Chief Justice Gesmundo Reminds Court Officials and Employees to Stay Healthy and Prevent Spread of COVID-19 Misinformation

February 21, 2022

Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo today reminded all Court officials and employees to stay healthy and to prevent the spread of misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccination.

Speaking after the flag-raising ceremony at the Supreme Court courtyard, the first one held since his appointment as head  of  the  Judiciary in April 2021, the Chief Justice advised everyone to be at their best physically and mentally.

“We must remain vigilant in terms of our physical health. I strongly encourage you, including your dependents, to get vaccine boosters, which we have made accessible to you, again through the efforts of Senior

Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe,” said the  Chief  Justice.  He also urged court employees not to spread misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccination, stressing that “as part  of the judicial branch, we should  be the purveyors of truth.”

Chief Justice Gesmundo also reiterated his vision of a technology- driven Judiciary. He said: “My vision for the Court, as you  must  have heard on a number of occasions…is to have a technology-driven Court, for us to be responsive to the needs of litigants and lawyers; to be more  efficient and accessible, through the use of technology; and to be ethical and accountable to one another, no matter our task or title. I implore you  to reflect on what your vision is for this Court. Consider what we must accomplish individually and together as a court—both today, as we navigate the ongoing pandemic, and also in the coming years.”

Aside from the Chief Justice, Justice Ricardo R. Rosario, Justice Jhosep Y. Lopez, Justice Japar B. Dimaampao, and Justice Jose Midas P. Marquez also addressed the crowd.

Justice Rosario encouraged all “to take advantage of  some  semblance of normalcy prevailing at the moment” by working double time to recover some lost ground that were already achieved prior to COVID-19. He said: “I urge my fellow workers in the Judiciary to exhaust all possible means to double their dedication, and to remain steadfast in their commitment to see to it that justice will no longer be delayed to those who truly deserve it….All hands should be on deck with the single goal of ensuring that the resolution of cases is unduly delayed by COVID-19. I challenge you all to show your patriotism and love of  country  by performing your jobs as public servants with utmost fidelity and dedication.”

Justice Lopez thanked the Almighty God, stressing that “God rewards those who wait and who wait patiently. Everything comes to fruition all in God’s perfect timing.” He pledged his commitment to work even harder for the good of the Court. “I promise to serve with all my loyalty and with all my strength,” he said.

Justice Dimaapao, the second Muslim to be appointed to the High Court since the late retired Justice Abdulwahid Bidin, greeted everyone with the Muslim greeting of peace, assalamu alaikum. He thanked those present for the warm reception and hearty congratulatory messages. “Indeed, my appointment is a special blessing from the Almighty God. For one, it is a providential promotion after serving as Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals for more than 17 years.  For another, it  is historic  in that it will go down in history as an epochal fulfilment of the mandate of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement and the Peace Accord of 1996. It is in effect a due recognition of the four-decade old Sharia system in this country as enshrined in Article 10, Section 2 of Republic Act 11054, otherwise known as the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Needless to say, my promotion manifestly gives veracity to the proverbial saying ‘hope springs eternal,’” said Justice Dimaampao.

Justice Marquez, for his part, thanked Chief Justice Gesmundo for the  trust and confidence, which enabled him to fulfill his responsibilities   as then Court Administrator and prepared him for his tasks as  an  Associate Justice of this Court. He also thanked his colleagues “for making it easy for me to adjust to my new job,” as well as the  Court  officials and personnel of the Court for their unceasing support.

“Like many officials of the Court, I started my career some 31 years ago as an Executive Assistant I. I was not yet a lawyer, I was still in law school. With perseverance, commitment, the right work ethics, and help of all my co-workers, I rose from the ranks to occupy consequential positions. I intend to complete my work in the Court with the same zeal and passion. Let us all continue to work  hard together and serve this  institution we have all chosen to be a part of so that we call be more effective, efficient, and responsive to the needs of all court users,” said Justice Marquez.

It was the first time that Chief Justice Gesmundo and the four Associate Justices publicly addressed the Court officials and employees after a flag-raising ceremony. It has been part of the Court’s tradition to hear welcome messages from newly-appointed members of the Court after their first-flag raising ceremony.

Chief Justice Gesmundo was appointed as head of the Judiciary on April 5, 2021. Justice Rosario was appointed to the High Court on October 8, 2020; Justice Lopez on January 25, 2021; Justice Dimaampao on July 2, 2021; and Justice Marquez on September 27, 2021. ###