Does new Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno have enough emotional intelligence to run the Supreme Court?

Reports of the emotional health of newly-appointed Supreme Court Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno continue to make discussion fodder for the Philippines’ chattering classes. Sereno is noted for being rated a four on a 1-to-5 psychological stability scale (5 being the lowest) by a test administered by the Judicial Bar Council (JBC). According to “unverified” news reports, she was allegedly characterised as “dramatic and emotional”. Yet, despite Malacañang reportedly brushing off the results of that psych test, the administration of President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III has been compelled to issue statements aimed at discrediting that information…

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said such a report is deemed unconfirmed, at least for now.

“Hindi naman verified ang sources niyan, unconfirmed reports. Sinama ng JBC sa shortlist ang ngayong Chief Justice, si Chief Justice Sereno. Hindi na kami magkukumento roon,” she said on government-run dzRB radio.

When asked if the Palace considers the psychological test moot, she said, “It’s not that. [The supposed information] is not an official release from the JBC….”

Much has been said about Sereno’s relative youth and gender — a lot of it the usual positive affirmations associated with being young: “fresh perspective”, “energetic”, yadda yadda, and being female: (I’ll do the sensible thing and not comment about that). But youth is a double-edged sword. The young also lack the benefit of seasoning that comes with experience. And in a society such as the Philippines where gray hairs and a penis are held at a premium in politics, administration and leadership, Sereno is inherently disadvantaged by her brain-wiring and physiology.

To be fair, her predecessor, former Chief Justice Renato Corona was also quite the emotional basketcase over the course of his impeachment trial. He was inclined to public prayerfulness and emotional breakdowns during his court battle against Uncle Peping’s legal forces. Sympathy for Corona coming from both the public and the Senator-Judges was put in jeopardy by his walk-out from proceedings during his first appearance before the Senate Impeachment Court. And much of his testimony then and in the second time he appeared was laced with appeals to emotion.

So much for the cold steely fortitude most of history’s truly great leaders served as exemplars of. Unfortunately, Filipinos being the drama junkies that they are reserve no amor for stoic silent types. You can see this in the way they mourn their dead — often wailing and flailing like they are trying to awake their loved ones even as their remains are lowered into a hole or shoved into a concrete niche. It is why necropolitics is so potent an opiate for the Filipino electorate. The most celebrated Filipino “heroes” die not in glory on the battlefield but as victims in sordid tales of woe — and Filipinos lap it all up: habitually launching entire political eras and catapulting whole dynasties into power on the remains of dead “victims”.

Yet, as the Deputy Speaker of the Philippines’ House of Representatives opined, one has to be emotionally switched on to see one’s self and the people one leads through challenging journeys…

[Deputy Speaker Jesus Crispin Remulla] party whip of the Nacionalista Party, said Sereno would need a lot of “emotional quotient” to withstand the pressure of being the chief justice.

“Sereno has got to have a lot of EQ. They may all have equal IQs but being the best of the best requires a lot of EQ to deal with and being among equals,” Remulla said.

Perhaps the concept of “emotional intelligence” should be clarified for an entire nation of people raised on a media diet of teleseryes, idiotic comedy, and necropolitics. Emotional intelligence involves (1) knowning when and when not to exhibit emotion, and (2) having the skills and constitution to manage emotion to suit a situation. Obviously, one characterised as “dramatic and emotional” has a lot of skills upgrading to do in that department — assuming, of course, emotional intelligence can be learned.

But if we consider the latest findings coming from the emerging field of evolutionary psychology, the prospect of “learning” emotional intelligence may turn out to be another one of those consultants’ empty promises. Evolutionary psychologists hold that behaviors or traits that occur universally in all cultures are good candidates for evolutionary adaptations including the abilities to infer others’ emotions, discern kin from non-kin, identify and prefer healthier mates, and cooperate with others. In other words, one’s emotional make up is strongly determined by one’s genetic heritage — in short, there is only so much upbringing, education, and training can do as far as our core character is concerned.

In the 1998 paper Sex differences in the Big Five personality factors: Testing an evolutionary hypothesis strong evidence was found that “females showed, on average, significantly higher scores on the Agreeableness and low Emotional Stability factor than did males” and that “the differences between males and females were maximized along this factor and were not significant on all other factors”. This puts a bit of science behind what it means to be a female in power in a man’s world, and adds some perspective to the manner with which we might consider what Malacañang’s rah-rah boys celebrate about Sereno’s appointment: her being female, young, and “God-fearing”.

This is not about being sexist or ageist. This is about being scientific and grounded on the latest ideas. Indeed, when someone tells you that you have “the balls” to do the job, it is usually considered to be a compliment — even to a woman. That simply points to the reality of what it means to succeed in human society which, contrary to the insistence of some emos, is still one dominated by the male of the species. Having balls is all about not getting all girly when the pressure starts to bear down.

Who knows? Lourdes Sereno just might surprise us.

[NB: Parts of this article were lifted from the Wikipedia.org article “Evolutionary psychology” in a manner compliant to the terms stipulated in the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License that governs usage of content made available in this site.]

