Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
An associate justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines (Filipino: Kasangguning Mahistrado ng Kataas-taasang Hukuman ng Pilipinas) is one of fifteen members of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, the highest court in the Philippines. The Chief Justice presides over the high court, but carries only one of the 15 votes in the court. Traditionally, the Chief Justice is deemed primus inter pares ("first among equals") among the justices.
Until 1973, only men were appointed as Associate Justices to the Court. Cecilia Muñoz-Palma, an appointee of President Ferdinand Marcos, was the first woman to sit on the Court. Since then, 15 other women have been appointed as Associate Justices of the Supreme Court. The most recent woman to be appointed to the high tribunal is Priscilla J. Baltazar-Padilla, a former Justice of the Court of Appeals of the Philippines.
Current associate justicesEdit
There are currently twelve associate justices on the Supreme Court, with the most recent appointment being that of Jhosep Lopez, who was appointed on January 26, 2021, and sworn on January 27, 2021, succeeding Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla, whose early retirement was approved on November 3, 2020. A seat was left vacant as then-Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as the 27th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court replacing retired Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, who retired early last March 27, 2021. A second seat was vacated by when Edgardo Delos Santos retired early on June 30, 2021. The justices, ordered by seniority, are:
Constitutional requirements and limitationsEdit
Under the 1987 Constitution, the minimum requirements for appointment to the Supreme Court are natural born citizenship; 40 years of age; and 15 years or more as a judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines. (sec. 7(1), Article VIII) The members of the Court are appointed by the President from a list of at least 3 nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council. (sec. 9, Article VIII) The appointment is not subject to confirmation by Congress.
Members of the Court are mandated to retire upon reaching the age of 70. (sec. 11, Article VIII) They may also be removed from office through impeachment, which is accomplished through a resolution of impeachment affirmed by a 1/3 vote of all members of the House of Representatives and conviction by 2/3 vote of all members of the Senate.
Since 1901, there has always been only one Chief Justice. In contrast, the number of Associate Justices has wildly varied. From the original number of six (1901–1916), this was increased to eight (1916–1935), then to ten (1935–1940). During the years 1940–1945, the membership varied from five to seven. After liberation in 1945, the number was reset to ten, and the current number of fourteen was first set in place with the enactment of the 1973 Constitution. During the first few months of the Aquino administration, ten Associate Justices sat on the Court, but the appointment of Carolina Griño-Aquino in February 1988 finally restored the number of Associate Justices at fourteen.
The cases decided by the Supreme Court involve several classes of disputes. Most prominently, the Court is called upon to exercise the power of judicial review of presidential or legislative actions. More often, the Court also undertakes appellate review of decisions of the trial courts and the Court of Appeals in civil and criminal cases. The Court is also tasked with deciding administrative cases involving members and employees of the judiciary and of lawyers belonging to the Philippine Bar. The decisions of the Court become part of the law of the land.
Each Justice carries one vote on the Court which they exercise whether when sitting in Division, or in the full complement of 15 (or "en banc"). Since the 1970s, the Supreme Court has sat in three divisions, with five Justices as members of each division. As most Supreme Court cases are decided by the division rather than the en banc, a vote of three Justices sitting in a division is usually sufficient to decide the case. However, the Constitution prescribes instances whereby a case must be decided en banc, such as in declaring a law as unconstitutional or when a judicial precedent is overturned. Each vote can be crucial, as recently shown in the 2006 People's Initiative case (Lambino v. COMELEC), which was decided en banc by an 8–7 vote.
As a case is decided, one justice in the majority is assigned to write the majority opinion for the Court. Even as these decisions speak in behalf of the Court, the writer of the opinion (known as the "ponente") is strongly identified with the decision, and the body of opinions of each Justice enhances his/her reputation. Many important opinions are analyzed in law schools and are well-remembered long after the Justice had left the Court. For example, several of the opinions of Associate Justice Jose P. Laurel were crucial in the development of Philippine jurisprudence and are widely read and quoted nearly 70 years after they had been written.
Any other Justice, whether they be in the majority or in the minority, is entitled to write a separate opinion in a case to clarify his/her views, or even to challenge the points raised in the majority opinion. In the 1973 case of Javellana v. Executive Secretary, concerning the ratification of the 1973 Constitution, each Justice chose to write a separate opinion, while more recently, the 2005 decision on the Expanded VAT Law (Abakada v. Executive Secretary) saw 11 separate opinions. The separate opinions of a Justice in the majority is usually known as a "concurring opinion", while one penned by a Justice in the minority is known as a "dissenting opinion". A Justice who only partially agrees with the majority opinion while disagreeing with portions thereof may even write a "concurring and dissenting opinion".
