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).
|Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines|
Punong Mahistrado ng Pilipinas
Seal of the Supreme Court
Flag of the Supreme Court
since November 28, 2018
|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|
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.
(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||74 days|
||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, 52 days||30,368 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, 65 days||29,650 days|
|12||22||Reynato Puno||May 17, 1940||Living||78 years, 269 days||28,758 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, 125 days||25,692 days|
|21||25||Lucas Bersamin||October 18, 1949||Living||69 years, 115 days||25,317 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, 223 days||21,407 days|
|26||5||Jose Abad Santos||February 19, 1886||May 7, 1942||56 years, 77 days||20,530 days|
Cayetano Arellano y Lonzón (March 2, 1847 – December 23, 1920) was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines under the American Civil Government. Cayetano Arellano had occupied a high position in Aguinaldo's government. He worked with the Americans under General Otis and re-establish the Audiencia Territorial, and renamed it the Supreme Court. He was Chief Justice from 1901 until his retirement on April 12, 1920, making him the longest serving Chief Justice.Claudio Teehankee
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.César Bengzon
César Fernando Bengzon (May 29, 1896 – September 3, 1992) was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines from April 28, 1961 until May 29, 1966. In November 1966, a few months after his retirement, he became the first Filipino to be appointed to the International Court of Justice.Fred Ruiz Castro
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.Hilario Davide Jr.
Hilario Gelbolingo Davide Jr., , (born December 20, 1935) is a former Ambassador/Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations in New York City.
He was the 20th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines and head of the Judicial Branch of government from November 1998 to December 2005. As the highest judicial officer, he presided over the Supreme Court of the Philippines.
On June 30, 2010, President Noynoy Aquino announced that Davide will head a truth commission that will investigate important issues in the country.Inauguration of Fidel Ramos
The Inauguration of Fidel Ramos as the twelfth President of the Philippines took place on Tuesday, June 30, 1992 at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila. The oath of office was administered by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Andres Narvasa.
The Inauguration was organized jointly by the Presidential Transition Cooperation Team of outgoing President Corazon Aquino and the Transition Team of incoming President Ramos.José Yulo
José Yulo Yulo (September 24, 1894 – October 27, 1976) was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines (May 7, 1942 – July 9, 1945) during the Japanese Occupation and was Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives from 1939 until World War II started in 1941. Yulo served in all of the branches of government: Legislative, as House Speaker and Representative; Executive, as Secretary of Justice and member of the Cabinet; and the Judiciary as the Chief Magistrate.
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines (February 5, 1942 – May 2, 1942)List of people from Manila
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Manuel Gonzales Araullo (January 1, 1853 – July 26, 1924) was the third Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. He served from November 1, 1921 until his death on July 26, 1924.Manuel Moran
Manuel Morán (October 27, 1893 – August 23, 1961) was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines from July 9, 1945 until March 20, 1951.Pedro Yap
Pedro Yap (July 1, 1918 – November 20, 2003) was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines in 1988. He briefly served for two and a half months from April 19, 1988 to June 30, 1988, the shortest in history until that record was surpassed by Chief Justice Teresita de Castro.
Yap, a bar topnocher, served as secretary of the United Nations Human Rights Commission and was one of the 16 delegates who refused to sign the 1973 Philippine Constitution. He was appointed to the Presidential Commission on Good Government in 1986 before being appointed associate justice.
He was a law professor specialized in International Law.Querube Makalintal
Querube Cortinas Makalintal (December 22, 1910 – November 8, 2002) was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines from Oct. 31, 1973 until December 22, 1975 and Speaker of the Interim Batasang Pambansa from June 12, 1978 to June 30, 1984.Ramon Aquino
Ramon C. Aquino (August 31, 1917 – March 31, 1993) was the 15th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.
He was appointed on November 20, 1985, the last Chief Justice appointed by President Ferdinand Marcos.Ramón Avanceña
Ramón Avanceña (April 13, 1872 – June 12, 1957) was a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. He served from 1925 to 1941, when he resigned at the beginning of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II. He was from Villa de Arevalo, Iloilo CityRicardo Paras
Ricardo M. Paras, Jr. (February 17, 1891 – October 10, 1984) was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines from April 2, 1951 until February 17, 1961.Second inauguration of Carlos P. Garcia
The Inauguration of Carlos P. Garcia as the eighth President of the Philippines took place on December 30, 1957 at the Independence Grandstand in Manila. The inauguration marked the commencement of the second term (and only full four-year term) of Carlos P. Garcia as President and the only four-year term of Diosdado Macapagal as Vice President. The oath of office was administered by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Ricardo Paras.Second inauguration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
The Inauguration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the fourteenth President of the Philippines took place on Wednesday, June 30, 2004 at the Cebu Provincial Capitol in Cebu City. The inauguration marked the commencement of the second term (and full six-year term) of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as President and the only six-year term of Noli de Castro as Vice President. The oath of office was administered by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Hilario Davide, Jr. Before that, Arroyo delivered her inaugural speech at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila.University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law
The University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law or "UST Law" (as distinguished from the Faculty of Canon Law), is the law school of the University of Santo Tomas, the oldest and the largest Catholic university in Manila, Philippines.
Established in 1734, it is the first law school in the Philippines. It is one of the Top Performing Law Schools in the Philippine Bar Examinations. The faculty has produced numerous alumni in government, public service and the academe.Victorino Mapa
Victorino Montano Mapa (February 25, 1855 – April 12, 1927) was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines and later, as the second Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines under the American colonial Insular Government.