Marcelo Fernan

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Marcelo Fernan
20th President of the Senate of the Philippines
In office
July 27, 1998 – June 28, 1999
President Joseph Estrada
Preceded by Neptali Gonzales
Succeeded by Blas Ople
18th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
In office
July 1, 1988 – December 6, 1991
Nominated by Corazon Aquino
Preceded by Pedro L. Yap
Succeeded by Andres R. Narvasa
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
In office
April 9, 1986 – June 30, 1988
Nominated by Corazon Aquino
Preceded by Lorenzo Relova
Succeeded by Florenz D. Regalado
Senator of the Philippines
In office
June 30, 1995 – July 11, 1999
Mambabatas Pambansa (Assemblyman) from Cebu City
In office
June 30, 1984 – March 25, 1986
Serving with Antonio Cuenco
Personal details
Born (1927-10-24)October 24, 1927
Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines
Died July 11, 1999(1999-07-11) (aged 71)
Manila, Philippines
Political party Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (1991-1995)
Lakas-Laban coalition (1995-1999)

Marcelo "Celing" Briones Fernán (October 24, 1927 – July 11, 1999) was a Filipino lawyer and political figure. He is the only Filipino to have served as both Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and as Senate President. He is also the third Filipino to have headed both the judicial and legislative branches of government, after Querube Makalintal who served as Chief Justice and Speaker of the Batasang Pambansa in the 1970s, and José Yulo, who served as Chief Justice and Speaker of the House of Representatives before 1946.

Early life[edit]

Fernan was born in Cebu City. In 1953 he graduated with a degree in law from the University of the Philippines. He went to Harvard University in United States to obtain his masters degree. He returned to the Philippines soon after and entered politics as a delegate to the National Constitutional Convention.


Early legislative career[edit]

In 1959 he was elected to the Cebu Provincial Board and served until 1961. He was also elected to the 1971 Constitutional Convention as a delegate from his home province. In 1984, he was elected to the Regular Batasang Pambansa with Antonio Cuenco.


Official Portraits of CJ Marcelo Fernan in the new SC building.

In 1977, he was elected national president of the Integrated Bar (National Lawyers Organization). After the People Power Revolution and the dissolution of the Batasang Pambansa, he was appointed by President Corazon Aquino as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. He was then promoted in 1988 as Chief Justice.

Presidential bid[edit]

He resigned as Chief Justice in 1991 to run as president of the country. He later accepted the offer of House Speaker Ramon Mitra as his vice presidential candidate of the LDP Party. In the 1992 elections, he however lost to then Secretary of National Defense, Fidel V. Ramos.


In the 1995 elections, Fernan ran for the Senate under the Lakas-Laban coalition and was elected. Fernan was elected Senate president at the opening of the 11th Congress in 1998. He was one who approved the US-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement (Treaty) in 1999.


Fernan resigned the Senate Presidency on June 28, 1999 due to his failing health. He died of cancer only days later, on July 11 in Manila. He was buried in Cebu City. A newly built bridge was named after him linking Mandaue City to Mactan Island.

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Eloisa Nolasco in 1955, having 9 children Marissa N. Fernan; Marget Fernan-Villarica, Maur Fernan-Ledesma, Memel Fernan-Borromeo, Marcel N. Fernan, Mitoy Fernan-Cayosa, Mona Fernan-Quiogue, Michael N. Fernan, Manny N. Fernan and 18 grandchildren, Carlo, Miki and Monica Villarica; Paolo and Camille Ledesma; Mio and Melissa Borromeo; Marc and Rina Fernan; Andre, Marco, Clara and Niña Cayosa; Marty, Sofia and Emilio Quiogue; Simon and Isabelle Fernan. He is also closely related to the Manigsaca family in Cebu City. He is also a granduncle to TV and movie personality Matteo Guidicelli.


He is the only Filipino who has headed both the Judiciary as Chief Justice and Legislative Branch as Senate President. For weekends, he loved bringing his family to the beaches in Mactan, Cebu and Bogo to snorkel or to ride a pump boat to visit nearby islands. Marcelo Fernan loved to sing and among his favourite songs were "Feelings" and "Matud Nila".

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Neptali Gonzales
President of the Senate
Succeeded by
Blas F. Ople
Legal offices
Preceded by
Pedro Yap
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Andres Narvasa
Preceded by
Lorenzo Relova
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Florenz D. Regalado