Maria Lourdes Aranal Sereno (born Maria Lourdes Punzalan Aranal; July 2, 1960) is the 24th and current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. At age 52, she became the second youngest person and the first woman to head the judiciary.
In August 2010, she was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, its 169th Member and the first appointee to the High Court by President Benigno Aquino III. Sereno is the youngest appointee to the Supreme Court since Manuel Moran in 1945, but she was surpassed by Marvic Leonen in 2012 at the age of 49, and the 13th woman appointed as a Supreme Court Justice.
On 24 August 2012, President Aquino announced his appointment of Justice Sereno as the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, replacing Renato Corona, who was removed from office in May 2012 after being convicted in an impeachment trial. She is currently on leave since March 1, 2018 in the midst of impeachment proceedings against her. Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio currently serves as Acting Chief Justice, previously served during the transition between Corona's impeachment and appointment of Sereno.
Sereno was born on July 2, 1960 in Manila to a Margarito Aranal, a native of Siasi, Sulu and Soledad Punzalan, who served as a public school teacher. She is married to Mario Jose E. Sereno of Davao City. They have two children, Maria Sophia and Jose Lorenzo.
Sereno graduated Class salutatorian from Kamuning Elementary School in 1972 and graduated with Honors from Quezon City High School in 1976.
She earned a bachelor's degree in economics at the Ateneo de Manila University in 1980, and her Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines College of Law at Diliman, graduating as class valedictorian in 1984.
Chief Justice Sereno is also an alumna of the UP Portia Sorority.
Sereno started her career as a junior associate of the Sycip Salazar Feliciano and Hernandez law firm.
She was the only female member of the 1999 Preparatory Commission on Constitutional Reform where she headed the commission’s Steering Committee. In the same year, 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.
She also served as legal counsel for various government offices including the Office of the President, Office of the Solicitor General, Manila International Airport Authority, and the Department of Trade and Industry. She previously headed the Information and Public Division office of the UP Law Complex. She was also a faculty member at The Hague Academy of International Law in Cambodia.
At the time of her appointment, Sereno was Executive Director of the Asian Institute of Management Policy Center. She was also the President of Accesslaw Inc., had taught at University of the Philippines College of Law for 19 years, and has served as a consultant for the United Nations, World Bank, and US Agency for International Development.
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