Category Archives: Introductions

Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto G. Romulo during the Reception in Honor of H.E. Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams on February 11, 2008

(Remarks of Dr. Alberto G. Romulo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, on the occasion of the dinner hosted by former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban in honor of H.E. Archbishop Edward J. Adams, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines and Dean of Diplomatic Corps, 11 February 2008)

I am pleased and honored to join you this evening.

I thank former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban for this gracious invitation.

Cited by his colleagues in the Supreme Court as “the 21st Century’s Renaissance Jurist,” the former Chief Justice has had an enviable judicial record noteworthy for its independence, integrity and erudition.

Among the many honors he had received in the past was his appointment by the late Pope John Paul II as the only Filipino to serve in the Pontifical Council for the laity for the term 1996 to 2001.

As our host this evening, former Chief Justice Panganiban has drawn us all together to honor the Papal Nuncio His Excellency, Most Reverend Edward Joseph Adams as well as members of the diplomatic corps of which the Papal Nuncio is Dean.

His Excellency’s journey is a tale that is mirrored in the careers of our equally distinguished members of the diplomatic corps.

Since joining the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See in 1976, His Excellency was in the Pontifical Missions in Rwanda, then successively at the Apostolic Nunciatures in Kenya, Honduras, Ireland, Denmark and the Czech Republic.

He was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Bangladesh in 1996 and to Zimbabwe in 2002. Now we are happy and honored with His Excellency as Papal Nuncio to the Philippines.

Tonight, therefore, I take this opportunity to thank the diplomatic corps – headed by Your Excellency – and the legal community of the Philippines – lead by former Chief Justice Panganiban – for your contributions to our nation’s interest and well-being.

Indeed, diplomacy is an essential tool for consolidating support and generating consensus in the collective growth and stability of nations.

And adherence to the rule of law – both international and domestic – is the foundation stone upon which we build a more peaceful, progressive and prosperous world.

Both diplomacy and the rule of law have brought the stakeholders of Mindanao to the negotiating table.

Through diplomacy – supported by our friends in the international community – we worked towards the successful conclusion of the GRP-MNLF Agreement to bring peace and silence the guns in Mindanao.

 

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Bishop Socrates Villegas during the Retirement of Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban on December 06, 2006

SELFLESSNESS, SENSITIVITY AND SERVICE

I am from Bataan, the birthplace of Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano, the first Filipino chief justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. I come to bring you, beloved Chief Justice, the greetings and gratitude of the people of Bataan because you are a fine example of what our kababayan Chief Justice Arellano exemplified in his life-love of God and love of Country. Pro Deo et Patria. In your short stint as Chief Justice, we in Bataan looked at you from afar and saw our kababayan, as it were, “reincarnated” in you. The ideals and idealism of the proto chief justice are in you. Thank God for you.

We do not know how to thank you for your heroic service to the nation as a justice of the Supreme Court. We are asking the Lord Jesus to complete whatever is lacking in our expression of appreciation. The Holy Eucharist is the highest form of gratitude that we can ever offer. The highest gratitude and highest praise we now offer to God for giving us a brother and friend, jurist and patriot in you dear Chief Justice.

Chief Justice Arellano lived, in his life as a jurist, the dictum of that great jurist and martyr, St Thomas More, I am the King’s good servant but God’s first! And so it is with you, our dear honoree. After all the accolades and praises have been said about you, there is truly one thing that we are grateful to God for — you showed us great love for the King but above all you showed us that you are first and foremost, a loyal son of the Father in heaven.

There is separation of Church and State and we must maintain this separation for the good of the nation and for the welfare of the church too. If the church marries a political party, she risks being widow in the next elections. Ours is a democracy not a theocracy. But our beloved Chief Justice has time and again taught us that separation of Church and State does not mean separation of man from God. Indeed, to separate man from his God would be illegal in the Philippines because of our fundamental law dreams of every Filipino to be maka Diyos.

Above all else, Chief Justice Art has shown us that loyalty to God and excellence in government service are not incompatible. Every Christian is called to holiness. Every Christian in the government service must be a holy public servant. What the nation needs now are heroes and saints. We are greatly impoverished when we attempt to list down living heroes and saints among us. Heroes and saints need not be dead. There is a hero and saint in all of us. Let us allow that little light of grace in us to shine forth. Our nation would be instantly renewed if everyone in the government will answer the call of God to be saints and heroes, living lives Pro Deo et Patria. It is the ability to let go of selfish dreams and ambitions and keep the common good always in mind and at heart. This is the first legacy that Chief Justice Art bequeaths to us “SELFLESSNESS.” The service of Chief Justice Art is an indictment for so many our national leaders who seem to equate their political survival with the survival of the nation and risk the life of the nation just to pursue their political whims and caprices.

Selflessness by itself is not heroic. It must be accompanied by a twin brother named “SENSITIVITY”. We let go of our selfish concerns so that we can be more sensitive to the whisperings of God. We sacrifice our whims and wishes in order to be more sensitive to the dreams and hopes of our fellowmen. Chief Justice Art is quick to catch the wind of the Spirit at work among the people because he listens. Lady Justice is always blindfolded but her ears are sharp and sensitive to the cry of the poor and the pleas of the little ones. Having come from the business sector prior to his service in the judiciary, Chief Justice Art is attuned to the pulse of the people and promptings of God. His mission is not to be successful but to be faithful. Sensitivity does not always result in popularity. Sensitivity to the people and sensitivity to God put together are proofs of sterling integrity.

