Magistrate Jericho Quiro was elected as the new Chief Magistrate of the Judiciary branch during the University Student Government’s (USG) joint session last March 27 on Zoom. Quiro narrowly won over Magistrate Andre Miranda in a 31-30 split vote, prompting USG President Maegan Ragudo to call for a “double checking” of ballots.
The meeting was attended by members of the Executive Board, college presidents, batch presidents, and Legislative Assembly (LA) representatives.
‘For a better USG’
Quiro outlined three main areas of focus for his plans, namely, connection, relationship building, and internal development. Aiming to further digitize the processes in the Judiciary branch, Quiro wants to create a centralized court docket system, which he explained will allow the public to see the progress of cases in real time.
He also expressed interest in revamping the Judiciary’s visual branding to strengthen online engagement. He said logos and published materials should adhere to the guidelines formulated by the Judicial Communications Committee to produce a “consistent and standard look.”
The new head judge also proposed organizing an event where the student body can consult with counsel officers on any concerns they may have. “By providing an avenue for a simple explanation, we can produce an educated studentry aware of their responsibilities and rights,” he posed.
Being in one of the first student governments in the country to have a Judiciary branch, Quiro stressed the importance of building relationships with other student judicial bodies in universities such as Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University-Dasmariñas.
Meanwhile, his plans to reinforce internal development include drafting the USG Code of Magisterial Conduct, introducing a centralized documentation identification system, and creating a unified introductory course for all the Judiciary committees.
These plans of action, Quiro stated, would serve as the core to a “stronger Judiciary for our studentry and for a better USG.”
Although he originally withdrew his nomination for Chief Magistrate along with Magistrate Reginald Bayeta IV, Magistrate Andre Miranda was again nominated by Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business College President Marcus Guillermo, which prompted Miranda to hold an impromptu presentation of his platforms.
He explained that he initially pulled out his nomination because he felt “the Judiciary deserves a better leader than me” but nevertheless accepted Guillermo’s offer “para hindi mapahiya si Mr. President (Guillermo).”
(So Mr. President will not be humiliated.)
Miranda had intended to create a committee in charge of performing a monthly review of the Judiciary’s internal policies. He also planned to hold a simulation of court processes and invite lawyers, paralegals, and law students as resource speakers to share their expertise in legal practice to instill legal passion among members of the Judiciary.
Furthermore, Miranda aimed to provide annotated versions of the USG Constitution, the Rules of Court, and the USG Administrative Code to help guide future magistrates and counsel officers in interpreting the USG’s laws.
“This is my greatest plan for the Judiciary even after I retire,” he said.
Traces of ‘partisanship’
EXCEL2022 LA Representative Aeneas Hernandez asked the two nominees if they observed traces of political partisanship within the Judiciary. Miranda answered that there is none and added that the branch requires recruits to execute an affidavit stating that they were never affiliated with any political parties and student media organizations.
“That affidavit is a very powerful legal document which can be used against you,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Quiro asserted that he has “not detected a single speck of partisanship” among officers in the Judiciary and asserted that the branch will remain impartial and independent.
“I do not plan to tolerate it in any case whatsoever, whether or not I am a Chief Magistrate,” Quiro assured.