Supreme Court of the Philippines

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Supreme Court of the Philippines
Kataas-taasang Hukuman ng Pilipinas
Seal of the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines.svg
Seal of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Established June 11, 1901
Country Philippines
Location Manila
Baguio (summer)
Coordinates 14°34′46″N 120°59′3″E / 14.57944°N 120.98417°E / 14.57944; 120.98417Coordinates: 14°34′46″N 120°59′3″E / 14.57944°N 120.98417°E / 14.57944; 120.98417
Composition method Presidential appointment from the list of preferred nominees made by the Judicial and Bar Council
Authorized by Constitution of the Philippines
Judge term length At most thirty years
(retirement at the age 70)
Number of positions 15
Website sc.judiciary.gov.ph
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Currently Maria Lourdes Sereno
Since August 24, 2012
Coat of arms of the Philippines.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Philippines

The Supreme Court of the Philippines (Filipino: Kataas-taasang Hukuman ng Pilipinas; colloquially referred to by the Spanish: Corte Suprema), is the highest court in the Philippines. The court consists of 14 associate justices and one Chief Justice. Pursuant to the Constitution, the Supreme Court has "administrative supervision over all courts and the personnel thereof".[1]

The Supreme Court Complex, which was formerly the part of the UP Manila campus,[2] occupies the corner of Padre Faura Street and Taft Avenue in Manila, with the main building directly fronting the Philippine General Hospital. Until 1945, the Court held office within Cavite.

Constitutional role[edit]

Composition[edit]

A person must meet the following requirements in order to be appointed to the Supreme Court: (1) natural-born citizenship; (2) at least 40 years old; and (3) must have been for fifteen years or more a judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines.[3] An additional constitutional requirement, though less precise in nature, is that a judge "must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity, and independence."[4] Upon a vacancy in the Court, whether for the position of Chief Justice or Associate Justice, the President fills the vacancy by appointing a person from a list of at least 3 nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council.[5]

Beginning with the 1935 Constitution, Supreme Court Justices are obliged to retire upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.[6] Some Justices had opted to retire before reaching the age of 70, such as Florentino Feliciano, who retired at 67 to accept appointment to the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization and Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez who retired at 68 due to health reasons.[7] The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines provides that: "Section 11, Article VIII. The Members of the Supreme Court xxx shall hold office during good behavior until they reach the age of seventy years or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office."[4] Since, 1901, it was only incumbent Associate Justice Alicia Austria-Martinez who resigned for health reasons. Thus, on September, 2008, Austria-Martinez, citing health reasons, filed a letter to the Court 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.”[8] 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.”[9] 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.' She is not bedridden. Neither is she physically or mentally incapacitated, but she has chosen to retire on April 30, 2009 because she felt she could no longer cope with the heavy caseload."[10]

Functions[edit]

The powers of the Supreme Court are defined in Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution. These functions may be generally divided into two – judicial functions and administrative functions. The administrative functions of the Court pertain to the supervision and control over the Philippine judiciary and its employees, as well as over members of the Philippine bar. Pursuant to these functions, the Court is empowered to order a change of venue of trial in order to avoid a miscarriage of justice and to appoint all officials and employees of the judiciary.[11] The Court is further authorized to promulgate the rules for admission to the practice of law, for legal assistance to the underprivileged, and the procedural rules to be observed in all courts.[12]

The more prominent role of the Court is located in the exercise of its judicial functions. Section 1 of Article VIII contains definition of judicial power that had not been found in previous constitutions. The provision states in part that:

Judicial power includes the duty of courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government.

The definition reaffirms the power of the Supreme Court to engage in judicial review, a power that had traditionally belonged to the Court even before this provision was enacted. Still, this new provision effectively dissuades from the easy resort to the political question doctrine as a means of declining to review a law or state action, as was often done by the Court during the rule of President Ferdinand Marcos.[13] As a result, the existence of “grave abuse of discretion” on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government is sufficient basis to nullify state action.

Cases[edit]

The Court is authorized to sit either en banc or in divisions of 3, 5 or 7 members. Since the 1970s, the Court has constituted itself in 3 divisions with 5 members each. A majority of the cases are heard and decided by the divisions, rather than the court en banc. However, the Constitution requires that the Court hear en banc “[a]ll cases involving the constitutionality of a treaty, international or executive agreement, as well as “those involving the constitutionality, application, or operation of presidential decrees, proclamations, orders, instructions, ordinances, and other regulations”.[5] The Court en banc also decides cases originally heard by a division when a majority vote cannot be reached within the division. The Court also has the discretion to hear a case en banc even if no constitutional issue is involved, as it typically does if the decision would reverse precedent or presents novel or important questions.

Appellate review[edit]

Far and away the most common mode by which a case reaches the Supreme Court is through an appeal from a decision rendered by a lower court. Appealed cases generally originate from lawsuits or criminal indictments filed and tried before the trial courts. These decisions of the trial courts may then be elevated on appeal to the Court of Appeals, or more rarely, directly to the Supreme Court if only “questions of law” are involved. Apart from decisions of the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court may also directly review on appeal decisions rendered by the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals. Decisions rendered by administrative agencies are not directly appealable to the Supreme Court, they must be first challenged before the Court of Appeals. However, decisions of the Commission on Elections may be elevated directly for review to the Supreme Court, although the procedure is not, strictly speaking, in the nature of an appeal.