I am the King’s good servant but God’s first. To the King or to the Lord, we are always servants. Our priority is indeed service to the lord but we are and will always be only his useless servants. As the last chapter of his illustrious service in the Supreme Court comes to its end, Chief Justice Art will exit the way he entered: a SERVANT. The greatest in the kingdom of God is not the one who is called “Chief” but the one who stoops down to wash the feet of all. Chief Justice Art has served us well and washed our feet clean through his selfless service sensitive to the Lord and the people.

When Justice Cayetano Arellano set forth to become the first Chief Justice, he poured to the Supreme Court the sweet balm of his selfless love of the nation, his heroic sensitivity to will of the people and his abiding faithfulness to God.

Today, Chief Justice Art bequeaths to us the same legacy — selflessness, sensitivity and service. May the nation be blessed with more heroes and saints among us, the same heroism and holiness that we have found in Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban.

Amen, Mabuhay!

 

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Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez during the Tribute entitled “Through the Years: Celebrating the Life and Achievements of Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban” on November 15, 2006

Through The Years:

Celebrating the Life and Achievements of
Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban

(A speech delivered by Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez during the Tribute entitled “Through the Years: Celebrating the Life and Achievements of Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban”, on November 15, 2006, at 1:30 o-clock in the afternoon, PhilAm Life Auditorium, United Nations Avenue.)

Our honouree, Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, Mrs. Elenita C. Panganiban, the first lady of the judiciary, fellow workers in the Supreme Court, esteemed members of the bench and the bar, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon and a warm welcome to all!

Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “every man is entitled to be valued by his best moment.” Taking a cue from it, I must say that today’s presentation is a fitting, at the same time, a well-deserved tribute to our beloved chief justice on the occasion of his forthcoming retirement. This occasion is an excellent opportunity to celebrate his virtues and many accomplishments.

Chief Justice Panganiban joined the Supreme Court in 1995, equipped with the excellent academic and professional record. Since then, he has strengthened the Supreme Court with his competence, integrity and independence — virtues that made him a strong pillar of our institution.

Recently, you observed these outstanding virtues. In our nation’s most defining moments, the court, under Chief Justice Panganiban, has served as a great force in stabilizing our democracy and restoring our people’s faith in the rule of law and the judiciary. The landmark decisions in “E.O. 464,” “CPR,” “PP 1017,” “Sabio case,” and “Cha-Cha” distinguished the Supreme Court as a courageous and independent institution — one we can all be proud of.

As a fellow magistrate, I am fortunate to observe closely Chief Justice Panganiban. Allow me to give you an insider’s account. In the en banc conference room, one can feel his exuding presence. He radiates the strength of his character and the integrity of his convictions. He directs our deliberations with calm and authority. Even at times when emotions run high, he maintains civility and sobriety that earn for him our respect and dignified obedience. Added to these is the excellent quality of his mind. Behind his amiable and unassuming exterior is a mind of enormous force and brilliance. No wonder, he is most successful in providing persuasive directions to the court through his compact, clear and logical opinions. Indeed, he is a leader, “a chief,” in the truest sense of the word.

Another source of pride and admiration is our chief justice’s ability and enthusiasm to stand side by side with the magistrates of the world in a march towards judicial reforms. Under his leadership, the court has successfully staged last October the global forum on liberty and prosperity. With this, he has secured for the Philippine Judiciary a place in the international sphere. No wonder the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Spain and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional court of Egypt entered into separate agreement on mutual cooperation with Chief Justice Panganiban whereby their respective judiciaries will share with each other knowledge, experience and good practices through the exchange of jurists and court personnel.

But, above everything else, I am sure court officials and employees will remember Chief Justice Panganiban for his generosity and deep concern in their welfare. In a span of less than one year, he has showered all court personnel financial benefits, thus fulfilling, his promise of granting them “maximum benefits allowed by law and within his discretion.” I can say that more than a chief justice, he is also a good father to all in the judiciary.

In sum, Chief Justice Panganiban has lived the full spectrum of a diverse life — as a lawyer, scholar, businessman, magistrate, husband and father. He has moral courage and a limitless capacity for intellectual excellence. Today’s grand exhibition of the arts is the noblest tribute we can bestow upon him. Let rhythm and sound be our medium in extolling his achievements and virtues. For like a melody that lingers after the song ended, his legacy will continue to echo even long after his retirement.

We pay tribute too to his loving wife, Lenie, whose intelligence and quiet courage have provided Chief Justice Panganiban with inspiration and guidance in the joy and tribulations of his life and victories of his career.

Allow me to cut short my welcome remarks at this point lest I would be speechless when our honoree’s retirement comes. As I welcome everyone to this happy occasion, let me just assure our chief justice that on his retirement day, we will bid him, not “goodbye” but “au revoir,” knowing that he leaves only his presence, but not our hearts. And with it comes the wish that his future be exceedingly fruitful, serene and fulfilling.

Once again good afternoon and enjoy the rest of the day!

 

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Rina Jimenez-David from Inquirer/Opinion (At Large) October 29, 2006

A short, meaningful term

by Rina Jimenez-David
Inquirer/Opinion (At Large) October 29, 2006

HIS “tour of duty” as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court may be one of the shortest ever, less than a year, in fact: appointed to head the high tribunal on Dec. 21 last year, he retires on Dec. 7, when he turns 70.

But Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban’s term at the helm of the highest court of the land makes up for in significance and accomplishment what it may lack in length of tenure.

