Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
|Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines|
Punong Mahistrado ng Pilipinas
Seal of the Supreme Court
Flag of the Supreme Court
|Style||The Honorable (formal)|
Your Honor (when addressed directly in court)
|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|
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
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. As of November 28, 2018, the position is currently held by Lucas Bersamin, who was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte following the mandatory retirement of his predecessor Teresita Leonardo-de Castro in October 2018.
The Chief Justice, who was first named in June 11, 1901 in the person of Cayetano Arellano, is the oldest existing major governmental office continually held by a Filipino, preceding the presidency and vice presidency (1935), senators (1916, or as the Taft Commission, in September 1, 1901) and the members of the House of Representatives (1907 as the Philippine Assembly).
Duties and powers
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). Six 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 determined that she had been unlawfully holding office ab initio).
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
(March 2, 1847 – December 23, 1920)
|June 11, 1901||April 12, 1920||18 years, 306 days||William McKinley |
(February 25, 1855 – April 12, 1927)
|July 1, 1920||October 31, 1921||1 year, 122 days||Woodrow Wilson |
(January 1, 1853 – July 26, 1924)
|November 1, 1921||July 26, 1924||2 years, 268 days||Warren G. Harding |
(April 13, 1872 – June 12, 1957)
|April 1, 1925||December 24, 1941||16 years, 267 days||Calvin Coolidge |
|5||José Abad Santos1
(February 19, 1886 – May 7, 1942)
|December 24, 1941||May 7, 1942||134 days||Manuel L. Quezon |
(September 24, 1894 – October 27, 1976)
|May 7, 1942||July 9, 1945||3 years, 63 days||Japanese Military Administration|
(October 27, 1893 – August 23, 1961)
|July 9, 1945||March 20, 1951||5 years, 254 days||Sergio Osmeña |
(February 17, 1891 – October 10, 1984)
|April 2, 1951||February 17, 1961||9 years, 321 days||Elpidio Quirino |
(May 29, 1896 – September 3, 1992)
|April 28, 1961||May 29, 1966||5 years, 31 days||Carlos P. Garcia |
(June 7, 1903 – May 3, 1987)
|June 17, 1966||April 18, 1973||6 years, 305 days||Ferdinand Marcos|
(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)
(July 25, 1915 – October 13, 2004)
|July 2, 1979||July 24, 1985||6 years, 22 days|
(November 20, 1915 – February 19, 1992)
|July 25, 1985||November 19, 1985||117 days|
(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)
(July 1, 1918 – November 20, 2003)
|April 19, 1988||June 30, 1988||72 days|
(October 24, 1926 – July 11, 1999)
|July 1, 1988||December 6, 1991||3 years, 158 days|
(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)
(born December 7, 1937)
|December 20, 2005||December 7, 2007||1 year, 352 days||Gloria Macapagal Arroyo |
(born May 17, 1940)
|December 8, 2007||May 17, 2010||2 years, 160 days|
|23||Renato Corona2 3
(October 15, 1948 - April 29, 2016)
|May 17, 2010||May 29, 2012||2 years, 12 days|
|–||Maria Lourdes Sereno3 4
(born July 2, 1960)
|August 25, 2012||May 11, 2018||5 years, 259 days||Benigno Aquino III |
|24||Teresita Leonardo-de Castro
(born October 8, 1948)
|August 28, 2018||October 10, 2018||43 days||Rodrigo Duterte |
(born October 18, 1949)
|November 28, 2018||Incumbent||160 days|
- ^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.
- ^3 Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio served as acting Chief Justice after the Impeachment of Renato Corona from May 30, 2012 to August 25, 2012 and after the removal of Maria Lourdes Sereno via quo warranto proceedings from May 14, 2018 to August 25, 2018.
- ^4 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; 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.
||Date of Birth
||Date of Death
|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||83 years, 138 days||30,454 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||81 years, 151 days||29,736 days|
|12||22||Reynato Puno||May 17, 1940||Living||78 years, 355 days||28,844 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, 1989||71 years, 84 days||26,017 days|
|20||24||Teresita de Castro||October 8, 1948||Living||70 years, 211 days||25,778 days|
|21||25||Lucas Bersamin||October 18, 1949||Living||69 years, 201 days||25,403 days|
|22||7||Manuel Moran||October 27, 1893||August 23, 1961||67 years, 300 days||24,771 days|
|23||23||Renato Corona||October 15, 1948||April 29, 2016||67 years, 197 days||24,668 days|
|24||12||Fred Ruiz Castro||September 2, 1914||April 19, 1979||64 years, 229 days||23,605 days|
|25||–||Maria Lourdes Sereno||July 2, 1960||Living||58 years, 309 days||21,493 days|
|26||5||Jose Abad Santos||February 19, 1886||May 7, 1942||56 years, 77 days||20,530 days|
- José Yulo is 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 President of the Senate. 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 United Nations). In addition, César Bengzon 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 1973 Constitution despite recognizing the flaws in its ratification, that he retired 2 months prior to his reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70. Thirteen 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 of Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, who served as chief justice for a mere 43 days upon reaching her mandatory retirement age of 70. The previous record 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 Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, who was 69 years, 324 days old upon his appointment in 2018. Other persons appointed as chief justice in their 69th year were Pedro Yap (69 years, 292 days old); Felix Makasiar (69 years, 280 days old); Artemio Panganiban (69 years, 13 days old); and Lucas Bersamin (69 years, 41 days). 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.
- 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 (her successor Teresita Leonardo-de Castro is the de jure first female chief justice). 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, she would have been the second chief justice to similarly undergo impeachment proceedings as her late predecessor, Corona. 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.
- Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
- Supreme Court of the Philippines
- Constitution of the Philippines
- "Carpio is acting chief justice under SC order". Philippine Daily Inquirer. May 30, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
- "G.R. No. 237428. May 11, 2018" (PDF). Supreme Court of the Philippines. May 11, 2018. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
- "G.R. No. 237428. June 19, 2018" (PDF). Supreme Court of the Philippines. June 19, 2018. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
- Updated daily according to UTC.
- Updated daily according to UTC.
- "Senate votes 20-3 to convict Corona". Inquirer.net. May 29, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
- The Supreme Court E-library
- The Chief Justice on the Official Gazette of the Philippines
- Sevilla, Victor J. (1985). Justices of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Vol. I. Quezon City, Philippines: New Day Publishers. ISBN 971-10-0134-9.
- Sevilla, Victor J. (1985). Justices of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Vol. II. Quezon City, Philippines: New Day Publishers. ISBN 971-10-0137-3.
- 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.