Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines

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Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Punong Mahistrado ng Pilipinas
Seal of the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines.svg
Seal of the Supreme Court
Flag of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.svg
Flag of the Supreme Court
Carpio in robes.jpg
Incumbent
Antonio Carpio
Acting[1]

since May 14, 2018
Style The Honorable (formal)
Mr. Chief Justice (informal)
Your Honor (when addressed directly in court)
Member of
Appointer Presidential appointment upon nomination by the Judicial and Bar Council
Term length Retirement at the age of 70
Inaugural holder Cayetano Arellano
Formation June 11, 1901
Website Official Website
Coat of arms of the Philippines.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Philippines

The Chief Justice of the Philippines (Filipino: Punong Mahistrado ng Pilipinas) presides over the Supreme Court of the Philippines and is the highest judicial officer of the government of the Philippines. The most "recent" chief justice was Maria Lourdes Sereno, who was appointed by President Benigno Aquino III on August 24, 2012.[2], but she was later removed from her post through a grant of a quo warranto petition on May 11, 2018 which rendered her appointment as void ab initio as well as her entire term of office as a de facto tenure[3]; officially & legally-speaking it would be Sereno's predecessor Renato Corona, who was impeached by the Senate of the Philippines sitting as an impeachment court.

Duties and powers[edit]

The power to appoint the chief justice lies with the president, who makes the selection from a list of three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council. There is no material difference in the process of selecting a chief justice from that in the selection of associate justices, as with the other justices of the Supreme Court, the chief justice is obliged to retire upon reaching the age of 70; otherwise there is no term limit for the chief justice. In the 1935 constitution, any person appointed by the president has to be confirmed by the Commission on Appointments; in the 1973 constitution, the person whom the president has appointed won't have to go confirmation under the Commission on Appointments.

The Constitution does not ascribe any formal role to the chief justice other than as an ex-officio chairman of the Judicial and Bar Council and as the presiding officer in any impeachment trial of the president. The chief justice is also required to personally certify every decision that is rendered by the court, he or she carries only 1 vote out of 15 in the court, and is generally regarded, vis-a-vis the other justices, as the primus inter pares rather than as the administrative superior of the other members of the court.

Still, the influence a chief justice may bear within the court and judiciary, and on the national government cannot be underestimated; in the public eye, any particular Supreme Court is widely identified with the identity of the incumbent chief justice, hence appellations such as "The Fernando Court" or "The Puno Court". Moreover, the chief justice usually retains high public visibility, unlike the associate justices, who tend to labor in relative anonymity, with exceptions such as Associate Justice J. B. L. Reyes in the 1950s to 1970s.

By tradition, it is also the chief justice who swears into office the President of the Philippines. One notable deviation from that tradition came in 1986, and later again in 2010. Due to the exceptional political circumstances culminating in the People Power Revolution, on February 25, 1986, Corazon Aquino took her oath of office as President before then Associate Justice Claudio Teehankee in San Juan just minutes before Ferdinand Marcos took his own oath of office also as President before Chief Justice Ramon Aquino. Marcos fled into exile later that night. More than two decades afterwards, Benigno Simeon Aquino III followed in his mother's footsteps (with almost similar reasons) by having then Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales (now the incumbent Ombudsman) swear him in, rather than then Chief Justice Renato Corona (who was eventually impeached halfway through Aquino's term). 6 years later, in 2016, Rodrigo Duterte was sworn into office by Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes, his classmate at San Beda College of Law, instead of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno (who would eventually be removed thru quo warranto after it was revealed she had been unlawfully holding office ab initio).

The Chief Justice also names the three justices from the Supreme Court in the memberships of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and the Senate Electoral Tribunal.

And the chief justice is the chief executive officer of the Philippine Judiciary system and together with the whole Supreme Court, exercises administrative supervision over all courts and personnel.