Doubtless, the past year or so has been marked by many important and precedent-setting decisions on cases elevated to the Supreme Court. And this is because in the past year, the Arroyo administration launched an extraordinary number of challenges to the political status quo: to the delicate “balance of power” among the three branches of government enshrined in the Constitution; to the Bill of Rights and guarantees and protections granted ordinary citizens; and, indeed, to the Constitution itself.

In what could very well be the final decision issued by “his” Supreme Court, Panganiban himself indicated that his legacy as Chief Justice would most certainly be judged on the vote on the “people’s initiative” to change the Constitution. The Court, he wrote, found itself at a “crossroads of history” and its decision would be remembered “either in shame or pride.”

Indeed, in the wake of the hair-thin majority’s finding that the “people’s initiative” is a “gigantic fraud,” an extraordinary attack has been launched on the Panganiban court. While the President has judiciously steered clear of any direct criticism of the Supreme Court decision, she did declare that the campaign for constitutional reform is still ongoing. But her allies in this effort have not been as circumspect. A lot of criticism has been aired regarding the strong and virulent language used by ponente Justice Antonio Carpio, in declaring the petition illegitimate, with some tracing his verbal assault to disputes and disappointments that members of Carpio’s old law firm have with the Arroyo administration.

***
(IN)JUSTICE Secretary Raul Gonzalez, meanwhile, expressed “disappointment” in the Chief Justice’s tie-breaking vote, assailing what he called the “unusual haste” with which the Supreme Court disseminated copies of its decision. He read this action as the Panganiban Court’s way of ensuring that time doesn’t run out on the motion for reconsideration that may be filed before Panganiban’s date of retirement.

“Panganiban wants to make sure that he is still there when SC deliberates on the motion,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez also told reporters that while the Palace allegedly knew beforehand how the Chief Justice would vote on the issue, they were hoping Panganiban would at least abstain from voting. “We’re not happy, but we respect the decision,” Gonzalez added.

Significantly, Panganiban himself conceded that “pressure” had been exerted on him and the entire Court to vote either way on the “people’s initiative” petition, in public pronouncements of officials, including the President’s and Speaker Jose de Venecia’s, and in private.

There is talk, for instance, that a “term sharing” agreement has already been forged between the two most senior Supreme Court justices—Reynato Puno and Leonardo Quisumbing-and Malacañang. While Puno and Quisumbing voted with the minority, we have no way of knowing if their votes were indeed “quid pro quo” or were an honest reflection of their own study of the legal issues involved.

***
IF I were Chief Justice Panganiban, I would simply shrug off all the cynical harping and speculation. There’s about a month left before his retirement, and the record of the “Panganiban Court” can stand any amount of scrutiny.

Former Senate President Jovito Salonga, an old law professor of Panganiban’s, assures in his foreword to Panganiban’s final book “Liberty and Prosperity,” that the Chief Justice “is not awed by all sorts of criticisms, whether from friends, well-wishers, skeptics or cynics.”

And while there were all sorts of doubts expressed as to his qualifications for the Supreme Court and his right to head it, Salonga notes that of all the men who have occupied the highest seat in the high tribunal, “no one came from the ranks of the very poor—until Art Panganiban.”

***

THE STORY the “CJ” tells in his book (the last of 11 books he has published yearly in the 11 years he has been in the Supreme Court) certainly follows the template of many a “poor boy makes good” tale. Born poor, to a father who could not afford to go to college because he had to work to support not just his wife and four children but also his own seven siblings, Panganiban worked odd jobs as a boy-selling newspapers and cigarettes and shining shoes, and sleeping in the sidewalks of Manila waiting for the papers to be dropped off.

Though he graduated with honors from Mapa High School and given a scholarship in pre-law at the University of the Philippines, Panganiban recalls that he couldn’t go to the State University because his father could not afford even his bus fare from Sampaloc to Diliman. Instead, he obtained his law degree from the Far Eastern University, where he had the great fortune of meeting Salonga who was the dean of the law school, and attending classes given by prominent lawyers, some of whom made it to the Supreme Court. Granted a scholarship to Yale upon Salonga’s recommendation, Panganiban was frustrated once more when his application for a travel grant was denied. “I felt frustrated and defeated,” Panganiban writes.

How he rose from frustration and defeat, to achieving every lawyer’s greatest dream is indeed an inspirational story. But I will hazard a guess that his sense of ‘destiny,’ and how he sought to fulfill this in his years in the Court, arose not just from past experience, but from an inner fire and conviction.

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Hon. Jovito R. Salonga from his Foreword to “Liberty and Prosperity”: July 1, 2006

Foreword

of Hon. Jovito R. Salonga, Former President of the Philippine Senate to Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban’s “Liberty and Prosperity”.

If I recall correctly, it was on July 15, 2006, when Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban spoke to me about writing the Foreword to his eleventh and last book while a sitting member of the Supreme Court. I felt so touched and moved by his gesture I just kept quiet. I would allow him, I told myself, to change his mind, should he want to.