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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30 Comments on "Does new Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno have enough emotional intelligence to run the Supreme Court?"

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Ext
Guest

Great article Benign0

fishball
Guest

Its not. I rather read shadow of doubt my marites vitug than this trash

Gogs
Member

But still you are here Fishball. Maybe because Minister of Truth put us on your schedule for Wed.

Impaler Triumphant
Guest

HAHA! I love how you made a reference from George Orwell’s 1984! XD

Yeah, Fishball, I don’t understand you. You claim that Benign0’s articles suck, and yet make no effort to help him improve it (your yellow propaganda does not count). If you really hate the material here, just GTFO.

Aegis-Judex
Guest

Better yet, FOAD.

Trosp
Guest

He he he, why I haven’t thought of that comment…

Gogs
Member

@Impaler- For more of my similar references to what I THINK is going on in Malacanang (the work place of the GRP Trolls) refer to my piece that came out 3 days after Noynoy’s speech the TV Patrol Anniversary. Titled How Not To Be A Party Guest.

Impaler Triumphant
Guest

Thanks. I’ll look it up, man.

Daido Katsumi
Guest

Well, Marites Vitug’s ‘Shadow of a Doubt’ is much more trash than this. 😛

Impaler Triumphant
Guest

I have to agree with you, I guess. Kung tutuusin, maganda ang pagkakasulat ng Shadow of Doubt. Pero fact-wise, meh. nevermind. Hehehe. Eloquent lang si Marites. 😛

fishball
Guest

Hindi pipiliin ng presidente yan kung hndi siya magaling. Mabuti na na nandyan si Sereno upang maibalik ang tiwala ng bayan sa korte, kesa kay Corona na sunud sunoran lang kay Gloria

Amir Al Bahr
Guest

Kawawa ka naman Fishball. Low IQ ka na nga, low EQ ka pa.

Sabihin mo kamo, mabuti pa nandyan na si Sereno, maibabalik na HL sa mga Cojuangco.

fishball
Guest

Sinabi na ng pangulo dati na hindi siya makikielam sa kaso ng HL. Paninira lang yan ng mga kaaway na. Lumang tugtugin na yan

Impaler Triumphant
Guest

Hindi porke’t sinasabi si PNoy na hindi siya makikialam, ay hindi na siya makikialam. Huh? Sino mga kaaway niya?

Better yet, sino mga kaaway mo?

johnreycarpenter
Guest

do you still believe on him?the bipolar Pres.?it is now on stage 8 of pregnancy from the day of the conceive-plan, one more steep and this gonna be a full-blown dictatorship.

Felipe
Guest

Pangulong puro pangako, pero napapako!

Daido Katsumi
Guest

LIES. 😛

So you tell us that the ‘Hacienda Luisita Massacre’ 8 years ago wasn’t real? Wow, you gave a good laugh at your misery. 😀

Anonymous
Guest

Lumang tugtugin daw, so anung tawag mo sa mga walang kwentang akusasyon mo kay GMA?
Bagong tugtog? Wag ka nga magpatawa bobo.

Aegis-Judex
Guest

You sound like Kemalist Turks when confronted with the Armenian Genocide.

Trosp
Guest

Mababa ba ang low IQ…

Der Fuhrer
Guest

@fishball

I just wondered… whatever happened to merit and seniority? Was she chosen because she is young or is it all about political insurance protection for the next 18 years?

Impaler Triumphant
Guest
Yes, I agree with you. Realistically, women and youth are forced to play the old men’s game, in which they likely lose because they aren’t allowed to use anything else aside from the old man’s weapons. But since many men themselves don’t play fair, the youth’s and the women’s weapons won’t make much of a difference. I hence prefer to think of gender and age as attribute presets like from most of role-playing games: they may influence differences in beauty, strength, intelligence, etc., but the scores your avatar gains and the quests that it finishes all depend on how you… Read more »
Der Fuhrer
Guest

How will Justice Sereno deal with interference from the legislature? Will she uphold the Judiciary or surrender its fiscal autonomy and indepencence? Please see the news report link below…

http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/2012/08/29/house-to-strip-sc-of-fiscal-autonomy/

FallenAngel
Member

She relents, she gets impeached. Even BS Aquino can spell something as simple as that, right?

Der Fuhrer
Guest

Are the following observations from the Daily Tribune a portent of things to come? What about press freedom and the people’s right to know what is happening in the Judiciary? Please see the link below…

http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/commentary/editorial/item/3518-sereno-treads-path-of-opaqueness

ChinoF
Member

Her association with the Yellow Camp has already been the stuff of the grapevine in the past couple of years. It’s up to the CJ herself to confirm or disprove it.

Doomed Nation
Guest

So that’s why he chose her. They’ll be able to understand each other, then. PNoy being a solid 21 on that scale.

Doomed Nation
Guest

At least there’s one test that PNoy will get high marks on.

Hyden Toro
Guest

Sira Ulo ang Presidente…sira ulo ang Supreme Court Chief Justice…Lahat na sira ulo…

Aegis-Judex
Guest

Pati ang Batasan?(Rhetorical!)

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