Review on appeal is not as a matter of right, but "of sound judicial discretion and will be granted only when there are special and important reasons therefor".[14] In the exercise of appellate review, the Supreme Court may reverse the decision of lower courts upon a finding of an "error of law". The Court generally declines to engage in review the findings of fact made by the lower courts, although there are notable exceptions to this rule. The Court also refuses to entertain cases originally filed before it that should have been filed first with the trial courts.

Original jurisdiction[edit]

The other mode by which a case reaches the Supreme Court is through an original petition filed directly with the Supreme Court, in cases where the Constitution establishes “original jurisdiction” with the Supreme Court. Under Section 5(1), Article VIII of the Constitution, these are “cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and corpus”. Resort to certiorari, prohibition and mandamus may be availed of only if "there is no appeal, or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law".[15]

However, notwithstanding this grant of original jurisdiction, the Court has, through the years, assigned to lower courts such as the Court of Appeals the power to hear petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto and habeas corpus. As a result, the Court has considerable discretion to refuse to hear these petitions filed directly before it on the ground that such should have been filed instead with the Court of Appeals or the appropriate lower court. Nonetheless, cases that have attracted wide public interest, or where a speedy resolution is of the essence, have been accepted for decision by the Supreme Court without hesitation.

In cases involving the original jurisdiction of the Court, there must be a finding of "grave abuse of discretion" on the part of the respondents to the suit to justify favorable action on the petition. The standard of "grave abuse of discretion", a markedly higher standard than "error of law", has been defined as "a capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment amounting to lack of jurisdiction"[16]

Current Justices[edit]

Name Born Alma Mater Date of Appointment Date of Retirement Appointing President Replacing

Sereno
Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno
(Chief Justice)

July 2, 1960
(Age 54)
University of the Philippines College of Law August 13, 2010
August 25, 2012(as Chief Justice)
July 2, 2030 Benigno Aquino III Renato Corona


Antonio T. Carpio
(Senior Associate Justice)

October 26, 1949
(Age 65)
in Davao City
University of the Philippines College of Law October 26, 2001 October 26, 2019 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Minerva P. Gonzaga-Reyes


Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr.

August 8, 1948
(Age 66)
in Pasay
University of the Philippines College of Law March 31, 2006 August 8, 2018 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Artemio V. Panganiban


Teresita De Castro

October 8, 1948
(Age 66)
University of the Philippines College of Law December 3, 2007 October 8, 2018 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Cancio Garcia


Arturo D. Brion

December 29, 1946
(Age 67)
in Manila
Ateneo de Manila Law School March 17, 2008 December 29, 2016 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez


Diosdado M. Peralta

March 27, 1952
(Age 62)
University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law January 14, 2009 March 27, 2022 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Ruben Reyes


Lucas P. Bersamin

October 18, 1949
(Age 65)
University of the East College of Law April 3, 2009 October 18, 2019 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Adolfo Azcuna


Mariano C. del Castillo

July 29, 1949
(Age 65)
Ateneo de Manila Law School July 29, 2009 July 29, 2019 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez


Martin Villarama, Jr.

April 14, 1946
(Age 68)
Manuel L. Quezon University November 6, 2009 April 14, 2016 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Consuelo Ynares-Santiago


Jose P. Perez

December 14, 1946
(Age 68)
University of the Philippines College of Law December 26, 2009 December 14, 2016 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Leonardo A. Quisumbing


Jose C. Mendoza

August 13, 1947
(Age 67)
San Beda College of Law January 4, 2010 August 13, 2017 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Minita Chico-Nazario


Bienvenido L. Reyes

July 6, 1947
(Age 67)
San Beda College of Law August 20, 2011 July 6, 2017 Benigno Aquino III Antonio Eduardo Nachura


Estela Perlas-Bernabe

May 14, 1952
(Age 62)
Ateneo de Manila Law School September 16, 2011 May 14, 2022 Benigno Aquino III Conchita Carpio-Morales

Leonen
Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen

December 29, 1962
(Age 51)
University of the Philippines College of Law November 21, 2012 December 29, 2032 Benigno Aquino III Maria Lourdes Sereno


Francis H. Jardeleza

September 26, 1949
(Age 65)
University of the Philippines College of Law August 19, 2014 September 26, 2019 Benigno Aquino III Roberto Abad

Categorization[edit]

Former Supreme Court Justices of the Philippines[edit]