But a formal letter dated July 20, 2006, confirming his request, ruled out this possibility. He stressed a fact I could not deny: I had written the Preface to his first book – Love God, Serve Man – a year before he was appointed to the High Court. I now quote his letter: “I thought I would request you to write the Foreword to my last book as a sitting justice of the Court.” The quoted portion might, in a subtle sense, qualify as a non sequitur. Obviously, others, perhaps better situated, could write the Foreword. But how do I say that to a Chief Justice, without being somehow guilty of false humility? I In any case, there are some facts that are worth repeating in the case of Chief Justice Panganiban, whom I have fondly called Art since his student days: In evaluating President GMA’s appointment of Art in December 2005, two facts that can neither be changed nor erased stand out: (1) this is the first time a poor man’s law school, the FEU Institute of Law, ever produced a Chief Justice since its foundation in 1930; (2) also, this is the first time a person born poor, orphaned while studying in school, a former newsboy and bootblack, from Sampaloc, Manila, rose to become Chief Justice of the nation. Incidentally, from Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano in August 1901 up to Chief Justice Ramon Avanceña before the outbreak of the Pacific War in December 1941, or a long period of 40 years; from Chief Justice Manuel V. Moran in 1945 to Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion until Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in September 1972, or a turbulent period covering 27 years; and after the People Power Revolution of February 25, 1986, from Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee to Chief Justice Davide, Jr., who retired in December 2005, no one came from the ranks of the very poor – until Art Panganiban was formally appointed by the President on December 21, 2005. On December 7, 2006, Chief Justice Art will reach 70 and forthwith retire from his position of honor, as many would probably say. But the honor, in Art’s case, belongs to the person holding the position, not the position regardless of the person.
The Five Pressing Problems
of Our System of Justice

Whether one is an impartial observer or a habitual faultfinder, here or abroad, the first thing one asks about our system of justice may involve one or more of these traits: corruption, lack of independence, incompetence, delay or inefficiency and no access by the poor.

Chapter 10 discusses what he has done as a jurist to solve these problems. And because he considers the problem of delay very important – in fact, there are so many cases that have been pending in the Supreme Court for decades, despite the time limitations set forth in the 1987 Constitution – he created a “Committee on Zero Backlog,” chaired by Senior Justice Reynato Puno to immediately monitor the flow of cases and to resolve the “old” ones.

Chief Justice Panganiban is not awed by all sorts of criticisms, whether from friends, well-wishers, skeptics, or cynics. As soon as he was appointed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA), who has been berated by political foes for her “authoritarian inclinations,” former Senate President Franklin Drilon, a leading critic of GMA, conceded the Chief Justice was “extremely qualified” since he had the necessary attributes – an unblemished record, integrity, intellect and industry; nevertheless, the people will be watching “the independence of the Panganiban court.” Which is why his performance since he assumed the highest position in the judiciary, as well as his latest book, is right on the nose.

Decision-Writing Style

In his second book, Justice and Faith – a collection of Justice Panganiban’s selected writings and speeches for the period 1995-1997 – there are relevant passages at the beginning of the opus that speak of his decision-writing style: “. . . I have endeavored to write in simple English, comprehensible as much as possible to a college graduate. I want to be understood not only by the legal profession but also by the parties themselves, especially by persons accused of crimes, and by the public at large as regards cases involving the interpretation of the Constitution. As I wrote in my Dissenting Opinion in Marcos: “The Constitution is the most basic law of the land. It enshrines the most cherished aspirations and ideals of the population at large. It is not a document reserved only for scholarly disquisitions by the most eminent legal minds of the land. The Constitution is not intended only for lawyers to quibble over. . . . Its contents and words should be interpreted in the sense understood by ordinary men and women who place their lives on the line in its defense and who pin their hopes for a better life on its fulfillment.” “More than lingual elegance . . . I strive for simplicity, clarity and precision in nuances and shades of meanings.”

Not for him are the polished style and clever turn of phrases with which some justices – before and after Art’s appointment to the High Court in October 1995 – try to impress one another and the legal profession.

