A Multitude of Roles for Women Judges; (Opening Remarks Delivered during the 2008 Convention and Seminar of the Philippine Women Judges Association at the Historic Landmark Manila Hotel, March 7, 2008)

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Byline: Justice MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO

HON. Alfredo S. Lim, City Mayor of Manila; our illustrious keynote speaker Hon. Leonardo A. Quisumbing, Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; my distinguished colleagues in the High Court, Justice Adolfo S. Azcuna, Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-de Castro; esteemed Justices of the Court of Appeals; the contingent from the Court of Appeals in Mindanao led by Executive Justice Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores; Justice Ma. Cristina G. Cortez-Estrada of the Sandiganbayan, and the eminent justices of the Anti-Graft Court; Justice Olga P. Enriquez and the justices of the Court of Tax Appeals; officers and directors of the PWJA; past presidents of the PWJA; my colleagues in the bench, fellow members of the PWJA; your honors; ladies and gentlemen; our honored special guests; friends-good morning! I proudly welcome all of you to the Annual ConventionSeminar of the Philippine Women Judges Association.

It is opportune that this year's Convention-Seminar falls on March, celebrated worldwide as Women's Month, where the focal point of the commemoration is centered on the theme of the 52nd Session of the United Nations Commission on Women, "Financing for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women." It befits the PWJA to reaffirm the equality of women in the eyes of the law. As wielders of judicial power, we stand at parity with men.

Our 2008 ConventionSeminar bears the theme, "Lady Magistrates: Within and Beyond the Halls of Justice." What initially strikes me is the audible message that our theme conveys: That lady magistrates are not confined to the four walls of the hall of justice. The spheres upon which our powers are exercised are multifold. The reach of our influence is extensive. It is critical to acknowledge this because such an awareness propels us to take acute responsibility for our actions and judgments. This year's theme easily suggests that as women jurists, our vision should extend far and beyond the halls of justice.

Within and beyond the halls of justice, we essay a multitude of roles.

Foremost, within these halls, we are tasked to be able managers that are saddled with both administrative and judicial duties. This entails a good grasp of interpersonal relations, psychology, and even, sociology. We are challenged to be good managers that draw from the human resources of our courts, the necessary fuel to keep the wheels of justice in alignment.

No less, within these halls, we too are the dauntless captains that steer the ship away from the tempest to reach the shore. We are at the helm of navigation. As ship captains, we draw the maps which often dictate the course of our judicial voyage. We are in a command position to chart the routes. We traverse the heavy waters of judicial backlog and backlash. We fight the assaults of those that seek to rob the judiciary of its constitutional powers. We also strive to purge from our ranks, the unerring and the unworthy to wear the judicial robe.

Within these halls, we likewise become master architects. We ensure compliance with legal blueprints to attain full-scale construction of our judicial goals and projects. In a way, we lay out the bricks and mortars of the judicature - and this holds especially true for the trial court judges who sit at the forefront of our judicial system.

Lastly, within these halls, we are in a privileged position to be teachers. I do not speak merely of the symbolic function of the bench to educate the bar, but I say this because to the judicial ranks belong the most astute of legal minds who have a long line of academic achievements that are well-articulated into their judicial careers. The judiciary continues to attract and keep a vast pool of bright and intelligent women with the strongest sense of moral uprightness. Deservedly, we are the educators whose actions others mirror and emulate.

No doubt, our role as lady magistrates consists of a skillful balancing of tasks. …