While these separate opinions do not receive as much public attention as majority opinions, they are usually studied in the legal academe and by other judges. On several occasions, views expressed in a dissenting or concurring opinion were adopted by the Supreme Court in later years. Justice Gregorio Perfecto, whose staunch libertarian views were out of sync with the Cold War era, wrote over 140 dissenting opinions in just 4 years. Years after his death, some of his views in dissent, such as in Moncado v. People's Court (1948) were adopted by a more liberal Supreme Court.
The rule of seniorityEdit
The Associate Justices of the Court are usually ordered according to the date of their appointment. There are no official ramifications as to this ranking, although the order determines the seating arrangement on the bench and is duly considered in all matters of protocol. Within the discretion of the Court, the ranking may also factor into the composition of the divisions of the Court.
In 1986, the order of seniority in the Court was modified upon the assumption to the presidency of Corazon C. Aquino. President Aquino had sought to reorganize the Court by obtaining the resignation of most of the Associate Justices who had been appointed by Ferdinand Marcos, and filling those vacancies with her own choices. Eventually, Aquino chose to re-appoint three Marcos-appointed Justices: Ameurfina A. Melencio-Herrera, Hugo E. Gutierrez, Jr. and Nestor B. Alampay, but did so only after appointing several new Justices to the Court. The previous service of these three were not considered for the purposes of determining seniority. This point would cause a minor controversy in 1992. During that time, it was advocated in some sectors that Herrera, as the longest serving incumbent Associate Justice, was more qualified to succeed the resigned Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan than Andres R. Narvasa, who was considered as the Senior Associate Justice despite having been appointed to the Court 7 years after Melencio-Herrera. President Aquino eventually appointed Narvasa over Herrera.
The incumbent Justice with the earliest date of appointment is deemed the Senior Associate Justice. While the Senior Associate Justice has no constitutional or statutory duties, he or she usually acts as Acting Chief Justice during the absence of the Chief Justice. The Senior Associate Justice is also usually designated as the chairperson of the second division of the Court.
The following became Senior Associate Justices in their tenure in the Supreme Court:
|No.||Senior Associate Justice||Year Appointed||Tenure|
|2||Elias Finley Johnson||1903||1920–1933|
|3||Thomas A. Street||1917||1933–1935|
|4||George A. Malcolm||1917||1936–1936|
|6||José Abad Santos||1932||1940–1941|
|7||José P. Laurel Sr.||1936||1941–1942|
|8||Manuel V. Moran||1938||1942–1945|
|10||Ricardo M. Parás Jr.||1941||1950–1951|
|11||Felicisimo R. Feria||1945||1951–1953|
|12||César F. Bengzon||1945||1953–1961|
|13||Sabino B. Padilla||1945||1961– 1964|
|14||Roberto R. Concepcion, Jr.||1954||1964–1966|
|15||Jose B. L. Reyes||1954||1966–1972|
|16||Querube C. Makalintal||1962||1972–1973|
|18||Fred Ruiz Castro||1966||1975–1976|
|19||Enrique M. Fernando Sr.||1967||1976–1979|
|20||Claudio Teehankee Sr.||1968||1979–1986|
|21||Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera||1979 and 1986||1986–1992|
|22||Hugo Gutierrez Jr.||1982 and 1986||1992–1993|
|23||Isagani A. Cruz||1986||1993–1994|
|24||Teodoro R. Padilla||1987||1994–1997|
|25||Florenz D. Regalado||1988||1997–1998|
|26||Flerida Ruth P. Romero||1991||1998–1999|
|27||Josue N. Bellosillo||1992||1999–2003|
|28||Reynato S. Puno||1993||2003–2005|
|29||Leonardo A. Quisumbing||1998||2005–2009|
|20||Antonio T. Carpio||2001||2009–2019|
|30||Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe||2011||2019–present|
Becoming chief justiceEdit
Only two persons appointed as Chief Justice had not previously served as Associate Justices. These were Cayetano Arellano, the first Chief Justice, and Jose Yulo, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives who was appointed as Chief Justice during the Japanese period. All other Chief Justices, except for Victorino Mapa, were incumbent Associate Justices at the time of their appointment as Chief Justice. Mapa had served as Associate Justice from 1901 to 1913, when he was appointed as Secretary of Justice. Mapa would be appointed as Chief Justice in 1920.