Considering that our Supreme Court was patterned, with some modification, after that of the United States Supreme Court, whose members are well-versed in English, how do we compare with them in point of style and content? Distinguished justices in the United States, such as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Benjamin C. Cardozo, and Louis D. Brandeis, developed their own writing style. (See Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States [1992]). Holmes is best remembered for “his wit, style and ability to sum up an argument in a pithy epigram.” Many judges, lawyers and law professors in Anglo-American jurisdictions, as well as in countries like the Philippines, remember what he wrote in Common Law, often called the greatest work of American legal scholarship: “The life of the law is not logic, it has been experience, the felt necessities of the time.” In Constitutional law cases, terms and concepts keep on changing and evolving. Holmes believed that such terms as “freedom of speech” and “due process of law,” embodied certain “fundamental principles of right” that should be viewed from the perspective of the common law and from centuries of experience. Because individual liberty lies at the very core of the American constitutional system, he wrote what has become a classic: “A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanging, but the skin of a living thought.” He laid down the “clear and present danger” rule to protect honest expressions of opinion. “The best test of truth,” said Holmes in the 1919 case Abrams v. United States, “is the power of thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only group upon which our wishes can be safely carried out.” In other words, political dissent, honestly expressed by a citizen, must be protected. This may well correspond to the emphasis of Chief Justice Art on Liberty, the first part of what he calls his judicial philosophy. While on the New York Court of Appeals, Benjamin N. Cardozo became the most celebrated common law judge of his time. In contract law, he exerted his efforts to instill fairness into ambiguous contracts rather than permitting contracts to entrap one of the parties. He was invited to deliver the Storrs Lectures at Yale Law School, which embodied his statement of the proper judicial decision-making process. In his 1921 book, The Nature of the Judicial Process, Cardozo argued for what he termed “sociological jurisprudence,” rooted in a sophisticated understanding of positivist jurisprudence and expressed with elegance and clarity. He led both bench and bar to interpret law guided by its purpose and function rather than as purely conceptual. After he was appointed by President Hoover in 1932 to the Supreme Court, replacing Holmes, he became a famous dissenter, together with Brandeis and Stone. He contributed to the redefinition of a constitutional rationale in Palko v. Connecticut (1937) in which Cardozo’s formula, “the essence of a scheme of ordered liberty,” became the basis for incorporating most of the Bill of Rights into the Fourteenth Amendment (the due process clause). It was Brandeis, a well-known legal practitioner and social activist before his appointment to the High Court, who became famous for his “Brandeis brief.” In the 1908 case Muller v. Oregon, he devoted only two pages of his brief to the discussion of legal issues; the remaining 110 pages presented evidence of the harmful effects of “long hours of labor on the health, safety, morals and general welfare of women.” His evidence was culled from medical reports, psychological treatises, statistical compilations and expert studies. The Brandeis brief was unprecedented – it was used to demonstrate that there was a reasonable basis for the Oregon statute. Before that, Supreme Court justices merely imposed their own views about what constituted reasonable legislation. The brief’s analysis was in line with fact-oriented sociological jurisprudence. It forced the Court to consider data that state legislators employed in drafting reform laws. The success of the Brandeis brief led many lawyers and courts to support a wide ranged economic legislation, which may well pertain to nurturing our poor people’s Prosperity, the second part of Art’s judicial philosophy. The Mining Law case,[1] the resolution of which was penned by then Associate Justice Panganiban, may be cited as a relevant example of the Brandeis approach. How about the importance of communicating the decisions of the Supreme Court to our people? In other countries, such as Japan, China, Russia, India, South Korea and Indonesia, decisions by all courts are written and promulgated in their own language. Our Supreme Court, weighed down by tradition and other considerations, may not go this far. But to enable the parties to the case and the public at large to know the important decisions of the Supreme Court, as stated by Justice Art, the latter can do something unprecedented here since the turn of the 20th century: hire and retain the services of proficient translators of most of its decisions into Filipino. This might serve as a model for other collegiate courts, such as the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Appeals. The fact of the matter is that Tagalog, the basis of Filipino, has been used in political discourse and campaigns since the 1930s. Today, TV and radio broadcasts, especially for entertainment and for the dissemination of local news, are usually in Filipino, the language of the masses. As usual, the courts, in a manner of speaking, seem to be far behind. II

The Leadership of Chief Justice Art

The leadership of Chief Justice Art is not a new trait. Consider only these 2 cases that could have diminished his chance to become Chief Justice, given the bias and predisposition of the appointing power. During the time of President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, who, even before he assumed office, had been for a compromise settlement with the Marcoses and their major cronies, Associate Justice Panganiban ruled that the General and Supplemental Agreements (otherwise known as the “Compromise Deal”) between the PCGG and the Marcos heirs dated December 28, 1993, were null and void, in that, inter alia: 1. “Criminal immunity cannot be granted to the Marcoses who are the principal defendants in the state of ill-gotten wealth cases now pending before the Sandiganbayan.” 2. Exempting the properties to be retained by the Marcos heirs from all forms of taxes “is a clear violation of the Constitution since the power to tax and grant exemptions is vested in Congress.” (Sec. 28 (4) Article VI of the Constitution) 3. The provision in the Agreement binding the Government “to cause the dismissal of all cases against the Marcos heirs is a direct encroachment on judicial powers, particularly in regard to criminal jurisdiction. Once a case is filed before a court of competent jurisdiction, the matter of its dismissal is within the full discretion and control of the judge.” 4. The provision in the Agreement that the Government waives “all claims . . . past, present and future” against the Marcoses is “contrary to law. . . . It is a virtual warrant for all public officials to amass funds illegally, since there is an option to compromise their liability in exchange for only a portion of their ill-gotten wealth.” In addition, be it noted that the compromise deal was entered into by PCGG Chairman Magtanggol Gunigundo, with the consent of President Fidel V. Ramos, who had appointed Art Panganiban to the High Court in October 1995. Then, at a time when it was uncertain whether Estrada would remain President or whether GMA would succeed him as President, Justice Panganiban, as ponente, ruled against Eduardo Danding Cojuangco in Republic v. Cocofed, et al., GR 147062-64. Justice Art declared in this landmark case that “coconut levy funds are not only affected with public interest” (as held by ex-Chief Justice Narvasa); “[t]hey are, in fact, prima facie public funds, because they are moneys belonging to the State or to any political subdivisions, raised by taxes, customs duties, and other operations. . . . Coconut levy funds are levies imposed by the State for the benefit of the coconut industry and its farmers.” Since he occupied the position of Chief Justice, his leadership – particularly in the timely disposition of the three cases involving Executive Order 464, the CPR policy, and Presidential Proclamation 1017, each of which was very important to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who had appointed Art – was placed at stake and became crucial. All the three decisions on these crucial cases showed beyond doubt the independence and the competence of the High Court and, in particular, the quality of Chief Justice Panganiban’s leadership. The Administration spokesmen said the President would follow the Supreme Court in each of these cases. Meantime, the Chief Justice was accorded glowing tributes by respected commentators and legal luminaries. (Nevertheless, the new Solicitor General filed Motions for Reconsideration in two cases – EO 464 and PP 1017 – both of which the Supreme Court, in a restatement of its independence, denied with finality.) In any case, of the three departments and agencies of Government, the July 6, 2006 SWS survey of Enterprises on Corruption gave the Supreme Court the most favorable rating: Net +40. The President, Congress, and the other agencies, such as the Comelec and the present PCGG, obtained negative ratings.

