MR. JUSTICE ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN
A UNIQUE FILIPINO
A JURIST PAR EXCELLENCE
(Delivered by Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez during the tenth Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. Distinguished Lecture, October 19, 2005, at 4:00 o-clock p.m. at the Auditorium of the Far Eastern University, Nicanor Reyes St., Manila.)
Sometimes you may have heard: “This man needs no introduction.” Well, may I reiterate that this man- our lecturer today – does not need an introduction. For one, he is in his own alma mater, and for another, he has been known as a jurist of the Supreme Court. But still, I am compelled to introduce him because some of those present here especially the students, are unaware of his achievements or every feather in his cap, so to speak. (By the way, our lecturer requested me to present him to you in a very modest and simple introduction. I assured him I will comply.)
Perhaps, it is his alma mater, the Far Eastern University, who first saw the promise of prominence in our lecturer. After finishing his Bachelor of Laws degree cum laude and as the “Most Outstanding Student” of FEU in 1960, he placed 6th in the bar examinations given that year. A popular campus figure, he was one of the founders and past president of the National Union of Students of the Philippines.
Our lecturer rose to become a successful lawyer, law professor, and businessman. After three (3) years as an assistant in the Law Office of his mentor, former Senate President Jovito R. Salonga, he formed his own law firm, which he headed until he joined the Supreme Court in 1995. He also taught in three law schools. Of course one was in this university where he became President of its Law Faculty. He has been, among others, Vice-President of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Governor of the Management Association of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
In all his endeavours, he has always been successful. But success did not thaw his deep concern for his countrymen. He was also deeply involved and dedicated in civic and religious duties. He served as president of the Rotary Club of Manila, Philippine-Finland Association, RCM Eyebank Foundation, Inc. and other service-oriented groups. He is the only Filipino appointed to the Pontifical Council for the Laity. It was His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, who appointed him to serve for the 1996-2001 term.
It was inevitable that with his excellent academic and professional record, he would be destined to reach the zenith of his career – that of being appointed justice of the Supreme Court. Since then, with his brilliance of mind, competence and independence, he has been adding lustre to that court. No less than Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. extolled his “mental dexterity” when he said, “he extricates the possible from the hypothetical, the emerging from the established, the literature from science and law.”
Our lecturer is the chairperson of the Supreme Court Third Division, the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, the Legislative and Executive Relations Committee, as well as seven (7) committees involved mainly in Judicial Reforms. Described by Mr. Justice Antonio T. Carpio as “undoubtedly the most prolific writer of the Court,” he has, during the last ten (10) years, penned more than 1,000 full-length decisions, many of which are landmarks, and ten (10) books about Supreme Court, its Justices and their accomplishments, plus several thousands minute resolutions. As Mr. Justice Romeo J. Callejo, Sr. puts it, “one book a year and no cases left undecided, this is an unsurpassed record.”
A man of diverse interests, our lecturer has spoken for the court on a wide-range of legal controversies touching on different subjects, like Mathematics, Economics, Business, Accounting, and even Canon Law. A much sought after speaker, he has addressed audiences around the world on various subjects, including five (5) lectures on the Bio-Sciences in two International fora held in Chile in 2004.
No wonder, he has been the recipient of over 200 awards and recognitions, including Honorary Doctoral Degrees and Honorary Membership in the Phi Kappa Phi International Corps of the Philippines.
But above everything, his greatest pride is his family. He is married to Ms. Elenita C. Panganiban, Professor and former Associate Dean at the Asian Institute of Management. They have five (5) children who all hold graduates degrees from pedigreed US universities, including Harvard, Stanford, University of California, University of Chicago, University of Michigan and Boston University.
In one of his books, He wrote: “The secrets of life and happiness in finding our special gift and then cultivating and perfecting it.” Ladies and gentlemen, he has found his special gift and has cultivated and perfected them. Indeed, he is a very fulfilled and a happy man.
Let us all welcome our lecturer today, A Jurist par excellence, a unique Filipino with unique life story: Mr. Justice Artemio V. Panganiban.