Ateneo Law School “hangs” 3 SC justices

OPINION
By IGNACIO BUNYE
July 8, 2019

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Following tradition, the Ateneo Law Alumni Association, Inc. (ALAAI) the other week “hanged”
three sitting Supreme Court Associate Justices in the Justitia – the Ateneo Law School Moot
Court.


Unveiled and “hanged” for permanent display were the oil portraits of Associate Justices
Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa, Andres B. Reyes, Jr. and Alexander G. Gesmundo – who were the
most recent contributions of the Ateneo Law School to the highest court.


Ateneo Law golden jubilarians – led by Lawyer Victor Alimurung and former BIR Commissioner
Jose Mario Buñag – had commissioned the painting of the oil portraits of the three Associate
Justices, for permanent display in the school’s Moot Court, situated within the Joaquin Bernas
Center For Continuing Legal Education.


The new oil portraits joined those of other Ateneo law alumni who had earlier been
appointed to the Supreme Court.


They include those of two former Chief Justices – Claudio Teehankee (16 th Chief Justice) and
Renato C. Corona (23 rd Chief Justice) – and ten Associate Justices, namely:


Venicio T. Escolin – 1981-1986
Lorenzo R. Relova – 1982-1986
Edgardo L. Paras – 1986-1992
Leo O. Medialdea – 1988-1992
Sabino R. De Leon – 1999-2002
Adolfo S. Azcuna – 2002-2009
Arturo D. Brion – 2008-2016
Roberto A. Abad – 2009 –2014
Mariano C. del Castillo – 2009 – to the present, and
Estela M. Perlas Bernabe – 2011 – to the present.


Prior to his appointment as 174 th Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Caguioa served as
Acting Secretary of Justice and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel under President Benigno Aquino
III.


Caguioa finished elementary in Ateneo in 1973, then high school in 1977. He obtained his
Economics degree from Ateneo de Manila University  in 1981, and acquired his Bachelor of
Laws from Ateneo Law School  in 1985 where he ranked 5th in his class. On the same year he
ranked 15th on the Bar Exam and was admitted to the Philippine Bar the following year.

 

Caguioa’s late father, former Court of Appeals Justice Eduardo P. Caguioa, taught Civil Law at
the Ateneo.


Reyes is the 177 th Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. He graduated from Ateneo Law in
1976. But before that, he completed Economics at the St. Mary’s College of California and a
Masters in Public Administration at the Philippine Women’s University.


Reyes previously served as a Prosecutor, then as a Judge at the Metropolitan Trial Court of
Makati City, and later as a Judge at the Regional Trial Court of San Mateo, Rizal. He became
Associate Justice of the appellate court in 1999. In 2010, he was appointed as Presiding Justice
of the Court of Appeals.


Reyes is a third generation jurist. His father, Andres C. Reyes, Sr. also served as Presiding Justice
of the Court of Appeals. His grandfather, Alex A. Reyes, Sr., was a former Supreme Court
Associate Justice.


Gesmundo became the 178 th Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. After finishing law in
1984, he immediately started working as a trial attorney at the Office of the Solicitor General.
In 1988 he was named Most Outstanding Solicitor. He became Assistant Solicitor General in
2002.  For a time, he was seconded as Commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good
Government. At the time of his appointment to the high court, Gesmundo was Associate Justice
of the Sandiganbayan.


Gesmundo was an examiner in Remedial Law in the 2009 and 2015 Bar Examinations.
Jubilarian (Law ’68) Class Perpetual President Vic Alimurung was ecstatic. He told the
attendees:


“One can expect that more Law Alumni will also be appointed to the Supreme Court in the
foreseeable future. It would certainly do well for us to remember the inspiring words of St.
Thomas More, our Law School’s patron, who famously said: “I am the King’s Good Servant, but
God’s first.”


The “hanging” ritual was witnessed by:


Retired Supreme Court Associate Justices Adolfo S. Azcuna, Arturo D. Brion and Spouse
Tonette, Roberto A. Abad and Spouse Vicky, Cristina Corona (widow of CJ Renato C. Corona);
Mrs. Pier-Angela P. Caguioa


Court of Appeals Associate Justices Rodil V. Zalameda and Manuel M. Barrios,
Sandiganbayan Associate Justices Ma. Theresa Dolores C. Gomez-Estoesta, Zaldy V. Trespeses
and Bayani H. Jacinto;

Court of Tax Appeals Associate Justice Erlinda Piñera Uy,
Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard A. Mosquera,
The Dean of the Ateneo College of Law – Jose Maria G. Hofileña,
ALAAI officers and trustees – Ma. Filomena Legaspi-Rosales (President), Remedios Montecastro
Lim (Vice President),Teodoro B. Cruz, Jr.. (Chair), Aleli Angela G. Quirino (Vice Chair), Tranquil
Gervacio S. Salvador III, Ramon Torralba, Jr.;


Other Ateneo Law golden jubilarians: former Ambassador Alberto “Dodo” Encomienda,
retired practitioner and now agri-businessman Manuel “Manny” Jimenez, former Immigration
Officer and Assistant City Prosecutor Edgardo “Gary” Mendoza, Lawyer Francisco “Paco”
Pangilinan (who planed in from Canada), Lawyer-Evangelist Jose “Joe” Villanueva and
this writer.

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