Leadership Functions
of a Chief Justice

In the cover article of the January 2006 issue of Kilosbayan-Bantay Katarungan Magazine, we stated that in every organization, three things are essential – leadership, leadership, and leadership. For example, in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Chief Justice, as Presiding Officer, controls the flow of the proceedings; as Titular Leader, the Office affords special opportunities for leadership; as Court Manager and Guardian, promoting intracourt harmony are tested to the limit. Each in his own time, Chief Justice John Marshall, Charles Evans Hughes, and Chief Justice Earl Warren possessed these talents and earned the respect of Bench and Bar and the entire nation. In the Preface to his latest book, Chief Justice Panganiban informs his readers here and abroad about the roles and functions of a Philippine Chief Justice, the gist of which is as follows:

The Roles and Functions
of a Chief Justice — a Gist

1. He is the primus inter pares among the 15 members of the Supreme Court. As presiding officer, he is able to control the flow of the proceedings, shape the Court’s agenda, summarize the discussions and influence the pace and direction of the Court’s work. Because he has only one vote, sometimes he may find himself voting with the minority in important litigations. 2. He is the leader of the entire judiciary and might become the role model of all public servants. The 2,000 judges and 26,000 employees hold him up for inspiration and example. In a corrupt, graft-ridden government, he is expected to be the role model and exemplar of many public servants. As the CJ is the head of the third branch of government, ambassadors routinely make courtesy calls on him upon their assumption of office. 3. He is a reformer and action person. Because the judiciary must cope with the judicial, social, economic, scientific and technological developments, he has to institute reforms. To keep up with the Information Age, the judiciary must automate and computerize; it must also interact with other offices, agencies and persons, public or private — and even with foreign governments and international aid institutions. 4. He is also the uncrowned leader of the bar. As the Constitution vests in the Supreme Court supervision over admission to the practice of law and the integrated bar itself, the CJ is looked upon by all lawyers and bar associations for guidance, direction and inspiration in the practice of law. 5. As ex-officio chair of the Philippine Judicial Academy, he is also a leader of the academe. He must be a teacher and scholar. He is expected to make the education of the judges a necessary component of his judicial priorities. 6. As chair of the Judicial and Bar Council, his crucial job is to find new and better ways of searching for, screening and selecting applicants for vacancies in the judiciary, especially in the lower courts. Because of the many vacancies in about 600 trial courts, the CJ is constrained to work for better compensation, better security for judges in remote areas, and better working conditions and facilities, and thereby entice competent, upright attorneys to join the judiciary.

The current task is to get the JBC to select nominees in about 300 vacant courts, thus reducing the past vacancy rate from 30%-40% to around 15%. Assuming an average of 10 applicants per position, the JBC must process, interview and select from 3,000 applicants. Failure to do so will mean no major breakthrough in carrying out the judicial reform program. The problem of delay in trial courts will not be solved.[2]

7. He is an administrator, manager and financial wizard all rolled into one. Though the Constitution vests in the Supreme Court “administrative supervision over all courts and the personnel thereof,” in actual practice, it is the CJ that discharges administrative functions. This is inevitable. The Administrative Code and the General Appropriation Act recognize the Chief Justice as the administrative head of the Judicial Department. The Judiciary Development Fund (PD 1949) and the Special Allowance for the Judiciary Law (RA 9227) places “sole exclusive power” upon the Chief Justice to disburse the JDF and the excess SAJ funds. ALL the foregoing roles of the Chief Justice detract from his basic judicial work of decision-making. But he cannot shun public appearances and speaking engagements. He must be reasonably visible in many social functions and receptions. He cannot isolate himself from the world but he must not be involved in the darkness and corruption of our society. One final word. Up to now, Chief Justice Art refers to me as his mentor or guru. He has exaggerated my role, as I stated elsewhere. He has spoken for the Supreme Court on various subjects beyond my limited range – including mathematics, the latest advances in science and technology, economics, accounting and even canon law. In a deeper sense, Art is my mentor. For he is no longer the same person I used to know. Like St. Paul who saw the blinding light on the road to Damascus, Art embarked on his own inward journey, saw the light and was transformed. I noticed the profound change after my return from exile on January 21, 1985 – one year before the EDSA 1 Revolution. As I wrote in the Preface to his first book, Love God, Serve Man: God is not finished with him yet. For life is a continuing process – all of us are enroute on some kind of never-ending journey. In Art’s case, it has been a spiritual journey more than anything else. From the usual concern for himself and his worldly pursuits, his post-EDSA speeches reflect a deeper concern for the riches of the human spirit; his strong faith in a power bigger than himself; and his abiding concern for the poor, the weak and the marginalized in a society that should be just, more caring and more compassionate. JOVITO R.SALONGA

July 31, 2006
Pasig City, Metro Manila

 

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Hon. Chao Hick Tin, President of the Asean Law Association (ALA) during a Testimonial for Hon. Artemio V. Panganiban on April 22, 2006

Message

The Honorable CHAO HICK TIN
Attorney General of Singapore
President, Asean Law Association

(A Testimonial for Hon. Artemio V. Panganiban, Chief Justice of the Philippines, Saturday, 22 April 2006 7:00 in the evening at the Ballroom Dusit Hotel Nikko, Makati City)

It was with great pleasure and delight that I was informed of Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban’s appointment as the 21st Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

Chief Justice Panganiban is a close friend of ALA. He was one of the original pioneers of the organisation, having been active in its Working Committee since the inaugural General Assembly held in Manila in 1980. A brilliant and respected jurist, and a prolific writer, he is an acknowledged contributor to one of the world’s great revolutions – the revolution of knowledge. Anyone who knows Chief Justice Panganiban will testify that he stands for steadfastness, honesty, dedication and progress. I am proud that one of our very own, and especially one deserving as Chief Justice Panganiban, has been elevated to the highest judicial office in the land.