Nominee Born Term Replacing Chief Justices President
Roberto A. Abad May 22, 1944 August 7, 2009 – May 22, 2014 Dante O. Tiñga Reynato Puno Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Maria Lourdes Sereno July 2, 1960 August 13, 2010 – August 25, 2012 Renato C. Corona Renato C. Corona Benigno Aquino III
Conchita Carpio-Morales June 19, 1941 August 26, 2002 – June 19, 2011 Jose A.R. Melo, JR. Hilario Davide, Jr. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura June 13, 1941 February 7, 2007 - June 13, 2011 Reynato Puno Reynato Puno Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Renato C. Corona October 15, 1948 April 9, 2002 – May 17, 2010 Arturo B. Buena Hilario Davide, Jr. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Minita V. Chico-Nazario December 5, 1939 February 10, 2004 – December 5, 2009 Josue N. Bellosillo Hilario Davide, Jr. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Leonardo A. Quisumbing November 6, 1939 January 15, 1998 - November 6, 2009 Justo P. Torres Jr. Hilario Davide, Jr. Fidel Ramos
Consuelo Ynares-Santiago October 5, 1939 April 6, 1999 – October 5, 2009 Antonio Martinez Hilario Davide, Jr. Joseph Estrada
Dante O. Tiñga May 11, 1939 July 4, 2003 - May 11, 2009 Vicente V. Mendoza Hilario Davide, Jr. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez December 19, 1940 April 9, 2002 – April 30, 2009 Bernardo P. Pardo Hilario Davide, Jr. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Adolfo S. Azcuna February 16, 1939 October 17, 2002 - February 16, 2009 Santiago M. Kapunan Hilario Davide, Jr. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Ruben T. Reyes January 3, 1939 August 2, 2007 – January 3, 2009 Romeo J. Callejo, Sr. Reynato Puno Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez February 28, 1938 December 22, 2000 – February 28, 2008 Fidel P. Purisima Hilario Davide, Jr. Joseph Estrada
Cancio C. Garcia October 30, 1937 October 7, 2004 - October 30, 2007 Jose C. Vitug Hilario Davide, Jr. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Romeo J. Callejo, Sr. April 28, 1937 August 26, 2002 – April 28, 2007 Sabino R. De Leon Jr. Hilario Davide, Jr. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Reynato Puno May 17, 1940 June 28, 1993 – December 7, 2006 Hugo Gutierrez Andres Narvasa Fidel Ramos
Artemio Panganiban December 7, 1936 October 5, 1995 – December 19, 2005 Camilo Quiason Andres Narvasa Fidel Ramos
Jose C. Vitug July 15, 1934 June 28, 1993 - July 15, 2004 Andres Narvasa Fidel Ramos
Josue N. Bellosillo November 13, 1933 March 3, 1992 - November 13, 2003 Andres Narvasa Corazon Aquino
Vicente V. Mendoza April 5, 1933 June 7, 1994 - April 5, 2003 Andres Narvasa Fidel Ramos
Santiago M. Kapunan August 12, 1932 January 5, 1994 - August 12, 2002 Hilario Davide, Jr. Fidel Ramos
Sabino R. De Leon Jr. June 9, 1932 October 12, 1999 - June 9, 2002 Flerida Ruth Pineda-Romero Hilario Davide, Jr. Joseph Estrada
Jose A.R. Melo, JR. May 30, 1932 August 10, 1992 - May 30, 2002 Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera Hilario Davide, Jr. Fidel Ramos
Arturo B. Buena March 25, 1932 January 5, 1999 - March 25, 2002 Renato C. Corona Hilario Davide, Jr. Joseph Estrada
Bernardo P. Pardo February 11, 1932 September 30, 1998 - February 11, 2002 Hilario Davide, Jr. Joseph Estrada
Minerva P. Gonzaga-Reyes September 25, 1931 January 5, 1999 - September 25, 2001 Hilario Davide, Jr. Joseph Estrada
Fidel P. Purisima October 28, 1930 January 20, 1998 - October 28, 2000 Hilario Davide, Jr. Fidel Ramos
Flerida Ruth Romero August 1, 1929 October 21, 1991 - August 1, 1999 Abraham Sarmiento Marcelo Fernan Corazon Aquino
Antonio M. Martinez February 2, 1929 November 10, 1997 - February 2, 1999 Hilario Davide, Jr. Joseph Estrada
Hilario G. Davide, Jr. December 20, 1935 January 24, 1991 – November 29, 1998 Irene R. Cortes Marcelo Fernan Corazon Aquino
Florenz D. Regalado October 13, 1928 July 29, 1988 - October 13, 1998 Marcelo Fernan Corazon Aquino
Ricardo J. Francisco February 13, 1928 January 5, 1995 – February 13, 1998 Andres Narvasa Fidel Ramos
Justo P. Torres, Jr. November 01, 1927 March 11, 1996 - November 1, 1997 Andres Narvasa Fidel Ramos
Regino C. Hermosisima Jr. February 2, 1929 January 10, 1995 – October 18, 1997 Andres Narvasa Fidel Ramos
Teodoro R. Padilla August 24, 1927 January 12, 1987 - August 22, 1997 Claudio Teehankee, Sr. Corazon Aquino
Florentino P. Feliciano March 14, 1928 August 08, 1986 - December 13, 1995 Claudio Teehankee, Sr. Corazon Aquino
Camilo D. Quiason July 18, 1925 February 1, 1993 - July 18, 1995 Andres Narvasa Fidel Ramos
Abdulwahid A. Bidin April 07, 1925 January 12, 1987 - May 7, 1995 Claudio Teehankee, Sr. Corazon Aquino
Isagani A. Cruz October 11, 1924 April 16, 1986 - October 11, 1994 Claudio Teehankee, Sr. Corazon Aquino
Rodolfo A. Nocon March 15, 1924 December 2, 1991 - March 15, 1994 Andres Narvasa Corazon Aquino
Carolina Griño-Aquino October 22, 1923 February 2, 1988 - October 22, 1993 Claudio Teehankee, Sr. Corazon Aquino
Jose C. Campos, Jr. April 09, 1923 September 3, 1992 - April 9, 1993 Andres Narvasa Fidel Ramos
Hugo Gutierrez, Jr. January 29, 1927 May 14, 1982 - March 31, 1993 Enrique Fernando Ferdinand Marcos
Leo D. Medialdea August 17, 1927 May 2, 1988 - November 7, 1992 Claudio Teehankee, Sr. Corazon Aquino
Edgardo L. Paras July 4, 1922 April 16, 1986 - July 4, 1992 Claudio Teehankee, Sr. Corazon Aquino
Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera May 11, 1922 January 17, 1979 – May 11, 1992 Cecilia Muñoz-Palma Enrique Fernando
Claudio Teehankee, Sr.
Ferdinand Marcos (1979)
Corazon Aquino (1986)
Andres Narvasa November 30, 1928 April 10, 1986 – December 1, 1991 Claudio Teehankee, Sr. Corazon Aquino
