SUPREME Court Associate Justice Henri John Paul Inting returned to his roots yesterday with the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) honoring him as the first PAO lawyer to be appointed as an associate justice of the high tribunal.
President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Inting to the SC last May, filling the vacancy created by the appointment of then Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin as chief justice. Inting was a public attorney from 1986 to 1995.
PAO chief Persida Rueda-Acosta presented Inting with a lady justice statuette during a testimonial lunch held in the justice’s honor at the Century Park Hotel in Manila.
Inting expressed gratitude to the PAO, which formed part of the beginning of his legal career. He passed the Bar exams and worked at the National Housing Authority in 1983, then at the Intermediate Appellate Court (now the Court of Appeals) in 1984, before joining the PAO, then called the Citizen’s Legal Assistance Office, in 1986.
The Davao del Sur-born Inting became an appeals court justice in 2012, prior to which he served as Quezon City Regional Trial Court judge. He had also been a municipal trial court judge and a prosecutor.
“My experiences in the PAO opened my eyes to the grave realities besetting our justice system,” Inting said in a speech.
“Here, not only was my mind trained to become a skilled lawyer but my heart was filled with compassion and concern for our less fortunate brothers and sisters and a burning desire to be of greater service to our people, especially the disadvantaged and oppressed,” he said.
Inting said he hopes the PAO and the SC will continue their partnership in “improving the administration of justice for the benefit of our people and nation, especially the poor and disadvantaged sectors of our society.”