As President of ALA I am honoured to be part of this celebration of achievement. Chief Justice Panganiban has been and continues to be an inspiration, and a constant source of encouragement, to all of us at ALA. I wish him every success throughout his tenure in office.

 

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Justice Romeo J. Callejo, Sr. during a Testimonial for Hon. Artemio V. Panganiban on April 22, 2006

Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban

THE “FOUNDING FATHER” OF PHILIPPINE JUDICIAL REFORM
By Mr. Justice ROMEO J. CALLEJO, SR (Associate Justice)

(A Testimonial for Hon. Artemio V. Panganiban, Chief Justice of the Philippines, Saturday, 22 April 2006 7:00 in the evening at the Ballroom Dusit Hotel Nikko, Makati City)

One book a year and no cases left undecided. This is Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban’s unsurpassed record and the best summation of judicial reform. Why did the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court endeavour to write one book a year? The Chief Justice provided the most convincing answer in his book “Reforming the Judiciary”. In that book, he wrote: “early on, however, we realized that the key to developing a sound reform was the ability to distinguish fact from perception. Thus, we also conducted perception surveys that provided an impression of how judges, court personnel and external stakeholders viewed the gravity of the problems. From such surveys we likewise gauged the level of public confidence in the existing judicial system. Accordingly, we were able to ground the reform program on a realistic assessment of the facts that would make our project goals more viable and consequently enhance the public image of the judiciary.” Establishing lines of communication between the courts and their stakeholders, both internal and external, and keeping the lines open-this is what the book “Reforming the Judiciary” is all about.

The good chief Justice also has to his credit an Action Program for Judicial Reform. It is a commitment of which Chief Justice Panganiban can rightly be called a “founding father”. Not only is he a member of the Committee that oversees the fruition of the program. He has also been its spokesperson. In his presentation during the round table discussion on Philippine Judicial Reforms held in Ottawa, Canada on June 19, 2002, he summarized in ten points the dimensions of the reform program to which the Philippine judiciary has dedicated itself. Consistent with the philosophical tack he has always taken, the Chief Justice examines the presuppositions and prerequisites of judicial reform with characteristic incisiveness.

Chief Justice Panganiban is also one who would assert that good governance begins with ethics. He considers the four “ins”; integrity, independence, intelligence and industry as the constituents of an ethical disposition and the beginning of all good governance. While the Supreme Court has been unrelenting and severe in dealing with judges’ misdeeds, it has always preferred a more positive approach: leading by example and teaching by present. The books of the Chief Justice attempt to remind judges what is expected of them. As importantly, in his book “Reforming the Judiciary”, the Chief Justice informs the public of the standards judges go by, for it is important that citizens realize that judges’ decisions and orders are crafted not principally to please, not to win applause and approval, but to apply the law and to do justice as the law dictates. As a department chair of Criminal Law in the Philippine Judicial Academy, I was informed that once, Chief Justice Panganiban clearly told the representatives of agencies that had offered assistance to judicial reforms that while the Supreme Court could only welcome assistance, it would nevertheless do so discriminatingly, zealously guarding its independence.

One of Chief Justice Panganiban’s earlier works was simply titled “Transparency”. He returns to the same theme in his succeeding books and fittingly so, for it is to the passion for transparency that the author’s one-book-a-year commitment may be ascribed. There can hardly be anything more helpful to the cause of transparency than keeping the public informed of the workings of the court, of its achievement, of the challenges that face it and yes, even of its disappointments. Chief Justice Panganiban always advances the thesis that transparency insofar as adjudication is concerned is the key to the acceptability of judgments by the public. This is point of utmost importance. For members of the bench, one’s popular acceptability is not the crucial criterion. It is rather the result of transparency in the fair and impartial disposition of cases.

The Greek word for reforms is metanoia but this means not just changing one’s mind. It means, above all, changing one’s heart. Chief Justice Panganiban chose as the opening passage of his book “Reforming the Judiciary” a quotation from the Gospel’s exhorting to conversion. Conversion is the order of the day not because the Court has betrayed the trust the Republic has reposed in it, but because it dedicates itself to the unrelenting, unhesitating self-examination and self-scrutiny that will allow it to be worthy of the trust the public has and ought to have in it, the confidence that has merited for it accolades not only here (witness the “Filipino of the Year 2001” recognition which Chief Justice Panganiban reflects on) but also abroad. It has set its sights on re-engineering itself, on focusing its attention and its resources on the goals of independence, credibility, and competence shoving aside every other adventitious and even tangential consideration to dwell on the “heart of the matter.” Reform and conversion these after all are matters of the heart which the Chief Justice and the entire judiciary are all together continuously working for. This auspicious testimonial dinner organized by the Asean Law Association (ALA) in cooperation with the ALAPhilippine National Committee is indeed a tribute to the major contributions of the Chief Justice to the judiciary as founding father of the Philippine judicial system.

 

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Atty. Avelino V. Cruz during a Testimonial for Hon. Artemio V. Panganiban on April 22, 2006

Message

The Honorable AVELINO V. CRUZ
Chairman, ALA Philippine National Committee
President, Asean Law Association of the Philippines

(A Testimonial for Hon. Artemio V. Panganiban, Chief Justice of the Philippines, Saturday, 22 April 2006 7:00 in the evening at the Ballroom Dusit Hotel Nikko, Makati City)

In behalf of the Philippine National Committee, I am privileged to welcome our guests, especially those from otherASEAN nations, to this Testimonial in honor of the Chief Justice of the Philippines, Artemio V. Panganiban.