Abraham F. Sarmiento October 08, 1921 January 25, 1987 - October 08, 1991 Claudio Teehankee, Sr. Corazon Aquino
Emilio A. Gancayco August 20, 1921 January 12, 1987 - August 20, 1991 Claudio Teehankee, Sr. Corazon Aquino
Irene R. Cortes October 20, 1921 February 1, 1987 – October 20, 1990 Jose Feria Claudio Teehankee, Sr. Corazon Aquino
Marcelo Fernan October 24, 1927 April 9, 1986 – June 30, 1988 Florenz D. Regalado Claudio Teehankee, Sr. Corazon Aquino
Pedro Yap July 1, 1918 April 8, 1986 – April 18, 1988 Leo D. Medialdea Claudio Teehankee, Sr. Corazon Aquino
Jose Feria January 11, 1917 April 7, 1986 – January 10, 1987 Felix Makasiar Claudio Teehankee, Sr. Corazon Aquino
Vicente Abad Santos July 12, 1916 January 17, 1979 – July 12, 1986 Fred Ruiz Castro Fred Ruiz Castro Ferdinand Marcos
Lino M. Patajo September 23, 1916 July 31, 1985 - April 16, 1986 Felix Makasiar Ferdinand Marcos
Efren I. Plana June 28, 1928 November 20, 1981 – April 16, 1986 Enrique Fernando Ferdinand Marcos
Hermogenes Concepcion, Jr. April 07, 1920 April 18, 1975 – April 16, 1986 Calixto Zaldivar Querube Makalintal Ferdinand Marcos
Serafin R. Cuevas June 25, 1928 June 1, 1984 – April 16, 1986 Enrique Fernando Ferdinand Marcos
Venicio T. Escolin February 13, 1921 November 20, 1981 - April 15, 1986 Enrique Fernando Ferdinand Marcos
Claudio Teehankee, Sr. April 18, 1918 December 17, 1968 – April 1, 1986 Eugenio Angeles Roberto Concepcion Ferdinand Marcos
Nestor B. Alampay February 17, 1920 January 24, 1985 - March 17, 1986 Enrique Fernando Ferdinand Marcos
Buenaventura S. De La Fuente July 14, 1922 February 28, 1984 - March 06, 1986 Enrique Fernando Ferdinand Marcos
Lorenzo Relova January 20, 1916 May 14, 1982 - January 19, 1986 Enrique Fernando Ferdinand Marcos
Ramón Aquino August 31, 1917 October 29, 1973 – November 19, 1985 Newly created seat Querube Makalintal Ferdinand Marcos
Felix Makasiar November 20, 1915 August 2, 1970 – July 25, 1985 Conrado V. Sanchez Roberto Concepcion Ferdinand Marcos
Juvenal K. Guerrero November 04, 1916 May 11, 1977 – November 4, 1984 Fred Ruiz Castro Ferdinand Marcos
Pacifico P. De Castro July 16, 1915 January 17, 1979 - May 31, 1984 Fred Ruiz Castro Ferdinand Marcos
Conrado M. Vasquez September 13, 1913 May 14, 1982 - September 30, 1983 Enrique Fernando Ferdinand Marcos
Antonio P. Barredo October 01, 1912 December 17, 1968 - October 4, 1982 Roberto Concepcion Ferdinand Marcos
Vicente G. Ericta February 03, 1915 November 20, 1981 - May 11, 1982 Enrique Fernando Ferdinand Marcos
Ramon C. Fernandez February 16, 1916 May 27, 1977 - May 11, 1982 Fred Ruiz Castro Ferdinand Marcos
Felix Q. Antonio May 18, 1911 June 1972 - May 18, 1980 Roberto Concepcion Ferdinand Marcos
Guillermo S. Santos January 23, 1915 May 27, 1977 - January 23, 1980 Fred Ruiz Castro Ferdinand Marcos
Enrique Fernando July 25, 1915 June 30, 1967 – July 1, 1979 Roberto Concepcion Ferdinand Marcos
Cecilia Muñoz-Palma November 22, 1913 October 29, 1973 – November 22, 1978 Newly created seat Querube Makalintal Ferdinand Marcos
Ruperto G. Martin March 27, 1913 April 18, 1975 – January 10, 1978 Estanislao A. Fernandez Querube Makalintal Ferdinand Marcos
Salvador Esguerra June 19, 1906 June 1972 - June 19, 1976 Roberto Concepcion Ferdinand Marcos
Fred Ruiz Castro September 2, 1914 May 29, 1966 – January 5, 1976 César Bengzon Ferdinand Marcos
Roberto Regala June 7, 1897 May 23, 1962 - December 22, 1975 César Bengzon Diosdado Macapagal
Estanislao A. Fernandez March 28, 1910 October 19, 1973 - March 28, 1975 Querube Makalintal Ferdinand Marcos
Calixto Zaldivar September 13, 1904 September 12, 1964 - September 13, 1974 César Bengzon Diosdado Macapagal
Querube Makalintal December 22, 1910 May 23, 1962 – October 21, 1973 César Bengzon Ferdinand Marcos
Jose B. L. Reyes August 19, 1902 June 30, 1954 - August 19, 1972 Ricardo Parás Ramon Magsaysay
Julio Villamor April 12, 1902 January 24, 1970 - April 12, 1972 Roberto Concepcion Ferdinand Marcos
Arsenio Dizon October 05, 1901 July 26, 1960 - October 5, 1971 Ricardo Parás Carlos P. García
Conrado V. Sanchez February 19, 1900 May 29, 1966 - February 19, 1970 César Bengzon Ferdinand Marcos
Francisco Capistrano October 6, 1899 September 16, 1968 - October 6, 1969 Roberto Concepcion Ferdinand Marcos
Eugenio Angeles November 2, 1868 June 30, 1967 - November 2, 1968 Roberto Concepcion Ferdinand Marcos
Jose P. Bengzon May 5, 1898 September 12, 1964 - May 05, 1968 César Bengzon Diosdado Macapagal
Jesus G. Barrera December 18, 1896 June 5, 1959 - December 18, 1966 Ricardo Parás Carlos P. García
Roberto Concepcion June 7, 1903 February 9, 1954 – June 17, 1966 Ricardo Parás Ramon Magsaysay
Jose Ma. Paredes August 15, 1895 August 18, 1960 - August 15, 1965 Ricardo Parás Carlos P. García
Sabino B. Padilla August 21, 1894 June 25, 1946 - August 21, 1964 Manuel V. Moran Manuel Roxas
Alejo Labrador July 17, 1894 April 22, 1952 - July 17, 1964 Ricardo Parás Elpidio Quirino
Felipe Natividad September 20, 1891 April 8, 1962 - September 20, 1962 César Bengzon Diosdado Macapagal
Dionisio De Leon April 08, 1892 April 28, 1961 - April 8, 1962 César Bengzon Carlos P. García
César Bengzon May 29, 1896 September 15, 1945 - April 28, 1961 Manuel V. Moran José P. Laurel
Sergio Osmeña
Jose Gutierrez David January 29, 1891 August 28, 1959 - January 29, 1961 Ricardo Parás Carlos P. García
Marcelino R. Montemayor July 27, 1890 August 21, 1948 - July 27, 1960 Manuel V. Moran Elpidio Quirino
Pastor M. Endencia July 26, 1890 December 20, 1955 - July 26, 1960 Ricardo Parás Ramon Magsaysay
Alejandro A. Reyes June 4, 1899 August 6, 1948 - June 3, 1959 Manuel V. Moran Elpidio Quirino
Alfonso Felix September 17, 1888 July 24, 1956 - September 17, 1958 Ricardo Parás Ramon Magsaysay
Fernando Jugo May 14, 1891 October 20, 1950 - June 3, 1956 Manuel V. Moran Elpidio Quirino
