Fred Ruiz Castro

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Fred Ruiz Castro
12th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
In office
January 5, 1976 – April 19, 1979
Appointed by Ferdinand Marcos
Preceded by Querube Makalintal
Succeeded by Enrique Fernando
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
In office
May 29, 1966 – January 5, 1976
Appointed by Ferdinand Marcos
Executive Secretary
In office
December 30, 1953 – October 26, 1955
Appointed by Ramon Magsaysay
Preceded by Marciano Roque
Succeeded by Fortunato de Leon
Personal details
Born (1914-09-02)September 2, 1914
Laoag, Ilocos Norte
Died April 19, 1979(1979-04-19) (aged 64)

Fred Ruiz Castro (September 2, 1914 - April 19, 1979) was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines from January 5, 1976 until his death on April 19, 1979 while on an official trip to India.

Personal life[edit]

He was born to Dr. Santos Foronda Castro and Engracia Acosta Ruiz at Laoag, Ilocos Norte, the 9th of 13 children. He attended elementary school in his hometown and in Angeles, Pampanga. He finished high school in three years at the University of the Philippines (U.P.) in 1930. Justice Castro then obtained his Associates in Arts from the U.P. College of Liberal Arts in 1932, and LL.B from the U.P. College of Law in 1936, passing the bar examinations the same year. The following year of 1937, he earned a Ph.B in English, cum laude. Justice Castro was a scholar, student, leader, debater, poet, writer, and editor-in-chief of the Philippine Collegian, 1935-1936.

Justice Castro was married to Natividad Hizon. Their children are Fred Ruiz Castro, Jr., Rowena Cristina Benipayo, Carlos Delano Castro, Frieda Teresita Castro (deceased), and Melisande Veronica Poblador.

Judicial career[edit]

Official portrait of CJ Fred Ruiz Castro and other Chief Justices, SC building

Castro was Judge Advocate General of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, until he was appointed Executive Secretary by President Ramon Magsaysay in 1954. He became an Associate Justice for the Court of appeals from 1956-1966 until he became Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 29, 1966.


Castro was considered one of the advocates for the integration of the Philippine Bar, paving the way for the establishment of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines in the 1970s. He is also behind the creation of the Supreme Court Reports Annotated, which is currently the voluminous source of decisions of the Supreme Court used by practitioners and law students.

The Martial Law Years[edit]

Castro, together with Justice Querube Makalintal, was the ‘swing vote’ in the Ratification Cases which upheld the 1973 Constitution, which paved the way of extending Marcos’ regime. When the question of whether the petitioners are entitled to relief, the two justices answered ‘No’, thus upholding the 1973 Constitution and made legitimate the rule of Marcos and his power.

Castro approved of the Martial Law years, as reflected in his decisions / opinions and public statements. In one of the cases involving the writ of habeas corpus of Marcos critic Benigno Aquino, Jr., he said, in a concurring opinion, that the declaration of Martial Law automatically suspends the application of the said writ, thus effectively depriving the former senator of such privilege.

In a speech to the 8th World Peace Through Law Conference held in Manila, Castro proclaimed:

“Martial law is known to the west as the drastic solution to a violent situation... In the Philippines, this primary purpose remains, but it has been enlarged to embrace also the extirpation of the ills and conditions which spawned the riot, the anarchy and the rebellion!”


  • Bernas, Joaquin (2003). The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines: a Commentary. Rex Book Store, Manila
  • Cruz, Isagani A. (2000). Res Gestae: A Brief History of the Supreme Court. Rex Book Store, Manila
  • Supreme Court Reports Annotated, Volume 89 (In Memoriam). Central Law Book Publishing, Manila
Preceded by
Querube Makalintal
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
January 5, 1976–April 19, 1979
Succeeded by
Enrique Fernando