Claudio Teehankee

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Claudio Teehankee

Claudio Teehankee 2014 stamp of the Philippines.jpg

16th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
In office
April 2, 1987 – April 18, 1988
Nominated byCorazon Aquino
Preceded byRamon Aquino
Succeeded byPedro Yap

82nd Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
In office
December 17, 1969 – April 1, 1987
Nominated byFerdinand E. Marcos
Preceded byEugenio Angeles
Succeeded byAndres Narvasa

Secretary of Justice
In office
August 5, 1967 – December 16, 1969
PresidentFerdinand E. Marcos
Preceded byJose Yulo
Succeeded byJuan Ponce Enrile
Personal details
Claudio Teehankee

(1918-04-18)April 18, 1918
Manila, Philippine Islands
DiedNovember 27, 1989(1989-11-27) (aged 71)
New York City, New York, United States
Resting placeHeroes' Cemetery
Children9, including Claudio Teehankee Jr.
Alma materAteneo de Manila University

Claudio Teehankee, CCLH (April 18, 1918 – November 27, 1989) was the 16th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines from 1987 to 1988.

He was also the most senior associate justice and chairman of the First Division of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

Personal life[edit]

Teehankee's grave at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Teehankee was born on April 18, 1918 in Manila, Philippines.

His father, José Tee Han Kee (simplified Chinese: 郑汉淇; traditional Chinese: 鄭漢淇; pinyin: Zhèng Hànqí; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tīⁿ Hàn-kî), immigrated to the Philippines in 1901 from Fujian province in China. He was a close associate and friend of Sun Yat-Sen, and was active in the struggle to liberate China from the Qing dynasty.[1]

Teehankee was married to Pilar D. Javier with whom he had nine children. He received his A.B. summa cum laude in 1938 and LL.B. summa cum laude in 1940 from the Ateneo de Manila. He also garnered first place in the 1940 bar examination with an average of 94.35 percent.

He became Secretary of Justice under the Marcos administration in 1967 before being appointed as associate justice in 1968.

After his retirement, he was appointed as the Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations, where he died of cancer in Manhattan, New York on November 27, 1989. He is interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Political scientist Julio C. Teehankee is his nephew.


He was known as the court's "activist" justice because of his dissenting opinions in many vital cases affecting the Marcos administration. He was the lone dissenter in many cases, such as the High Tribunal's decision upholding the constitutionality of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980. He also dissented in policies which would seem to curtail the basic liberties of people. For a time, Teehankee and Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma would dissent together. After Muñoz-Palma's retirement, he was joined by Associate Justice Vicente Abad Santos in dissenting.

It was this activism that made Marcos 'by-pass' him twice for the position of Chief Justice (the most senior associate justice is most likely to succeed after the retirement of the Chief Justice) in 1985. It was after the removal of Marcos that he was appointed Chief Justice by Corazon Aquino in 1987.

Later years[edit]

He died of natural causes in New York City on November 27, 1989. He is buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery) in Taguig City, Philippines.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tan, Antonio S. (1972), The Chinese in the Philippines, 1898–1935: A Study of Their National Awakening, Manila: R.P. Garcia Publishing Co.

Further reading[edit]

Cruz, Isagani A. (2000). "Res Gestae: A Brief History of the Supreme Court". Rex Book Store, Manila


Political offices
Preceded by
Jose Yulo
Secretary of Justice
Succeeded by
Juan Ponce Enrile
Legal offices
Preceded by
Ramon Aquino
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Pedro Yap
Preceded by
Eugenio Angeles
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Andres Narvasa