Felix Angelo Bautista May 20, 1896 October 20, 1950 - May 20, 1956 Manuel V. Moran Elpidio Quirino
Guillermo Pablo June 25, 1886 June 6, 1945 - June 4, 1955 José Yulo José P. Laurel
Sergio Osmeña
Ramon Diokno March 28, 1886 February 10, 1954 - April 21, 1954 Ricardo Parás Ramon Magsaysay
Pedro Tuazon September 15, 1884 June 25, 1946 - January 4, 1954 Manuel V. Moran Manuel Roxas
Felicisimo R. Feria August 6, 1883 June 6, 1945 - August 6, 1953 José Yulo José P. Laurel
Sergio Osmeña
Ricardo Parás February 17, 1891 December 28, 1941 - April 1, 1951 José Abad Santos Manuel L. Quezon
Roman Ozaeta February 28, 1891 June 24, 1941 - October 16, 1950 Ramón Avanceña Manuel L. Quezon
Luis P. Torres April 08, 1880 August 20, 1949 - April 1, 1950 Manuel V. Moran Elpidio Quirino
Manuel C. Briones January 01, 1894 September 15, 1945 - May 24, 1949 Manuel V. Moran José P. Laurel
Sergio Osmeña
Gregorio Perfecto November 28, 1891 June 6, 1945 - August 17, 1949 José Yulo José P. Laurel
Sergio Osmeña
Emilio Y. Hilado November 01, 1891 June 6, 1945 - May 31, 1948 José Yulo José P. Laurel
Sergio Osmeña
Jose Hontiveros March 19, 1889 June 25, 1946 - October 16, 1947 Manuel V. Moran Manuel Roxas
Delfin Jaranilla December 24, 1883 June 6, 1945 - June 6, 1946 José Yulo José P. Laurel
Sergio Osmeña
Jose A. Espiritu April 10, 1886 June 6, 1945 - August 15, 1945 José Yulo José P. Laurel
Sergio Osmeña
Antonio Horrilleno February 13, 1878 1943 - 1945 José Yulo Manuel L. Quezon
José P. Laurel
Sergio Osmeña
Manuel V. Moran October 27, 1893 December 12, 1938 – July 9, 1945 Ramón Avanceña José P. Laurel
Sergio Osmeña
Mariano H. De Joya September 8, 1887 June 6, 1945 - June 25, 1945 José Yulo José P. Laurel
Sergio Osmeña
Jose Lopez Vito May 12, 1872 May 11, 1942 - No Record José Yulo Manuel L. Quezon
Jose Generoso May 11, 1942 - No Record José Yulo Manuel L. Quezon
Jorge C. Bocobo October 19, 1886 February 5, 1942 - 1944 José Abad Santos Manuel L. Quezon
José Yulo September 24, 1894 February 5, 1942 - May 7, 1942 José Abad Santos Manuel L. Quezon
José P. Laurel March 9, 1891 February 29, 1936 – February 5, 1942 Ramón Avanceña Manuel L. Quezon
José Abad Santos February 19, 1886 June 18, 1936 – December 23, 1941 Norberto Romualdez Ramón Avanceña Manuel L. Quezon
Anacleto Diaz November 20, 1878 November 20, 1933 - December 19, 1941 Ramón Avanceña No Philippine President
Carlos A. Imperial November 04, 1880 June 22, 1932 - May 20, 1941 Ramón Avanceña No Philippine President
Antonio Villareal January 17, 1880 June 16, 1925 - June 5, 1940 Ramón Avanceña No Philippine President
Pedro Concepcion October 31, 1936 - January 1, 1940 Ramón Avanceña Manuel L. Quezon
Claro M. Recto February 08, 1890 July 03, 1935 - November 1, 1936 Ramón Avanceña No Philippine President
James C. Vickers August 05, 1877 June 1, 1932 - February 1, 1936 Ramón Avanceña No Philippine President
George C. Butte May 09, 1877 July 1, 1932 - February 1, 1936 Ramón Avanceña No Philippine President
John A. Hull August 7, 1874 June 1, 1932 - February 1, 1936 Ramón Avanceña No Philippine President
George A. Malcolm November 5, 1881 July 9, 1917 - February 1, 1936 Cayetano Arellano No Philippine President
Leonard S. Goddard January 29, 1871 January 9, 1934 - January 29, 1936 Ramón Avanceña No Philippine President
Thomas A. Street March 14, 1872 June 13, 1917 - June 1, 1935 Cayetano Arellano No Philippine President
James A. Ostrand January 20, 1871 September 27, 1921 - June 30, 1933 Victorino Mapa No Philippine President
Ignacio Villamor February 1, 1863 May 19, 1920 - May 23, 1933 Cayetano Arellano No Philippine President
Elias Finley Johnson June 24, 1861 October 3, 1903 - April 1, 1933 Cayetano Arellano No Philippine President
Norberto Romualdez June 6, 1875 November 1, 1921 - April 1, 1932 Manuel Araullo Manuel Araullo No Philippine President
Charles A. Johns June 25, 1857 October 7, 1921 - January 11, 1932 Victorino Mapa No Philippine President
Ramón Avanceña April 13, 1872 October 31, 1917 - March 31, 1925 Cayetano Arellano No Philippine President
Manuel Araullo January 1, 1853 December 16, 1913 - October 31, 1921 Victorino Mapa Cayetano Arellano No Philippine President
Adam Clarke Carson January 14, 1869 November 16, 1904 - November 30, 1920 Cayetano Arellano No Philippine President
Percy M. Moir November 25, 1918 - November 20, 1920 Manuel Araullo No Philippine President
Florentino Torres October 16, 1844 June 17, 1901 - April 20, 1920 Newly created seat Cayetano Arellano No Philippine President
Frederich Charles Fisher November 17, 1917 - November 16, 1918 Cayetano Arellano No Philippine President
Grant T. Trent February 28, 1910 - April 23, 1917 Cayetano Arellano No Philippine President
Sherman Moreland February 1, 1909 - April 23, 1917 Cayetano Arellano No Philippine President
Victorino Mapa February 25, 1855 June 17, 1901 - October 31, 1913 Newly created seat Cayetano Arellano No Philippine President
Charles Burke Elliott June 03, 1909 - February 13, 1910 Cayetano Arellano No Philippine President
James F. Tracy July 1, 1905 - July 2, 1909 Cayetano Arellano No Philippine President
Joseph F. Cooper March 30, 1854 June 17, 1901 - October 17, 1904 Newly created seat Cayetano Arellano No Philippine President
John T. Mcdonough July 12, 1843 February 18, 1903 - May 1, 1904 James Francis Smith Cayetano Arellano No Philippine President
Charles A. Willard May 21, 1857 June 17, 1901 - April 24, 1904 Newly created seat Cayetano Arellano No Philippine President
James Francis Smith January 28, 1859 June 17, 1901 - February 17, 1903 Newly created seat Cayetano Arellano No Philippine President
Fletcher Ladd December 21, 1862 June 17, 1901 - July 13, 1903 Newly created seat Cayetano Arellano No Philippine President

