During the public interviews for Chief Justice applications held by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on March 12, Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo stated that a judge must not rely solely on authorities’ claims when issuing search warrants.
Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta asked whether a judge should base their decision entirely on the information provided by the applicant.
To which Gesmundo responded, “The rules are clear: the judge must conduct search and inquiry and if he decides to issue a search warrant, his primary basis should be his own determination based on his examination of the applicant as well as the witnesses,”.
Instances wherein warrants were voided by other courts due to a lack of substantial evidence or adherence to constitutional guidelines, have occurred against certain people, including activists.
Some have even called on the SC to reconsider its current policy of allowing Manila and Quezon City executive judges to issue warrants for nationwide activities.
This comes as the simultaneous raids conducted by police that resulted in the death of nine activists in Calabarzon, obtained their warrants from Manila courts.
As a candidate for chief justice, Gesmundo also mentioned his plans for the judiciary should he be selected.
In the case of lawyer and judicial officer killings, Gesmundo said that the SC should obtain details of incidents and coordinate with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). He also believes that judicial officers and lawyers should be allowed to bear arms for protection, if they are capable and feel the need to.
Gesmundo also plans to review the overall organizational structure of the judicial branch, in order to implement changes that would make it a “technology-driven court”.
Should Gesmundo be appointed as head of the judiciary, he will have five years to implement his plan, before he retires in November 2026.