His elevation sustains an ALA tradition, as ALA member jurists continue to assume the leadership of their respective high courts in the Asean countries. Recall that in the Philippines, the late Chief Justice Marcelo Fernan and former Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. were both pillars and ardent supporters of ALA. Names of chief magistrates in their respective highest courts such as Tun Suffian, Purwoto Gandasubatra, Mohamed Dzaiddin, Bagir Manan, Atthaniti Disatha Amnarj and Sansern Kraichitti, resonate through the corridors of ALA’s 25-year history.

By the same token, counterpart leadership in their respective Bar Societies and the Academe such as that of T P B Menon, Edgardo J. Angara, Hendon Mohamed, Komar Kantaatmadjia, Franklin M. Drilon, Tan Sook Yee, S. Jayakumar and Teuku Rdhie, to name just a few, mirror the uniqueness of the ALA family whose members are, in their home countries, primus inter pares in their respective fields.

I would like to particularly welcome and congratulate ALA President, Justice Chao Hick Tin, who was recently elevated to the position of Attorney General of Singapore, as well as Singapore National Committiee Vice Chairman, Mr. Lee Seiu Kin, who was appointed Justice of the Singapore Supreme Court.

This ALA testimonial is a fitting tribute to Chief Justice Panganiban, one of the Philippines’ most brilliant and respected jurists, the moving spirit and tireless organizer behind last year’s unprecedented global conference in Judicial Reform. A true ALA pioneer with whom I worked closely in the 1980 1st ALA General Assembly in Manila, he has in recent years, contributed tirelessly in virtually all Governing Council and General Assembly meetings, and even in the ALA Golfers Club events.

In behalf of all members of ALA Philippines, I wish to convey to Chief Justice Panganiban our warmest personal regards and best wishes.

 

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Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez during a Testimonial Dinner of the Society for Judicial Excellence on January 19, 2006

Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban:

A Man of Service, A Great Man

(Delivered by Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez during the Testimonial Dinner, tendered by the Society for Judicial Excellence, in honor of Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban on January 19, 2006, at 6:00 o-clock in the afternoon, Manila Diamond Hotel.)

Our honouree, Mr. Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, and Mrs Leni Panganiban, now the first lady of the judiciary, officers and members of the Society for Judicial Excellence, distinguished guests, especially Justice Hermosisima, Dean Dimayuga, Dir. Evelyn Dumdum, our Clerk of Court Ma. Luisa Villarama, Atty. Ishmael Khan, Atty. Lulu Laurea, ladies and gentlemen, good evening!

With the myriad compliments affectionately bestowed on our honouree by our excellent speakers, I believe I must only confine myself to the role thrust upon me – i.e., to bring this affair to its lifting culmination.

It has been a very splendid evening for all of us in the Society for Judicial Excellence. Breaking bread with the new chief justice signifies the continuation of the alliance we earlier forged with Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. – an alliance made stronger by the fact that Chief Justice Panganiban is our society’s “founding father.” It was upon his advice and encouragement, as chairman of the Committee on Judicial Excellence Awards, that we organized ourselves into a Society. Yes, our Society is his brainchild. This evening, therefore, presents the excellent opportunity for the “father” and his “child” to pledge their support and commitment to one another. And without being too presumptuous, I am sure that with the chief justice as the “father,” a brighter future lies ahead for our Society and of course, for our members.

My dear awardees, lest our motive in holding this testimonial dinner be held suspect, let me emphasize that we honor Chief Justice Panganiban, not only because of his well-deserved appointment as chief justice, but also because of his unparalleled achievements. We have to grasp from his works the lessons that will propel us to greater heights of success. A role model, we have to follow his example. A summation of all his fine qualities mentioned this evening, shows that his is the finest standard of ethics, professional competence, integrity and independence – all the virtues and ideals for which our Society stands for. These are the same virtues and ideals that catapulted him to the category of those great men who have made their marks in history.

At this juncture, I am reminded of what Jane Addams, an American social activist, considered as “a great man who has made his mark in history.” She described him as follows:
“He is a man who has looked through the confusion of the moment and has seen the moral issue involved;
He is a man who has refused to have his sense of justice distorted;

He has listened to his conscience until it becomes a trumpet call to like-minded men, so that they gather about him and together, with mutual purpose and mutual aid, they make a new period in history.”

Chief Justice Panganiban is the embodiment of such “great man”. Thus, his conscience serves a trumpet call to all of us here who adhere to his ideals and virtues. And we know that if we join hands with him; if we open ourselves to his judicial reforms and assist him all the way; if we look up to him as a leader, we too can make a mark in the history of the Supreme Court.

Allow me to cut short my remarks at this point, lest I would be taking much of your precious time. As I bid you goodnight, let me leave to you some thoughts to ponder: “the lessons of great men are lost unless they reinforce upon our minds the highest demands which we make upon ourselves; they are lost unless they drive our sluggish wills forward in the direction of their highest ideals.” Tonight we have honoured our chief justice for his sterling qualities, but this would amount to nothing if we cannot draw from them the inspiration to continue our quest for the best and the highest in life.

Mabuhay si Chief Justice Panganiban!

Thank you and God bless everyone!

 

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Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez during the 10th Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. Distinguished Lecture last October 19, 2005

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.

 

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