Ateneo Law School ‘hangs’ 3 Supreme Court justices

February 17, 2019

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, and Estela M. Perlas Bernabe  -2011 to the present.

Prior to his appointment as 174th 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 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 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 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 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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