List of chief justices[edit]

Portraits of the chief justices at the Supreme Court Building.
The chief justice's judicial chambers
Reception room for the Office of the Chief Justice
Legend:
  Escuela de Derecho de Manila (Now Manila Law College)
# Name Began Ended Tenure Appointed by
1 Cayetano Arellano
(March 2, 1847 – December 23, 1920)
June 11, 1901 April 12, 1920 18 years, 306 days William McKinley
(Republican)
2 Victorino Mapa
(February 25, 1855 – April 12, 1927)
July 1, 1920 October 31, 1921 1 year, 122 days Woodrow Wilson
(Democratic)
3 Manuel Araullo
(January 1, 1853 – July 26, 1924)
November 1, 1921 July 26, 1924 2 years, 268 days Warren G. Harding
(Republican)
4 Ramón Avanceña
(April 13, 1872 – June 12, 1957)
April 1, 1925 December 24, 1941 16 years, 267 days Calvin Coolidge
(Republican)
5 José Abad Santos1
(February 19, 1886 – May 7, 1942)
December 24, 1941 May 7, 1942 134 days Manuel L. Quezon
(Nacionalista)
6 José Yulo
(September 24, 1894 – October 27, 1976)
May 7, 1942 July 9, 1945 3 years, 63 days Japanese Military Administration
7 Manuel Moran
(October 27, 1893 – August 23, 1961)
July 9, 1945 March 20, 1951 5 years, 254 days Sergio Osmeña
(Nacionalista)
8 Ricardo Paras
(February 17, 1891 – October 10, 1984)
April 2, 1951 February 17, 1961 9 years, 321 days Elpidio Quirino
(Liberal)
9 César Bengzon
(May 29, 1896 – September 3, 1992)
April 28, 1961 May 29, 1966 5 years, 31 days Carlos P. Garcia
(Nacionalista)
10 Roberto Concepcion
(June 7, 1903 – May 3, 1987)
June 17, 1966 April 18, 1973 6 years, 305 days Ferdinand Marcos
(Nacionalista)
11 Querube Makalintal
(December 22, 1910 – November 8, 2002)
October 21, 1973 December 22, 1975 2 years, 62 days
12 Fred Ruiz Castro
(September 2, 1914 – April 19, 1979)
January 5, 1976 April 19, 1979 3 years, 104 days Ferdinand Marcos
(Kilusang Bagong Lipunan)
13 Enrique Fernando
(July 25, 1915 – October 13, 2004)
July 2, 1979 July 24, 1985 6 years, 22 days
14 Felix Makasiar
(November 20, 1915 – February 19, 1992)
July 25, 1985 November 19, 1985 117 days
15 Ramon Aquino
(August 31, 1917 – March 31, 1993)
November 20, 1985 March 6, 1987 1 year, 106 days
16 Claudio Teehankee, Sr.
(April 18, 1918 – November 27, 1989)
April 2, 1987 April 18, 1988 1 year, 16 days Corazon Aquino
(United Nationalist Democratic Organization)
17 Pedro Yap
(July 1, 1918 – November 20, 2003)
April 19, 1988 June 30, 1988 72 days
18 Marcelo Fernan
(October 24, 1926 – July 11, 1999)
July 1, 1988 December 6, 1991 3 years, 158 days
19 Andres Narvasa
(November 30, 1928 - October 31, 2013)
December 8, 1991 November 30, 1998 6 years, 357 days
20 Hilario Davide, Jr.
(born December 20, 1935)
November 30, 1998 December 20, 2005 7 years, 20 days Joseph Estrada
(Laban ng Makabayang Masang Pilipino)
21 Artemio Panganiban
(born December 7, 1937)
December 20, 2005 December 7, 2007 1 year, 352 days Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
(Lakas)
22 Reynato Puno
(born May 17, 1940)
December 8, 2007 May 17, 2010 2 years, 160 days
23 Renato Corona2
(October 15, 1948 - April 29, 2016)
May 17, 2010 May 29, 2012 2 years, 12 days
Maria Lourdes Sereno3
(born July 2, 1960)
August 25, 2012 May 11, 2018 5 years, 322 days Benigno Aquino III
(Liberal)
^1 José Abad Santos was unable to preside over the Supreme Court due to the outbreak of World War II.
^2 Renato Corona was impeached on December 12, 2011, and convicted on May 29, 2012, removing him from office. Antonio Carpio, the most senior associate justice, was acting chief justice from May 30, 2012, to August 25, 2012, when Maria Lourdes Sereno was sworn into office by President Benigno Aquino III.[4]
^3 Maria Lourdes Sereno was removed on May 11, 2018 via quo warranto by a special en banc session; the petition alleged Sereno's appointment was void ab initio due to her failure in complying with the requirements of the Judicial and Bar Council. Hence her entire term as Chief Justice is considered a de facto tenure;[3] legally void since the ouster of her predecessor. Sereno filed an ad cautelam motion for reconsideration pleading for the reversal of the decision on May 31, 2018, but on June 19, 2018 was denied with finality (meaning no further pleading shall be entertained, as well as for the immediate entry for judgment) for lack of merit.[5]