Another tradition, though less stringently observed, was that the most senior Associate Justice would be appointed as Chief Justice upon a permanent vacancy to that post. Deviations from this tradition, especially in recent years, have caused some controversy. Senior Associate Justice Claudio Teehankee, who had emerged as a fervent critic of Ferdinand Marcos, was twice bypassed for Chief Justice by Marcos. More recently, in 2005, the appointment of Artemio Panganiban as Chief Justice over Senior Associate Justice Reynato Puno was also the subject of some controversy. Puno was eventually appointed as Chief Justice in 2006. Another contender for Chief Justice in 2006 was Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. Had Santiago been appointed Chief Justice, she would have been the first person since Jose Yulo in 1942 to have been appointed Chief without serving as Associate Justice. When Justice Renato Corona assumed as Chief Justice on May 17, 2010, the most senior Associate Justice was Antonio Carpio, who was appointed to the Court in October 2001, 6 months before Corona's own appointment.
List of associate justices of the Supreme Court of the PhilippinesEdit
Living associate justices of the Supreme Court of the PhilippinesEdit
|13||Regino C. Hermosisima Jr.||October 18, 1927||93 years, 338 days||Current oldest living former Associate Justice|
|28||Minerva Gonzaga-Reyes||September 25, 1931||89 years, 361 days|
|30||Bernardo P. Pardo||February 11, 1932||89 years, 222 days|
|36||Santiago M. Kapunan||August 12, 1932||89 years, 40 days|
|42||Vicente V. Mendoza||April 5, 1933||88 years, 169 days|
|44||Josue N. Bellosillo||November 13, 1933||87 years, 312 days|
|50||Jose C. Vitug||July 15, 1934||87 years, 68 days|
|59||Hilario Davide Jr.||December 20, 1935||85 years, 275 days||Nineteenth Chief Justice (1998–2005)|
|64||Artemio Panganiban||December 7, 1936||84 years, 288 days||20th Chief Justice (2005–2007)|
|66||Romeo J. Callejo, Sr.||April 28, 1937||84 years, 146 days|
|70||Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez||February 28, 1938||83 years, 205 days|
|76||Ruben T. Reyes||January 3, 1939||82 years, 261 days|
|78||Adolfo S. Azcuna||February 16, 1939||82 years, 217 days|
|79||Dante O. Tiñga||May 11, 1939||82 years, 133 days|
|82||Consuelo Ynares-Santiago||October 5, 1939||81 years, 351 days|
|83||Minita V. Chico-Nazario||December 5, 1939||81 years, 290 days|
|84||Reynato Puno||May 17, 1940||81 years, 127 days||22nd Chief Justice (2006–2010)|
|86||Alicia Austria-Martinez||December 19, 1940||80 years, 276 days|
|88||Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura||June 13, 1941||80 years, 100 days|
|89||Conchita Carpio-Morales||June 19, 1941||80 years, 94 days|
|98||Roberto A. Abad||May 22, 1944||77 years, 122 days|
|111||Martin Villarama Jr.||April 14, 1946||75 years, 160 days|
|114||Jose P. Perez||December 14, 1946||74 years, 281 days|
|115||Arturo D. Brion||December 29, 1946||74 years, 266 days|
|121||Bienvenido L. Reyes||July 6, 1947||74 years, 77 days|
|123||Jose C. Mendoza||August 13, 1947||74 years, 39 days|
|129||Presbitero Velasco Jr.||August 8, 1948||73 years, 44 days|
|134||Teresita Leonardo-de Castro||October 8, 1948||72 years, 348 days||de Jure 24th Chief Justice (2018)|
|136||Samuel R. Martires||January 2, 1949||72 years, 262 days||Currently serving as the Ombudsman|
|137||Noel G. Tijam||January 5, 1949||72 years, 259 days|
|141||Mariano del Castillo||July 29, 1949||72 years, 54 days|
|142||Francis Jardeleza||September 26, 1949||71 years, 360 days|
|143||Lucas Bersamin||October 18, 1949||71 years, 338 days||25th Chief Justice (2018–2019)|
|144||Antonio Carpio||October 26, 1949||71 years, 330 days|
|148||Andres B. Reyes Jr.||May 11, 1950||71 years, 133 days|
|150||Jose Reyes Jr.||September 18, 1950||71 years, 3 days|
|153||Rosmari Carandang||January 9, 1952||69 years, 255 days|
|155||Diosdado Peralta||March 27, 1952||69 years, 178 days||26th Chief Justice (2019– 2021)|
|156||Estela Perlas-Bernabe||May 14, 1952||69 years, 130 days|
|157||Edgardo L. Delos Santos||June 12, 1952||69 years, 101 days|
|163||Mario V. Lopez||June 4, 1955||66 years, 109 days|