History[edit]

Supreme Court Building, Manila

Pre-Hispanic and Hispanic periods[edit]

In the years prior to the official establishment of the Supreme Court, institutions exercising judicial power were already in existence. Before the Spaniards came, judicial authority “in its primitive form” was in the hands of barangay chiefs. During the early years of the Spanish government, these powers were vested upon Miguel López de Legazpi, the first governor-general of the Philippines. He administered civil and criminal justice under the Royal Order of August 14, 1569.

The present Supreme Court was preceded by the Real Audiencia, a collegial body established on May 5, 1583 and composed, of a president, four oidores (justices), and a fiscal, among others. It was the highest tribunal in the Philippines, below only the Council of the Indies of Spain. However, this body also exercised administrative functions, not just judicial functions.

The Audiencia’s functions and structure underwent substantial modifications in 1815 when its president was replaced by a chief justice and the number of justices was increased. It then came to be known as the Audiencia Territorial de Manila with two branches, civil and criminal, later renamed sala de lo civil and sala de lo criminal. The Audiencia was converted to a purely judicial body by a Royal Decree issued on July 4, 1861, but its decisions were appealable to the Supreme Court of Spain sitting in Madrid.

On February 26, 1886, a territorial Audiencia was organized in Cebu, followed by an Audiencia for criminal cases in Vigan. However, the pre-eminence of the Supreme Court as the sole interpreter of the law was unknown during the Spanish regime.[17]

American period[edit]

The Supreme Court of the Philippines was officially established on June 11, 1901 through the passage of Act No. 136, otherwise known as the Judiciary Law of the Second Philippine Commission. By virtue of that law, judicial power in the Philippine Islands was vested in the Supreme Court, Courts of First Instance and Justice of the Peace courts. Other courts were subsequently established.

