SUPREME COURT UNVEILS STATUES OF ARELLANO AND ABAD SANTOS

Manila, June 18, 2003 (Star) In honor of the first Filipino Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano, and martyred Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos, the Supreme Court unveiled their six-foot high seated bronze figures last June 11 at the Supreme Court grounds. The unveiling was part of the Supreme Courtís celebration of its 102nd founding day with the theme, "Isang Pagpupugay, Isang Pagtitipon sa ating ika-102 na Taon."

Sculpted by distinguished sculptor Julie Lluch, the two statues were installed on rectangular platforms flanking both sides of the new SC building.

First Filipino Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano, considered as the "Architect of the Philippine Judiciary," laid the foundation of the present judiciary. He was appointed by General Elwell Otis, the enlightened American military governor, on May 29, 1899, following the issuance of General Order No. 20 re-establishing the Audiencia.

Arellano headed the Board constituted to organize the courts of justice. He recommended the three-tiered judicial structure: with the Supreme Court at the apex, the Courts of First Instance in all the regions at the middle tier, and the Municipal Courts in all municipalities at the base.

After 18 years of public service, the longest continuous service as Chief Justice, Arellano retired from the Supreme Court on April 12, 1920.

Jose Abad Santos, the countryís fifth Chief Justice, was appointed by President Manuel Quezon on Dec. 24, 1941. However, he did not have the chance to preside over the Supreme Court because President Quezon brought him to Corregidor to administer his oath on Dec. 31, 1941.

Abad Santos started his government service as clerk in the Executive Bureau. He passed the Philippine Bar in 1911 and was promoted to assistant fiscal in the Bureau of Justice. After three years, he became special attorney general in the Philippine National Bank and rose from assistant attorney general to acting public utilities commissioner.

He was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 1932. However, from 1938 to 1941, President Quezon "borrowed" him from the Bench to assume for the third time the position of Secretary of Justice.

Abad Santos was captured by the Japanese on May 2, 1942 in Lanao del Sur. His refusal to swear allegiance to the Japanese government led to his execution, thereby proving that the men in black robes can give up their lives too for the country.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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