|170||Alexander Gesmundo||November 6, 1956||64 years, 319 days||27th Chief Justice (2021–present)|
|172||Amy Lazaro-Javier||November 16, 1956||64 years, 309 days|
|173||Henri Jean Paul B. Inting||September 4, 1957||64 years, 17 days|
|175||Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla||July 2, 1958||63 years, 81 days|
|176||Samuel H. Gaerlan||December 19, 1958||62 years, 276 days|
|177||Ricardo Rosario||October 15, 1958||62 years, 341 days|
|179||Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa||September 30, 1959||61 years, 356 days|
|181||Maria Lourdes Sereno||July 2, 1960||61 years, 81 days||de facto Chief Justice (2012–2018)|
|184||Marvic Leonen||December 29, 1962||58 years, 266 days|
|186||Jhosep Lopez||February 8, 1963||58 years, 225 days|
|189||Rodil V. Zalameda||August 3, 1963||58 years, 49 days|
|190||Japar Dimaampao||December 27, 1963||57 years, 268 days|
|191||Ramon Paul Hernando||August 27, 1966||55 years, 25 days|
The most recent death of a former Justice was that of Jose Armando R. Melo who passed away on October 17, 2020, at the age of 88 years, 141 days.
Notable associate justicesEdit
- To date, one Associate Justice, José P. Laurel, would later serve as President of the Philippines. Laurel also ran for the presidency in 1949 but was defeated by Elpidio Quirino. Another Associate Justice, Claro M. Recto, would be a candidate for president, but he and former Chief Justice Jose Yulo lost to Carlos P. Garcia in the 1957 presidential election.
- Since 1973 there are Seventeen women appointed as Associate Justices of the Court (by Appointing President)
- Ferdinand Marcos (1965–1986)
- Corazon Aquino (1986–1992)
- Joseph Estrada (1998–2001)
- Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (2001–2010)
- Benigno Aquino III (2010–2016)
- Rodrigo Duterte (2016–incumbent)
- Among the Catholic Justices There are other denominations from which justices came from.
- There has been notable pairs Appointed in the Supreme Court
- Husband and Wife
- The Torreses: Florentino Torres (appointed in 1901) and Luis (appointed in 1949)
- The Parases: Chief Justice Ricardo Paras (appointed in 1941) and his son, Associate Justice Edgardo (appointed in 1987)
- The Padillas: Sabino Padilla (appointed in 1946, again in 1950) and Teodoro (Appointed in 1987);
- The Ferias: Felicisimo Feria (appointed in 1945) and Jose (appointed in 1986)).
- At age 35, American George A. Malcolm was the youngest person ever appointed Associate Justice, in 1915. However, the present age limit in the Constitution is 40. The youngest Filipinos named Associate Justices were Claro M. Recto (45 years, 4 months, 25 days old) and Ramon Avanceña (45 years, 5 months, 18 days old).
- The oldest person named Associate Justice was Jose C. Campos, Jr. (69 years, 4 months and 23 days old), serving under President Fidel Ramos in 1993. However, Jose Lopez Vito was 69 years, 364 days old when he temporarily sat in Court to fill a vacancy during the Japanese occupation. The oldest Justice to ever sit in Court upon retirement or death was Florentino Torres, who was 75 when he resigned in 1920; this was prior to the specification of any age limit.
- The longest-serving Associate Justice was American Elias Finley Johnson, who served in that position for 29 years, 5 months and 27 days, from 1903 to 1933. The longest serving Filipino Associate Justice was Florentino Torres, who served for 18 years, 10 months, and 3 days, from 1901 to 1920. Justices Ramon Avanceña and Cesar Bengzon would serve longer in the Court than Torres, but their tenure as Associate Justice was terminated by their upon their appointment as Chief Justice in 1925 and 1961 respectively.
- The Associate Justice serving the shortest period was Ramon Diokno, a former Senator who died 2 months and 11 days after his appointment in 1954.
- The youngest Associate Justice to die was American Fletcher Ladd, who died shortly after resigning in 1903 aged 40 years and 356 days; Ladd had served in the Court for less than two years. The youngest Filipino Justice to die was José Abad Santos, who was executed by the Imperial Japanese Army at age 56 years, 73 days. Gregorio Perfecto meanwhile died in office aged 57 years, 262 days.
