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With Due Respect

Valentine in the Supreme Court

While I was sitting in the Supreme Court (1995-2006), and even prior to that, Valentine’s Day was celebrated with soft affection for the justices.

Long-stemmed roses were collectively offered by the staff members of the Office of the Clerk of Court. The Supreme Court Chorale serenaded the justices individually (and, at times, with their spouses who came for the occasion) with their favorite love songs in their private chambers, one of the few times the staff and the chorale were allowed to visit the cloisters in Mount Olympus. (At that time, no one had access to our chambers, except our immediate staff, the clerk of court and his/her immediate deputies.)

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This Valentine tradition has unfortunately been discontinued. On the one hand, some may view this practice as an irrelevancy to the formal and distant magistrates; on the other, it breaks the monotony of stringency and rigidity with some spontaneity and nicety. Indeed, the roses and love songs turned the yearlong judicial frowns into reluctant smiles, even for just a day.

Now that Court of Appeals (CA) Justice Fernanda Lampas Peralta, the charming and low-profile spouse of Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta, heads the Supreme Court Ladies Circle, the justices may want to revive this tradition in the future, or to begin a new one, if only to show that the distant gods are also capable of being humans with distinct charisma and charm.

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CJ Peralta holds the distinction of being only the second Chief to be married to an incumbent appellate justice. The only other comparable judicial love team was CJ Ramon C. Aquino and CA Justice Carolina Griño-Aquino (now both deceased). Incidentally, Justice Carol, as she was fondly called, was promoted to the Supreme Court on Feb. 2, 1988 after her husband voluntarily retired as CJ in 1987 following the ascension of Corazon Aquino as president.

Like Justice Carol, Justice Audrey (that’s her nickname) has an excellent chance to ascend to the Supreme Court. She is only 59 years old (born June 16, 1960) and is already the second most senior in the CA (second only to the amiable Justice Remedios A. Salazar Fernando). In fact, if she is promoted in the next two years, the Peraltas would be the only couple to sit in the highest court of the land at the same time.

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Speaking of CJ Peralta, the board of judges he headed has chosen this year’s 20 law scholars (10 juniors and 10 seniors) of the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity (FLP) and the Tan Yan Kee Foundation (TYKF). After a searching interview at the Supreme Court, the judges selected these 10 junior law students:

Patricia Anne Alarios (Ateneo de Manila), William de la Cruz (Father Saturnino Urios University in Butuan City), Ricka Abigael Dumelod (UST), Florida Fomaneg (UP), Rowell Nico Macalino (Ateneo de Manila), Joy Francine Mappang (University of the Cordilleras in Baguio), Geremae Mata (USC in Cebu), Carlo Angelo Negado (USC), Laurence Obaob (USC) and George Mariano Soriano (UP).

The judges also chose Patricia Isabel Cornelio (FEU) to join nine other senior law students who retained their scholarships last year when they were still third year students: Bonoar Abratique (University of the Cordilleras), Pamela Camille Barredo (FEU), Angelette Bulacan (FEU), Stephanie Mae Domingo (University of the Cordilleras), Patrick Angelo Gutierrez (FEU), Mayumi Matsumura (Ateneo de Manila), Juralyn Lilian Obra (University of the Cordilleras), Carmella Gaye Perez (USC) and Edrea Jean Ramirez (UST).

Each of the 20 scholars will receive P200,000, divided into P100,000 maximum for tuition, P20,000 for books and P80,000 for monthly stipends. They were selected on the basis of their academic merit and their ability to espouse and propagate the FLP’s philosophy of liberty and prosperity under the rule of law.

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CJ Peralta was joined in the board of judges by Philippine Association of Law Schools chair Joan Sarausos-Largo, TYKF executive Elizabeth Alba, law Prof. Tanya Lat and Asian Development Bank consultant Joel J. Gregorio, members.

Incidentally, the deadline for the submission of entries in the FLP Dissertation Writing Contest, cosponsored by the Ayala Group, is on April 30, 2020. Prizes are: First place—P300,000; second place—P200,000; three third places—P100,000 each; and 20 finalists—P20,000 each. For details, log on to www.libpros.com

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TAGS: artemio v. panganiban, Supreme Court, Valentine's Day, With Due Respect
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