Ageless Passion

Good news, bad news; God always knows. This familiar adage sums up the message of “Ageless Passion”, a musical tribute to retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban. Penned by Kristian Jeff Agustin, a promising lyricist and poet, with original music masterfully composed by the internationally-acclaimed maestro Ryan Cayabyab, a national artist of the Philippines.

Chief Justice Panganiban was once acclaimed by the Supreme Court of the Philippines in a unanimous resolution dated December 6, 2006 as the “Renaissance Jurist of the 21st Century.” He is now much respected and sought after as a director or adviser by many publicly listed companies, top corporations and philanthropic foundations in the country. Thus, Ageless Passion is premised upon his indefatigable acuity and spirit — not to mention his charisma.

His is a life story replete with successes and defeats, from his humble beginnings as a young newsboy in the streets of post-war Manila to his prevailing eleven-year stint in the Supreme Court of the Philippines. Watch the full television coverage of the 2021 musical staging here:

Present Occupation

As of January 1, 2023, retired Chief Justice Panganiban is an Independent Director of some publicly-listed companies in the Philippines like: Manila Electric Company (Meralco), Petron Corporation, PLDT, Inc., Metro Pacific Investments Corp., JG Summit Holdings, Inc., GMA Network, Inc., GMA Holdings, Inc., Asian Terminals, Inc., and RL Commercial REIT, Inc.

He is also a Non-Executive Director, Jollibee Foods Corp. (listed company); Senior Adviser, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co.; Member, Advisory Council, Bank of PI (BPI); Adviser, DoubleDragon Corp. and MerryMart Consumer Corp; and Independent Director of some non-listed companies like TeaM Energy Corp., Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., and Asian Hospital, Inc.

He is likewise active in civic and educational endeavors as Chairman, Board of Advisers of the Metrobank Foundation; Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity and of the Philippine Judges Foundation; Chairman, Philippine Chapter, Asean Law Association; Chairman Emeritus, Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc.; President, Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica Foundation; Trustee, Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Claudio Teehankee Foundation and Speaker Laurel Foundation; and Adviser, World Bank (Philippines); Asian Institute of Management Corporate Governance Center; Johann Strauss Society and Mapa Blue Falcon Honor Society. On August 18, 2017, he was named Chairman of the Philippine National Group in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands.


He has been the recipient of over 250 awards and citations, including several honorary doctoral degrees. Honorary memberships in the Phi Kappa Phi International Honor Society (University of the Philippines Chapter), the Consular Corps of the Philippines and the San Beda College of Law Alumni Association have likewise been conferred upon him. The Provincial Government of Cebu named him officially as an “Adopted Son of Cebu,” and the City Government of San Fernando, Pampanga has also adopted him.

During his retirement ceremony on December 6, 2006 held at the Supreme Court Session Hall, the Court unanimously honored him as the “21st Century’s Renaissance Jurist” in a Plaque of Acclamation commending his “his exemplary devotion to his public duties and commitment to excellence and ethics”.

On April 26, 2007, after his retirement, he was conferred an Award of Honor by the Philippine Bar Association, applauding him as “a principled and visionary leader by example; a prolific writer of the Supreme Court, bar none; a renaissance man and a nobly-souled and gifted jurist; a much sought-after speaker; a recipient of over 250 awards and citations from national and international entities and organizations, including several honorary doctoral degrees; an eminent lawyer, law professor, Catholic lay worker, civic leader and businessman; a scholar imbued with mental dexterity; and, an exemplary family man.”

Recently, Dr. Raul C. Pangalangan, Judge of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, lauded him, “As Chief Justice, he distinguished himself in that he strove to have as much unanimity as possible when the Court faced historic cases, painfully conscious that ‘the least dangerous branch’ speaks loudest when it judges wisely and in one voice.”

Diverse Subjects

IMG_9348.JPG_595The retired Chief Justice was also known for his pro-poor opinions notably those concerning workers, the representation of the disadvantaged and marginalized sectors in matters affecting their welfare, and the protection of the accused against unwarranted delays in the prosecution of their cases. Nonetheless, he has spoken on a wide range of legal controversies concerning diverse subjects, like mathematics, economics, business, accounting, and even canon law. A syllabi of all his decisions and opinion, compiled by Emma C. Matammu, now a Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela City, are contained in one book titled Summa (2006).

A much sought-after speaker, he has addressed audiences around the world on various subjects, including five lectures on the biosciences in two international fora held in Chile in 2004. Of his “mental dexterity,” former Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. explains that former Chief Justice Panganiban “extricates the possible from the hypothetical, the emerging from the established, the literature in science and the law in art.”

Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court on October 10, 1995, retired Chief Justice Panganiban had already distinguished himself as a practicing lawyer, law professor, Catholic lay worker, civic leader, and businessman. After three years as an assistant in the law office of his mentor, former Senate President Jovito R. Salonga, he formed his own law firm (Panganiban, Benitez, Parlade, Africa and Barinaga), which he headed until he joined the Court in 1995. (The law firm was dissolved when he joined the Court.) He also taught law in three schools. He has been, among others, vice-president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry; governor of the Management Association of the Philippines; president of the Philippine Daily Inquirer; and president of the Rotary Club of Manila. He was the only Filipino appointed by the late Pope John Paul II to the Pontifical Council for the Laity for the 1996-2001 term.


While a member of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Panganiban espoused and exhibited transparency in the conduct of his duties and functions. Thus, he wrote one book a year to report on his magistracy. He had authored the following: Love God Serve Man (1994); Justice and Faith (1997); Battles in the Supreme Court (1998); Leadership by Example (1999); Transparency, Unanimity & Diversity (2000); A Centenary of Justice (2001); Reforming the Judiciary (2002); The Bio Age Dawns on the Judiciary (2003); Leveling the Playing Field (2004); Judicial Renaissance (2005); and Liberty and Prosperity (2006).

In January 2012, five years after his retirement from the judiciary, the Philippine Daily Inquirer published in book form his collection of columns titled “With Due Respect”. This book ranked 3rd in the Amazon bestseller list for the courts category, outranked only by those of Time Magazine correspondent and CNN Legal Consultant Jeffrey Toobin (first place) and United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (second place). In January 2017, the Inquirer launched a second volume of his columns and titled it “With Due Respect 2”; and on December 7, 2021, it launched the 3rd volume and titled it “With Due Respect 3”.

Some blurbs about Chief Justice Panganiban

CJ Alexander G. Gesmundo: “With an optimistic outlook in life, he has not aged a bit in his devotion to safeguard liberty and nurture prosperity under the rule of law.”

CJ Hilario G. Davide Jr.: “He extricates the possible from the hypothetical, the emerging from the established, the literature in science and the law in art.”

CJ Reynato S. Puno: “He leapfrogged the social and economic barriers of Philippine society…[and] in the Supreme Court, best blossomed for God and country.”

CJ Renato C. Corona:  A “renaissance man…a nobly-souled and gifted jurist.”

CJ Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno: “The life story of Chief Justice Panganiban is as improbable as it is inspiring; a poor but bright boy who shined shoes and hawked newspapers in the streets of Manila rose through merit and sheer hard work to become a successful entrepreneur and, later, Chief Justice of the land.”

Senior Justice Antonio T. Carpio: “Undoubtedly the most prolific writer of the Court, bar none.”

Senior Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe: “Perhaps more compelling than his scholarly brilliance, Chief Justice Panganiban possesses this unique quality to resonate with all kinds of people, may it be in his personal, professional, or philanthropic endeavors; he also has this galvanizing desire to see liberty and prosperity abound through legal excellence, which makes him a beacon of justice on his own.”

Senior Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen: “While we may have had our differences regarding some of the cases decided by the Court, he remains a titan in the legal profession. Within it, his legacy will be secure.”

Justice Ramon Paul L. Hernando: “An avatar of Themis herself, CJ Art’s judicial legacy will surely live on through the ages.” 

Justice Romeo J. Callejo Sr.: “One book a year and no cases left undecided. This is Mr. [Chief] Justice Artemio V. Panganiban’s unsurpassed record. It is also the best summation of judicial reform.” 

Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez lauded his “preeminent judicial craftsmanship, social philosophies and literary style…

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra: “The way CJ Panganiban writes is a reflection of what he is – brilliant without being flashy, authoritative without being pompous, straightforward without being drab.”

Aurelio Montinola III, Chairman, Far Eastern University: “He perfected preserving the independence of the Supreme Court, having a working coequal relationship with the Chief Executive, and getting his own Supreme Court justices to work as a team.”

Dean Danilo L. Concepcion, President, University of the Philippines: “You are neither retired nor ancient. I have always looked up to you! One of the best UP law alumni we almost had!

Dr. Raul C. Pangalangan, retired Judge, International Criminal Court, The Hague: “As Chief Justice, he distinguished himself in that he strove to have as much unanimity as possible when the Court faced historic cases, painfully conscious that ‘the least dangerous branch’ speaks loudest when it judges wisely and in once voice.”

Some Introductions of Chief Justice Panganiban