- Of the 188 Justices of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, 12 (3 Chief Justices and 9 Associate Justices) died while serving their respective tenures they were
- Chief Justice Manuel Araullo (1924)
- Associate Justice Charles Johns (1932)
- Associate Justice Ignacio Villamor (1933)
- Associate Justice Carlos Imperial (1941)
- Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos (1942)
- Associate Justice Anacleto Diaz (1945)
- Associate Justice Antonino Villareal (1945)
- Associate Justice Gregorio Perfecto (1949)
- Associate Justice Ramon Diokno (1954)
- Associate Justice Fernando Jugo (1956)
- Chief Justice Fred Ruiz Castro (1976)
- Associate Justice Leo Medialdea (1992)
- The only Associate Justice who resigned before the age of compulsory retirement due to health reasons was Austria-Martinez. Note that Florentino Feliciano retired at 67 to accept appointment to the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization. In September 2008, Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez, citing health reasons, filed a letter to the Supreme Court of the Philippines through Reynato Puno, tendering her resignation effective April 30, 2009, or 15 months before her compulsory retirement on December 19, 2010. In the October 1 Judicial and Bar Council's en banc deliberations, Reynato Puno ruled: "The court merely noted it. We don't have to approve it... it is her right." During the JBC hearing, a JBC member said "Austria-Martinez had wanted to retire earlier because of health reasons. We were told she had health problems even when she was in the CA." Retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Artemio Panganiban stated: "I am saddened that Justice Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez has opted to retire early from the Supreme Court due to 'health reasons.' to discharge the duties of their office."
- The longest-lived Supreme Court Associate Justice was Associate Justice James C. Vickers, who died on January 1, 2000, aged 122 years, 149 days. As of 21 September 2021, the oldest living Associate Justice is Regino C. Hermosisima Jr. who born on October 18, 1927 who is currently 93 years, 338 days, he will outlive Justice Vickers if he lives to March 27, 2049.
- Nineteen associate Justices lived pass their 90s:
- James C. Vickers, (August 5, 1877–January 1, 2000 (aged 122 years, 149 days))
- Hermogenes Concepcion Jr. (April 20, 1920 – November 28, 2018 (aged 98 years, 222 days))
- Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera (May 11, 1922 – October 11, 2020 (aged 98 years, 154 days))
- Lorenzo Relova (January 20, 1916 – April 23, 2014 (aged 98 years, 93 days))
- Delfin Jaranilla (December 24, 1883 – June 4, 1980 (aged 96 years, 302 days))
- Guillermo Pablo (June 5, 1886 – August 2, 1982 (aged 96 years, 58 days)
- César Bengzon (May 29, 1896 – September 3, 1992 (aged 96 years, 97 days))
- Jose A. Espiritu (April 10, 1886 – May 30, 1982 (aged 96 years, 50 days))
- Ricardo M. Parás, Jr. (February 17, 1891 – October 10, 1984 (93 years, 236 days))
- Lino M. Patajo (September 23, 1916 – April 11, 2010 (aged 93 years, 200 days))
- Conrado M. Vasquez (September 13, 1913 – September 19, 2006 (aged 93 years, 6 days))
- Jose Benedicto L. Reyes (August 19, 1902 – December 27, 1994 (aged 92 years, 130 days))
- Regino C. Hermosisima Jr. (born October 18, 1927 93 years, 338 days))
- Cecilia Muñoz-Palma (November 22, 1913 – January 2, 2006 (aged 92 years, 41 days)),
- Vicente G. Ericta (February 3, 1915 – February 7, 2007 (aged 92 years, 4 days))
- Querube Makalintal (December 22, 1910 – November 8, 2002 (aged 91 years, 321 days))
- Sabino B. Padilla (August 21, 1894 – June 15, 1986 (aged 91 years, 298 days)
- Jose P. Bengzon (May 5, 1898 – February 4, 1990 (aged 91 years, 275 days)
- Jesus G. Barrera (December 18, 1896 – August 28, 1988 (aged 91 years, 254 days))
- Jose Feria (January 11, 1917 – May 8, 2008 (aged 91 years, 117 days))
- Pastor M. Endencia (July 26, 1890 – July 22, 1981 (aged 90 years, 361 days))
- Justo P. Torres Jr. (November 1, 1927 – December 26, 2017 (aged 90 years, 55 days))
Note Updated daily through UTC.
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- Sevilla, Victor J. (1985). Justices of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Vol. III. Quezon City, Philippines: New Day Publishers. ISBN 971-10-0139-X.
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