Published: Thursday 17 May, 2018

Discrimination? No Woman for Next Chief Justice Says Duterte: ‘Hindi Babae!’

President Rodrigo Duterte does not want another woman as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. What does he have against women? Can Duterte be accused of discrimination? I’m sure women’s groups will have something to say about this.

In an ambush interview in Malacanang on Wednesday, Duterte was asked what characteristics he wants in choosing the next Chief Justice. The president started by saying he wants someone with integrity. Then, he ruled out politicians. But then, his next statement probably made many women cringe.

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“Gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” Duterte told Malacanang reporters.

Ouch! So that means SC Associate Justice Teresita De Castro is out of the running. So, too, is Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, and any other female aspirant that the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will nominate for the president to choose from.

Duterte has a  number of women in his Cabinet. In fact, he recently appointed a woman as Tourism secretary (Bernadette Romulo-Puyat) to replace another woman (Wanda Tulfo Teo). But for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he doesn’t want a woman. Why? Only he knows.

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Does this mean he won’t choose a woman for Ombudsman as well?

The position of Chief Justice is now vacant after Ma. Lourdes Sereno, the first female Chief Justice in the Philippines, was ousted via a quo warranto plea, with the Supreme Court voting 8-6. The Court has since directed the JBC to open applications, nomination and screening of the next chief justice for recommendation to the president.