The judicial structure introduced by Act No. 136 was reaffirmed by the US Congress with the passage of the Philippine Bill of 1902. The Administrative Code of 1917 ordained the Supreme Court as the highest tribunal of the Philippines with nine members: a chief justice and eight associate justices. Its decisions could be further appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.[17]

Commonwealth and independence[edit]

From 1901 to 1935, although a Filipino was always appointed chief justice, the majority of the members of the Supreme Court were Americans. Complete Filipinization was achieved only with the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1935. Claro M. Recto and Jose P. Laurel were among the first appointees to replace the American justices. With the ratification of the 1935 Constitution in a plebiscite held on May 14, 1935, the membership in the Supreme Court increased to 11: a chief justice and ten associate justices, who sat en banc or in two divisions of five members each.

Article V of the Treaty of Manila (1946) abolished the U.S. Supreme Court's appellate authority over the Supreme Court of the Philippines, but provided that Philippine appeals pending before the U.S. Supreme Court would be allowed to run to completion.[17]

Under the 1973 Constitution, the membership of the Supreme Court was increased to 15. The justices sat en banc or in divisions. The 1973 Constitution also vested in the Supreme Court administrative supervision over all lower courts which heretofore was under the Department of Justice.

After the overthrow of President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, President Corazon C. Aquino, using her emergency powers, promulgated a transitory charter known as the “Freedom Constitution” which did not affect the composition and powers of the Supreme Court. The Freedom Charter was replaced by the 1987 Constitution which is the fundamental charter in force in the Philippines at present. Section 1 Article VIII of the Constitution vests the judicial power “in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.”

Writ of Amparo[edit]

The Supreme Court approved the Writ of Amparo on September 25, 2007.[18] The writ of amparo (Spanish for protection) strips the military of the defense of simple denial. Under the writ, families of victims have the right to access information on their cases—a constitutional right called the "habeas data" common in several Latin American countries. The rule is enforced retroactively. Chief Justice Puno stated that "If you have this right, it would be very, very difficult for State agents, State authorities to be able to escape from their culpability."[19][20]

The Resolution and the Rule on the Writ of Amparo gave legal birth to Puno's brainchild.[21][22][23] No filing or legal fees is required for Amparo which takes effect on October 24. Puno also stated that the court will soon issue rules on the writ of Habeas Data and the implementing guidelines for Habeas Corpus. The petition for the writ of amparo may be filed "on any day and at any time" with the Regional Trial Court, or with the Sandiganbayan, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court. The interim reliefs under amparo are: temporary protection order (TPO), inspection order (IO), production order (PO), and witness protection order (WPO, RA 6981).[24]

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has criticized the Writ of Amparo and Habeas Data for being insufficient, saying further action must be taken, including enacting laws for protection against torture, enforced disappearance, and laws to provide legal remedies to victims. AHRC said the writ failed to protect non-witnesses, even if they too face threats.[25]

Habeas Data

On August 30, 2007, Puno vowed to institute the writ of habeas data as a new legal remedy to the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. Puno explained that the writ of amparo denies to authorities defense of simple denial, and habeas data can find out what information is held by the officer, rectify or even the destroy erroneous data gathered.[26]

On January 22, 2008, the Supreme Court En Banc approved the rules for the writ of Habeas Data ("to protect a person’s right to privacy and allow a person to control any information concerning them"), effective on February 2, the Philippines’ Constitution Day.[27]

Language[edit]

Since the courts' creation, English had been used in court proceedings. But for the first time in Philippine judicial history, or on August 22, 2007, three Malolos City regional trial courts in Bulacan will use Filipino, to promote the national language. Twelve stenographers from Branches 6, 80 and 81, as model courts, had undergone training at Marcelo H. del Pilar College of Law of Bulacan State University College of Law following a directive from the Supreme Court of the Philippines. De la Rama said it was the dream of Chief Justice Reynato Puno to implement the program in other areas such as Laguna, Cavite, Quezon, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Rizal and Metro Manila.[28]

Judicial corruption[edit]

On January 25, 2005, and on December 10, 2006, Philippines Social Weather Stations released the results of its two surveys on corruption in the judiciary; it published that: a) like 1995, 1/4 of lawyers said many/very many judges are corrupt. But (49%) stated that a judges received bribes, just 8% of lawyers admitted they reported the bribery, because they could not prove it. [Tables 8-9]; judges, however, said, just 7% call many/very many judges as corrupt[Tables 10-11];b) "Judges see some corruption; proportions who said - many/very many corrupt judges or justices: 17% in reference to RTC judges, 14% to MTC judges, 12% to Court of Appeals justices, 4% i to Shari'a Court judges, 4% to Sandiganbayan justices and 2% in reference to Supreme Court justices [Table 15].[29][30]

The September 14, 2008, Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) survey, ranked the Philippines 6th (6.10) among corrupt Asian judicial systems. PERC stated that "despite India and the Philippines being democracies, expatriates did not look favourably on their judicial systems because of corruption." PERC reported Hong Kong and Singapore have the best judicial systems in Asia, with Indonesia and Vietnam the worst: Hong Kong's judicial system scored 1.45 on the scale (zero representing the best performance and 10 the worst); Singapore with a grade of 1.92, followed by Japan (3.50), South Korea (4.62), Taiwan (4.93), the Philippines (6.10), Malaysia (6.47), India (6.50), Thailand (7.00), China (7.25), Vietnam's (8.10) and Indonesia (8.26).[31][32]