Longevity[edit]

OL
OO
Chief Justice
Date of Birth
Date of Death
Longevity
(Years, Days)
Longevity
(Days)
1 9 César Bengzon May 29, 1896 September 3, 1992 96 years, 97 days 35,160 days
2 8 Ricardo Paras February 17, 1891 October 10, 1984 93 years, 236 days 34,203 days
3 11 Querube Makalintal December 11, 1910 November 8, 2002 91 years, 333 days 33,571 days
4 13 Enrique Fernando July 25, 1915 October 3, 2004 89 years, 70 days 31,482 days
5 17 Pedro Yap July 1, 1918 November 20, 2003 86 years, 142 days 31,554 days
6 4 Ramón Avanceña April 13, 1872 June 12, 1957 85 years, 60 days 31,105 days
7 2 Andres Narvasa November 30, 1928 October 31, 2013 84 years, 335 days 31,016 days
8 10 Roberto Concepcion June 7, 1903 May 3, 1987 83 years, 330 days 30,646 days
9 20 Hilario Davide December 20, 1935 Living 82 years, 205 days 30,156 days
10 6 José Yulo September 24, 1894 October 27, 1976 82 years, 33 days 29,983 days
11 21 Artemio Panganiban December 7, 1937 Living 80 years, 218 days 29,438 days
12 22 Reynato Puno May 17, 1940 Living 78 years, 57 days 28,546 days
13 14 Felix Makasiar August 31, 1917 February 19, 1992 74 years, 172 days 27,200 days
14 15 Ramon Aquino November 20, 1915 March 31, 1993 77 years, 131 days 27,850 days
15 1 Cayetano Arellano March 2, 1847 December 20, 1920 73 years, 293 days 26,956 days
16 18 Marcelo Fernán October 24, 1926 July 11, 1999 72 years, 260 days 26,558 days
17 2 Victorino Mapa February 25, 1855 April 12, 1927 72 years, 46 days 26,343 days
18 3 Manuel Araullo January 1, 1853 July 26, 1924 71 years, 207 days 26,138 days
19 16 Claudio Teehankee, Sr. April 18, 1918 July 11, 1999 81 years, 84 days 29,669 days
20 7 Manuel Moran October 27, 1893 August 23, 1961 67 years, 300 days 24,771 days
21 23 Renato Corona October 15, 1948 April 29, 2016 67 years, 197 days 24,668 days
22 12 Fred Ruiz Castro September 2, 1914 April 19, 1979 64 years, 229 days 23,605 days
23 Maria Lourdes Sereno July 2, 1960 Living 58 years, 11 days 21,195 days
24 5 Jose Abad Santos February 19, 1886 May 7, 1942 56 years, 77 days 20,530 days

[6]

Chief justices[edit]

