Now retired from the judiciary, Chief Justice Panganiban writes a column every Sunday at the Philippine Daily Inquirer. His favorite topic is principled and visionary leadership by example, which he believes the country needs to move forward socially, economically and politically. He is also an adviser, consultant and/or independent director of several business, civic, non-government, and religious groups, and a favorite speaker in various fora, round-table discussions, seminars and talk-shows.
As of October 1, 2020, retired Chief Justice Panganiban is an Independent Director of some publicly-listed companies in the Philippines like: Manila Electric Company (Meralco); Petron Corporation; First Philippine Holdings Corp.; Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT); Metro Pacific Investments Corp.; Robinsons Land Corp.; GMA Network, Inc.; GMA Holdings, Inc.; and Asian Terminals, 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, Double Dragon Properties Corp. and MerryMart Consumer Group; and Independent Director of some non-listed companies like Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., Tollways Management Corporation and Asian Hospital, Inc.; as well as non-executive Director, TeaM Energy Corp.
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 Cathedral-Basilica Foundation; Trustee, Claudio Teehankee Foundation, Speaker Laurel Foundation and Tan Yan Kee Foundation; and Adviser, World Bank (Philippines); Asian Institute of Management Corporate Governance Center; Johann Strauss Society; Mapa Blue Falcon Honor Society and Consultant (since September 1, 2016) of the Judicial and Bar Council, the constitutionally-created entity that vets appointments to the judiciary. On August 18, 2017, he was named a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands.
During the eleven years (1995-2006) that former Chief Justice Panganiban was a member of the Supreme Court, he penned about 1,200 full-length decisions, 100 separate opinions and eleven books, plus several thousand minute resolutions disposing of controversies. For this highly productive feat, he was described by a colleague (Justice Antonio T. Carpio) as “undoubtedly the most prolific writer of the Court, bar none.” According to another colleague, 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.” On her part, Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez lauded his “preeminent judicial craftsmanship, social philosophies and literary style…” A “renaissance man… a nobly-souled and gifted jurist” is how Justice (later, Chief Justice) Renato C. Corona described him.
His year as Chief Justice was also busily spent attending to the many and varied concerns of the Judicial Department. Aside from heading the Supreme Court and the entire Philippine judiciary, he concurrently chaired the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) and the Philippine Judicial Academy (PhilJA).
The 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.”
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.”
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 that stated in part:
“Indeed, his watch as Chief Justice ushered a judicial renaissance, during which the Court set new and loftier standards for adjudication and reform. Through his exemplary devotion to his public duties and commitment to excellence and ethics, not to mention his unique and unquenchable zest for life, wisdom, wit, grace, and good humor, he leaves behind a Supreme Court and a judiciary whose independence, integrity, credibility, and prestige have attained record heights fully recognized nationally and globally. Now, therefore, in testimony of the foregoing, we, his colleagues, acclaim him as the 21st Century’s Renaissance Jurist.”
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.”
Some Past Activities
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.
He finished “With Honors” his elementary and high school, and “With Highest Honors” his preparatory law course (Associate in Arts). In 1959, even prior to his law graduation, he was named as the “Most Outstanding Student” of Far Eastern University. After finishing his Bachelor of Laws degree cum laude in 1960, he placed sixth in the bar examinations of that same year. A popular campus figure, he was, among others, founder and past president of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), and past president of the FEU Central Student Organization.
To support his early studies at Juan Luna Elementary School and Mapa High School, which are both public schools, he hawked newspapers, peddled cigarettes and shined shoes in the streets of Sampaloc in Manila. During his college days, he sold textbooks to his classmates, and bibles to his professors and university officials. The youngest of four children, he was born of impoverished parents who died while he was still in school. Of his struggles as a young student, former Senator Rene A. V. Saguisag, wrote, “Orphaned but toughened early, learning what time it is and which way is south, and learning reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmitic, would prepare one for the business of life. Just as good as a formal course in Thomas Carlyle’s dismal science – economics.”
Describing CJ Panganiban’s humble beginnings, retired Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno said that his predecessor had successfully “leapfrogged the social and economic barriers of Philippine society… [and] in the Supreme Court, best blossomed for God and country.” Chief Justice Puno also hailed former Chief Justice Panganiban’s legal philosophy of Liberty and Prosperity Under the Rule of Law as one “with long longevity… [one that is] not only right… but also ripe in time.”
Former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno added, “The life story of Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban is as improbable as it is inspiring; a poor but bright boy who shined shoes and hawked newspapers in the street of Manila rose through merit and sheer hard work to become a successful entrepreneur and, later, Chief Justice of the land.”
He is married to Elenita C. Panganiban, professor and former associate dean of the Asian Institute of Management, with whom he has five children who all hold graduate degrees from pedigreed US universities, including Harvard, Stanford, University of California, University of Chicago, University of Michigan and Boston University.
Some Introductions of Chief Justice Panganiban
- Remarks by Marixi R. Prieto, Chair of the Philippine Daily Inquirer during the book launching of CJ Panganiban’s “With Due Respect 2” on March 15, 2017 at the De La Salle University campus in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
- Speech delivered by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno during the launch of retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban’s book With Due Respect 2 on March 15, 2017 at the De La Salle University (DLSU) College of Law, Rufino Campus, Bonifacio Global City
- Celine Panganiban Hannett, daughter of Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, during the staging of the musical, “Ageless Passion” on December 20, 2016 at the new Maybank Performing Arts Theater, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
- Chief Justice (ret.) Hilario G. Davide, Jr. at the launch of Chief Justice Panganibans’s book titled “With Due Respect, selected columns in the Inquirer” held on March 29, 2012 at Powerbooks, Greenbelt, Makati City.
- Aurelio Montinola III, President of the Bankers’ Association of the Philippines and of the Bank of the Philippine Islands, on the launch by the Philippine Daily Inquirer of the book “With Due Respect” on Mar 29, 2012 at the Powerbooks, Greenbelt 4, Makati
- Ms. Chit Lijauco, Managing Editor, Philippine Tatler Magazine, May 2009 issue.
- Robert Kwan, Chairman of the Board, St. Luke’s Hospital, upon reading two of Chief Justice Panganiban’s books
- H.E. Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams during the Reception on February 11, 2008
- Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto G. Romulo during the Reception in Honor of H.E. Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams on February 11, 2008
- Bishop Socrates Villegas during the Retirement of Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban on December 06, 2006
- 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
- Rina Jimenez-David from Inquirer/Opinion (At Large) October 29, 2006
- Hon. Jovito R. Salonga from his Foreword to “Liberty and Prosperity”: July 1, 2006
- Hon. Chao Hick Tin, President of the Asean Law Association (ALA) during a Testimonial for Hon. Artemio V. Panganiban on April 22, 2006
- Justice Romeo J. Callejo, Sr. during a Testimonial for Hon. Artemio V. Panganiban on April 22, 2006
- Atty. Avelino V. Cruz during a Testimonial for Hon. Artemio V. Panganiban on April 22, 2006
- Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez during a Testimonial Dinner of the Society for Judicial Excellence on January 19, 2006
- Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez during the 10th Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. Distinguished Lecture last October 19, 2005