By IGNACIO R. BUNYE
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 (16th chief justice) and Renato C. Corona (23rd 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.
Estela M. Perlas Bernabe – 2011 – to the present.
Prior to his appointment as 174thassociate 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. In 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 177th 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 had 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 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 178th 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 JusticesRodil 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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