In the September 23, 2008, Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (global survey ranking countries in terms of perceived corruption), the Philippines dropped to 141st, down 10 places from 2007, among 180 countries surveyed. It scored a 2.3 in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), lower than 2007's 2.5, on a scale where 10 is the highest possible grade.[33][34][35] Vincent Lazatin, TAN executive director, said: “We are compared to our nearest neighbors Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, with Vietnam seen as eventually overtaking us in a few years. The difference is that (in other countries) when business sets aside money to grease the wheels, they know that they will get what they paid for. In the Philippines, there is no certainty."[36]

“Bantay Korte Suprema”[edit]

"Watch the Supreme Court" coalition was launched at the Training Center, Ground Floor, Supreme Court Centennial Bldg on November 17, 2008, "to ensure the fair and honest selection of the 7 Associate Justices of the Supreme Court on 2009." Members of “Bantay Korte Suprema” include retired Philippine presidents, retired Supreme Court justices, legislators, legal practitioners, the academe, the business community and the media. former Senate President Jovito Salonga, UP Law Dean Marvic Leonen, Senate Majority Leader and Judicial and Bar Council member Kiko Pangilinan, the Philippine Bar Association, Artemio Panganiban, and Rodolfo Urbiztondo, of the 48,000-strong Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), and the chambers of commerce, witnessed the landmark event. BKS will neither select nor endorse a candidate, “but if it receive information that makes a candidate incompetent, it will divulge this to the public and inform the JBC." At the BKS launching, the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the public monitoring of the selection of justices to the SC was signed.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court Appointments Watch (SCAW) coalition of law groups and civil society to monitor the appointment of persons to judicial positions was also re-launched. The SCAW consortium, composed of the Alternative Law Groups, Libertas, Philippine Association of law Schools and the Transparency and Accountability Network, together with the online news magazine Newsbreak, reactivated itself for the JBC selection process of candidates.[37][38][39][40]

Philippine court system[edit]

Judicial regions

See also[edit]

Literature[edit]

  • Deinla, Imelda (April 2014). "Public Support and Judicial Empowerment of the Philippine Supreme Court". Contemporary Southeast Asia 36 (1): 128–158. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ See Section 6, Article VIII, Constitution
  2. ^ http://www.up.edu.ph/beginnings-university-of-the-philippines-manila/
  3. ^ See Section 7(1), Article VIII, Constitution
  4. ^ See Section 7(3), Article VIII, Constitution
  5. ^ a b See Section 9, Article VIII, Constitution
  6. ^ Changed to 65 during 1973-1978, but since restored to 70.
  7. ^ See
  8. ^ manilastandardtoday.com, Justice Austria-Martinez wants early retirement
  9. ^ abs-cbnnews.com, Exclusive: SC Justice Alicia Martinez to retire early
  10. ^ opinion.inquirer.net, With Due Respect - A libertarian decision; a decent jurist
  11. ^ See Sections 5(4) & (5), Article VIII, Constitution
  12. ^ See Sections 5(5), Article VIII, Constitution
  13. ^ See J. Bernas, The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary (1996 ed.), at 831
  14. ^ See Section 6, Rule 45, 1997 Rules on Civil Procedure
  15. ^ See Sections 1, 2, & 3, Rule 65, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure
  16. ^ See, e.g., Toh v. CA, G.R. No. 140274, November 15, 2000.
  17. ^ a b c http://d-arch.ide.go.jp/idedp/IAL/IAL000500_003.pdf
  18. ^ Inquirer.net, SC approves use of writ of amparo
  19. ^ Inquiret.net, Military can’t shrug off killings--Chief Justice
  20. ^ ABS-CBN Interactive, SC ready with writ of amparo by Sept - Puno
  21. ^ Supremecourt.gov.ph, A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC, THE RULE ON THE WRIT OF AMPARO
  22. ^ S.C. Resolution, A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC, THE RULE ON THE WRIT OF AMPARO
  23. ^ Supremecourt.gov.ph, SC Approves Rule on Writ of Amparo
  24. ^ GMA NEWS.TV, SC approves rule on writ of amparo vs extralegal killings
  25. ^ GMA NEWS.TV, Writ of amparo not enough – Hong Kong rights group
  26. ^ Inquirer.net, Habeas data: SC’s new remedy vs killings, disappearances
  27. ^ newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews, Supreme Court okays rules of ‘habeas data’
  28. ^ Inquirer.net, 3 Bulacan courts to use Filipino in judicial proceedings
  29. ^ www.sws.org.ph, New Diagnostic Study Sets Guideposts for Systematic Development of the Judiciary
  30. ^ www.sws.org.ph, New SWS Study of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession Sees Some Improvements, But Also Recurring Problems
  31. ^ afp.google.com/article, Hong Kong has best judicial system in Asia: business survey
  32. ^ www.abs-cbnnews.com, Hong Kong has best judicial system in Asia: business survey
  33. ^ bworldonline.com, RP drops further in corruption perceptions survey
  34. ^ transparency.org, Transparency International 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index
  35. ^ transparency.org, Persistently high corruption in low-income countries amounts to an “ongoing humanitarian disaster”
  36. ^ gmanews.tv, RP still as corrupt as ever - Transparency International
  37. ^ newsinfo.inquirer.net, SC watchdog launched
  38. ^ supremecourt.gov.ph, LAUNCHING OF BANTAY KORTE SUPREMA
  39. ^ gmanews.tv/story, Group launches ‘Bantay Korte Suprema’ to guard selection of new SC justices
  40. ^ balita.ph, Bantay Korte Suprema launched

External links[edit]