  • José Yulo was the only former Speaker of the House of Representatives to be subsequently appointed as chief justice. Another, Querube Makalintal, would be elected as Speaker of the Interim Batasang Pambansa (parliament) after his retirement from the court, on the other hand, Marcelo Fernan would, after his resignation from the court, be elected to the Senate and later serve as its president. Other chief justices served in prominent positions in public service after their retirement include Manuel Moran (Ambassador to Spain and the Vatican), and Hilario Davide, Jr. (Ambassador to the UN). The most prestigious position held by a former chief justice was undoubtedly that of César Bengzon, who was elected as the first Filipino to sit as a judge on the International Court of Justice shortly after his retirement in 1966.
  • Roberto Concepcion was reputedly so disappointed with the court's ruling in Javellana v. Executive Secretary where the majority affirmed the validity of the Marcos Constitution despite recognizing the flaws in its ratification, that he retired 2 months prior to his reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70. 13 years later, after the ouster of Marcos, the 83-year-old Concepcion was appointed a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission tasked with drafting a new constitution. Drawing from his experiences as chief justice in the early days of martial law, Concepcion introduced several new innovations designed to assure the independence of the Supreme Court, such as the Judicial and Bar Council and the express conferment on the court the power to review any acts of government.
  • The longest period one person served as chief justice was 18 years, 294 days in the case of Cayetano Arellano, who served from 1901 to 1920. Arellano was 73 years, 29 days old upon his resignation, the greatest age ever reached by an incumbent chief justice, and a record unlikely to be broken with the current mandatory retirement age of 70.
  • The shortest tenure of any chief justice was that of Pedro Yap, who served as chief justice for 73 days in 1988. Other chief justices who served for less than a year were Felix Makasiar (85 days), Ramon Aquino (78 days) and Artemio Panganiban (352 days). Of these chief justices, all but Aquino left office upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70; Aquino resigned in 1986 after the newly installed President Corazon Aquino asked for the courtesy resignations of all the members of the court.
  • The oldest person appointed as chief justice was Pedro Yap, who was 69 years, 292 days old upon his appointment in 1988. Other persons appointed as chief justice in their 69th year were Felix Makasiar (69 years, 280 days old) and Artemio Panganiban (69 years, 13 days old), the youngest person named as chief justice was Manuel Moran, who was 51 years, 256 days old upon his appointment.
  • Claudio Teehankee had to wait for nearly 18 years as Associate Justice before he was appointed as chief justice. He was twice bypassed by Ferdinand Marcos in favor a more junior associate justice before he was finally appointed chief justice by Corazon Aquino. Of the Filipino associate justices, Florentino Torres and J. B. L. Reyes served over 18 years in the court without becoming chief justice. In contrast, Pedro Yap had served as associate justice for only 2 years, 10 days before he was promoted as chief justice.
  • The longest-lived chief justice was César Bengzon, who died in 1992 aged 96 years, 97 days old. Two other chief justices lived past 90: Ricardo Paras (93 years, 235 days) and Querube Makalintal (91 years, 322 days).
  • The youngest chief justice to die was José Abad Santos, who was executed by the Japanese army in 1942 at age 56 years, 77 days. The youngest chief justice to die from non-violent causes was Fred Ruiz Castro, who died in 1979 of a heart attack inflight to India, at age 64 years, 231 days. Abad Santos, Castro and Manuel Araullo are the only chief justices to die while in office.
  • The first chief justice to be impeached is Renato Corona. On December 12, 2011, 188 of the 285 members of House of Representatives voted to transmit to the Senate the Articles of Impeachment filed against him. On May 29, 2012, the Senate, voting 20-3, convicted Corona under Article II pertaining to his failure to disclose to the public his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth.[7]
  • Maria Lourdes Sereno was the first female appointed to serve as chief justice, following the impeachment of Renato Corona and deliberations by the Judicial and Bar Council in 2012. If not for the quo warranto petition which was granted on May 11, 2018 that removed her from the post as well as voiding her appointment and declaring her tenure as a de facto term[3], she would have been the second chief justice to similarly undergo impeachment proceedings as her late predecessor; unlike Corona, the House of Representatives' Justice Committee Panel went through the proper procedures as well as numerous committee hearings to determine the impeachment complaint as sufficient in form & substance (which formed part of the basis of the quo warranto petition), and was only awaiting for a plenary session vote to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate. Her ouster was made final on June 19, 2018 by the denial with finality (meaning no further pleading would be entertained, as well as for the immediate entry for judgment) of her ad cautelam motion for reconsideration filed on May 31, 2018 pleading for the reversal of her ouster via quo warranto.[5]

Timeline[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Carpio assumes anew as acting Chief Justice". Manila Bulletin. May 13, 2018. Retrieved May 15, 2018. 
  2. ^ "Maria Lourdes A. Sereno". Official Gazette. Aug 24, 2012. Retrieved Aug 24, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "G.R. No. 237428. May 11, 2018" (PDF). Supreme Court of the Philippines. May 11, 2018. Retrieved May 11, 2018. 
  4. ^ "Carpio is acting chief justice under SC order". Philippine Daily Inquirer. May 30, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "G.R. No. 237428. June 19, 2018" (PDF). Supreme Court of the Philippines. June 19, 2018. Retrieved June 20, 2018. 
  6. ^ Updated daily according to UTC.
  7. ^ "Senate votes 20-3 to convict Corona". Inquirer.net. May 29, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 

Further reading[edit]