 16, 2017, Conspeakcuity, Adamson University, Manila
Ulat ng Hudikatura 2017
The Economic Landscape of the Visayas and Judicial Reform
August 17, 2017, Formal Opening of the SWS Knowledge Center, Malingap St., QC
August 18, 2017, PRAISE Retirement Luncheon, SC Centennial Bldg
August 3, 2017, Third National Family Courts Summit, Manila Hotel
July 11, 2017, IBP Inaugural Dinner, Manila Hotel
June 21, 2017, Commencement Exercises of Bulacan State University College of Law, Malolos, Bulacan
June 19, 2017, Revised Small Claims Procedure Information Campaign Kick-Off, Trinoma, QC
June 9, 2017, 116th SC Anniversary, Supreme Court, Manila
May 22, 2017, Oathtaking of Bar 2016 Passers, MOA Arena, Pasay
May 26, 2017, Ateneo Commencement Exercises, ADMU, Quezon City
May 18, 2017, Training-Seminar on the Revised Guidelines on the Continuous Trial System for Criminal Cases, SMX, Pasay City
March 15, 2017, Launch of CJ Panganiban's Book With Due Respect 2, DLSU Law BGC, Taguig
March 24, 2017, 16th IBP National Convention of Lawyers, Marriott, Pasay City
February 23 2017, GOJUST Programme Launch, Manila Hotel
January 25, 2017, MAP Inaugural Meeting and Induction of Officers, Manila Peninsula, Makati
January 24, 2017, Presentation of Top 10 Teams for the ICDC for the NSCC, Supreme Court, Manila
December 16, 2016, SC Christmas Party, Supreme Court, Manila
December 1, 2016, Awarding Ceremony for Liberty and Prosperity Scholars, UP BGC, Taguig City
November 6, 2016, Breakfast Meeting with the Phil. Assoc. of Law Schools (PALS), University of Sto. Tomas, Manila
October 27, 2016, 2nd National Family Courts Summit, Manila Hotel
September 6, 2016, International Conceptual Design Competition for the NSCC, Supreme Court, Manila
September 2, 2016, 70th Anniv of UP WILOCI, Manila Polo Club, Makati
August 24, 2016, Final Event of EPJUST II Programme, Marco Polo, Ortigas, Pasig
July 22, 2016, Testimonial Luncheon for the 2016 PRAISE Awardees, Supreme Court, Manila
June 23, 2016, Launch of the Module and Handbooks on the ACET-TIP, Supreme Court, Manila
June 13, 2016, International Scientific Congress on Private Law of the Philippines and Spain, Ateneo Law School, Makati City
June 12, 2016, 118th Independence Day, Quezon City Hall, QC
June 10, 2016, SC 115th Anniversary, Supreme Court, Manila
May 20, 2016, 5th Plenary Assembly of PHILJA Corps of Professors, CA Auditorium, Court of Appeals, Manila
March 10, 2016, PWJA 21st Annual Convention-Seminar, Manila Hotel
March 1, 2016, 5th Anniv Forum Arangkada Phils, Marriott, Pasay
February 4, 2016, ASEAN Chief Justices' Working Group Meeting, Tagaytay City
February 1, 2016, CA 80th Anniversary, CA Auditorium, Court of Appeals
January 15, 2016, Retirement of Justice Martin Villarama, Manila Hotel
January 14, 2016, FINEX Meeting and Induction Ceremony, Makati Shangri-la, Makati