Viray: Artemio Panganiban: A most prolific writer

WHEN he was first nominated to the judiciary, he was not appointed as Justice of the Court of Appeals. The second time, he was nominated to the judiciary, he was appointed as Justice of the Supreme Court.

I refer to the lawyer from Pampanga who rose to become the 21st Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Artemio Panganiban.

Panganiban, who traces his roots in Candaba, Pampanga, was actually born in Manila to a poor family. He graduated with honors in both his elementary grades and high school in public schools.

Panganiban was given a scholarship from the University of the Philippines but practicality prevented. He enrolled at the Far Eastern University, a stone’s throw from their rented small apartment in Catalina St., Sampaloc, Manila. UP’s loss became FEU’s gain. In 1956, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree Summa Cum Laude, at FEU. In 1960, he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws, Cum Laude from the same university. He placed 6th with a rating of 89.55 percent in the Bar Examinations of same year.

He was a student leader -- being the former president of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) from 1958 to 1959. Prior to his graduation, he was named as the Most Outstanding Student of FEU.

Panganiban started as an associate lawyer and apprentice of Jovito Salonga at the Salonga, Ordoñez and Associates Law Office from 1961 to 1963. In 1963, he formed his own law firm PABLAW (Panganiban, Benitez, Parlade, Africa and Barinaga Law Offices), which he headed until he joined the Supreme Court in 1995. He also became the vice president of the Legal Management Council of the Philippines from 1976 to 1977.

He was the Vice President for Legal Affairs and General counsel, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), 1991–1995. He was Chief Legal Counsel of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), 1991–1995, and the only Filipino appointed by Pope John Paul II to the Pontifical Council for the Laity. He was Legal Counsel of the Manila Archdiocesan and Parochial Schools Association – MAPSA from May 7, 1993 – October 9, 1995. He was Chair of Workshop on Administration of Justice, Multi-Sectoral Conference convened to discuss the first 100-day and first 1,000-day programs of President Fidel Ramos, held on June 13, 1992 and on October 17, 1992 respectively.

He taught law and political science at the Far Eastern University, Assumption Convent, and San Sebastian College from 1961 to 1970. He became a bank director of the International Corporate Bank (which is now owned by the Union Bank of the Philippines) from 1972 to 1974.

From 1978 to 1981, he was a consultant of the World Tourism Organization and was an honorary consul of the Republic of Honduras from 1981 to 1983. He was the president of Arpan Tourism Industries Corp. from 1974 to 1993 and Baron Travel Corporation from 1967 to 1993.

Panganiban was the Chief legal counsel of the Liberal Party from 1987 to 1991 and was president of the Philippine Daily Inquirer from 1991 to 1992.

He was also the governor of the Management Association of the Philippines and president of the Rotary Club of Manila. He was also the former president of Philippine-Finland Association and RCM Eyebank Foundation Inc.

Panganiban's 2008 occupation is: Philippine Daily Inquirer column writer; adviser, consultant and/or independent director of several business, civic, non-government and religious groups.

On October 5, 1995, President Fidel Ramos appointed Panganiban as Justice of the Supreme Court. On December 20, 2005, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appointed him as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The respected Justice Antonio Carpio described him as “undoubtedly the most prolific writer of the Court, bar none”. During his incumbency, Panganiban wrote more than 1,000 full length decisions.

Panganiban was also known for his controversial role in helping install then Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as President in 2001 after the downfall of Joseph Estrada.

In his book "Reforming the Judiciary," Panganiban recounted that on the morning of January 20, 2001, militants had threatened to march toward Don Chino Roces (Mendiola) Bridge, where Estrada supporters were encamped, unless he resigned. Chaos could have ensued, especially because the government machinery had fallen down, Panganiban said in his book.

He also worried that the Vice President could not act because Estrada was still the legal leader. On the other hand, a coup d'état might be staged, and that could obliterate the Constitution. These led Panganiban to conclude that "the only way to avert violence, chaos and bloodshed and to save our democratic system from collapse was to have Mrs. Arroyo sworn in as Acting President."

He added: "After prayer and reflection, I summoned the courage to call up Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. about 5:30 a.m. to explain to him my apprehensions. I proposed that, to save the Constitution, he should swear in GMA (Arroyo) by 12 noon of that day." Arroyo became President that day.

When the question of Arroyo's legitimacy arose, Davide and Panganiban recused themselves from the Supreme Court proceedings. On March 2, 2001, the court voted 13–0 to uphold Arroyo's ascension to the top post. A month later, the court again voted 13–0 to deny with finality Estrada's motion for reconsideration.

As his way of reporting on his magistracy, Justice Panganiban writes one book a year. He has authored the following:

* 1994 – Love God, Serve Man

* 1997 – Justice and Faith

* 1998 – Battles in the Supreme Court

* 1999 – Leadership by Example

* 2000 – Transparency, Unanimity & Diversity

* 2001 – A Centenary of Justice

* 2002 – Reforming the Judiciary

* 2003 – The Bio Age Dawns on the Judiciary

* 2004 – Leveling the Playing Field

* 2005 – Judicial Renaissance.

* 2006 – Liberty and Prosperity (two volumes)

On February 12, 2007, Panganiban began writing "With Due Respect" in the Opinion section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Panganiban is married to Elenita Alcazar Carpio, a former associate dean and professor of the Asian Institute of Management. Art and Leni were wed at the Immaculate Conception Church in Rosario Heights, Quezon City on April 8, 1961. Leni earned AB-Math, and BSE in St. Scholastica's College, and MA-statistics in UP. They have 5 children: Maria Elena Panganiban-Yaptangco, Jose Artemio III, Maria Jocelyn Panganiban-Hannett, Maria Theresa Panganiban-Manalac and Maria Evelyn Panganiban-Reagan, who all hold graduate degrees from universities in the United States, including Harvard, Stanford, University of California, University of Chicago, University of Michigan and Boston University. He is also an honorary graduate of the San Beda College of Law due to his accomplishments and contributions to the Philippine Legal System. His only son Jose "Archie" Artemio III, currently a Director at Citigroup, New York City, USA, finished with the distinction of being the 2nd student “summa cum laude” since the UP College of Music's birth and of earning the highest average among UP’s 3,300 graduates in 1989. Art and Leni have 9 grandchildren, of which, 7 live with their parents in the East Coast, USA: the 4 Hannett sisters, Patricia, Katrina, Victoria and Alexandra; 2 Manalac sisters, Andrea and Nicole; and Joey Reagan. The former Chief Justice is now an Independent Director in GMA Network, Inc., Manila Electric Company, Robinsons Land Corp., Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., Petron Corporation, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Asian Terminals, and Jollibee Foods Corporation.


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