Unlike the appointment of a Supreme Court chief justice back in the spring, President Aquino appointed Lourdes Aranal-Sereno as the new associate justice without much political hassle or controversy. Her credentials are pretty strong – Sereno received A.B. Economics at the Ateneo de Manila University and received her law degree from UP. Before joining the court, she was Executive Director of the Asian Institute of Management Policy Center and also a faculty member at PHILJA, as well as other institutions. For more details, here is a brief backgrounder on her.
However, Sereno wasn’t the Judicial and Bar Council’s first choice. The JBC must nominate three candidates for any Supreme Court vacancy, and the president must chose one of those three. However, in this case, Aquino asked the JBC for other names lower down on its list. Sereno was ranked 6th. There’s some speculation that Aquino chose her because she was a friend and classmate at Ateneo, but he denies ever having met her before the appointment.
I doubt this will amount to much politically for Aquino, but it’s still a slight oddity in otherwise a relatively successful de-thawing of executive-judicial relations.