Andres Bonifacio College » » Former Chief Justice Davide to keynote ABCollege’s 66th Commencement Exercises

Andres Bonifacio College

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by Alumni and Public Affairs Office on 03 11th, 2012
 Former Chief Justice Davide to keynote ABCollege’s 66th Commencement Exercises

Former Chief Justice Davide to keynote ABCollege’s 66th Commencement Exercises

Former Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. will give the keynote speech during the 66th Commencement Exercises of the Andres Bonifacio College on March 28, 2012 at the College Green.

 The former chief magistrate will speak on the theme ” The Judiciary’s Critical Role in Upholding Good Governance in the Country” before the Graduating Class of 2012. Davide will speak on a theme at a time when the country is in the middle of a political crisis as the Senate of the Philippines is presently embarked in an impeachment trial for corruption charges against the current chief magistrate, Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

Jun, as many call him, is a native of Argao, Cebu. He was born on December 20, 1935 to public school teachers Hilario P. Davide Sr., who retired as a schools division superintendent, and Josefa L. Gelbolingo. After finishing his primary and secondary studies in Cebu, Hilario Jr. went to the University of the Philippines, the premier university in the country, and obtained his Associate in Arts, Bachelor of Science in Jurisprudence, and Bachelor of Laws degrees in 1955, 1958, and 1959, respectively. After passing the bar in 1959, he worked as a private secretary and as a law professor in Cebu.

It was during the Marcos era that the then young lawyer had a chance at the political scene when he was elected as a member of the Constitutional Convention (CONCON) as representative of the 4th District of Cebu. As chairman of one of the most important committees of the Convention, he introduced several reforms which were adopted.

When Martial Law was declared in 1972, he was one of the many political leaders in Cebu who staunchly opposed it. After President Ferdinand E. Marcos was deposed through the famous People Power Revolution of 1986, Davide was appointed by the late President Corazon C. Aquino as a member of the 50-man Philippine Constitutional Commission which was created to draft the 1986 Constitution. It can be remembered that the 1935 Constitution was abolished by Marcos as he tried to effect a new constitution written by him during his dictatorship.

Davide moved from one government position to another, having served in the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) as its chairman until his appointment as Associate Justice in the Supreme Court. His greatest break in government service, however, happened in 1998 when then-President Joseph E. Estrada appointed him as Chief Justice, replacing Chief Justice Andres R. Narvasa. With his appointment, Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. became the 20th Chief Justice of the Philippines as well as its Centennial and Millennial Chief Justice. Coincidentally, Davide was the Presiding Judge in the impeachment court when Estrada was charged with plunder and corruption in 2000.

The former chief magistrate’s name was further brought into the limelight when he administered the oath of office as President of then-Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the constitutional successor to the Presidency after Estrada was ousted. Numerous criticisms were thrown at the Supreme Court as to the legitimacy of the magistrate’s actions but Davide stood firm on his decision, saying what he did was for the welfare of the people. His crucial decision ultimately led to the end of the crisis.

After reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70, Chief Justice Davide retired from the Supreme Court but he continued serving the Arroyo government as Senior Presidential Adviser on Electoral Reforms. President Arroyo would later appoint him as Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations, a post he held from 2007 to 2010.

In his decades of illustrious public service, Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. received numerous awards. He received the greatest of them all: the Knight Grand Cross of the Pontifical Order of St. Sylvester  in 2011, one of the highest honours conferred by the Roman Catholic Church. For his advocacies in democracy and the rule of law, he received the Ramon Magsaysay Award, which is the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize, for Government Service.

Davide was also declared Most Distinguished Alumnus, Man of the Year, and Filipino of the Year by several civic organizations and institutions. He was also given The Outstanding Filipino Award in Environmental Law, the 2001 Rule of Law Award, the 2003 Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion Award for Legal Aid and was conferred 13 honorary degrees in law and humanities. He is also acknowledged internationally for his extraordinary leadership in advancing the Rule of Law by the American Bar Association (ABA).

A doting father of five and a loving grandfather of thirteen, Chief Justice Davide is married to Virginia J. Perez.



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