What Differentiates Chief Justice Panganiban
By Aurelio Montinola III, President of the Bankers’ Association of the Philippines and of the Bank of the Philippine Islands, on the launching by the Philippine Daily Inquirer of the book authored by Chief Justice Panganiban titled “With Due Respect” held on March 29, 2012 at the Powerbooks, Greenbelt 4, Makati City.
In a recent television interview, IMF Chief Cristine Lagarde was asked if there was anything in her background that helped prepare her for the global role that she now has. She responded by saying that it was her being a lawyer and a previous head of Baker Mckenzie in the US that has given her the edge of better understanding what to do and what not to do in the global crisis she now deftly manages.
If I were to ask a similar question of Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, I would venture to say that his previous background in business is what differentiates him from many other Chief Justices.
As a former head of Baron Travel, he created a business that flourished in the 80s – Secretary Mon Jimenez would have been proud of his branding and communication skills when he fashioned his Baron Travel Girl contest at a time when many Filipinas dream was to win a beauty contest, and many Filipinos secret dream was to meet the Baron Travel Girl.
But more importantly, he understood the opportunities, the risks, the challenges, and the distinctive culture of business being primarily a private sector initiative – which is why he is remembered for leading a Supreme Court that, except for rulings on observance of law, generally preferred to leave the interpretation of business rules to businessmen and not to potentially disruptive court rulings.
The Lawyer and later, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
On a broader front, he perfected the nuances of being around at the big moments of political history and discreetly giving well thought out, pragmatic legal advice to key political leaders. He also perfected preserving the independence of the Supreme Court, having a working coequal relationship with the Chief Executive, and getting his own Supreme Court justices to work as a team.
I remember him as a voracious reader, but one who could wade through immense stacks of paper to distill the most important arguments pro and con, and then translate this into a view that could lengthily buttress a position that he would take. I am also told that he has put together an insightful compilation of his major Supreme Court positions and decisions.
Although I am not a lawyer, the title of his book today aptly describes the feeling of lawyers and nonlawyers toward his Court and also to him – “With Due Respect”. My recollection also is that he rated respectably high in Surveys regarding government officials’ capability and popularity.
The Independent Director and the Inquirer Columnist (and now author)
For those of us who have to contemplate life after retirement from a most hectic career, one can admiringly look to the model of Chief Justice Art – whom some of us had the privilege of watching a musicale aptly entitled “Ageless Passion” at the Meralco Theater fairly recently.
After the Supreme Court, he quietly re-entered the world of business by serving in a few corporate Boards, which have become so many that whenever we at BPI lend a lot of money to a major Philippine name, we often hear the familiar “Mr. Chairman, Abstain, Independent Director” from Director Panganiban.
However, on matters of broad corporate policy of instructive comments on what is going on in the country, his ultra perceptive comments cut through the air like a knife through butter and distill instant knowledge for those present. He also asks the right questions, and always gives a clearly understandable answer on even the more complex subjects that show his insightful understanding of the relationship between business and law. If there were such a degree as a PHD for Business and Law, he would be a perfect candidate – a glance at his resume shows 5 awards for Doctor of Laws – Honoris Causa.
Finally, we are blessed with CJ Panganiban’s transformation into one of the most readable and balanced columnists at the Inquirer. He has “fearless views”, and “balanced news.” He writes them well, but he is always careful to explain the other side (even if it is very clear whose side or whose view he is espousing).
Best of all, he uses the first third of his column to explain the background, in layman’s terms, of what he will espouse in the next two thirds of his column. Also, after voluminous treatises in law in an earlier life, he has mastered the not-so-easy transition into a three column article – almost like an English composition homework once a week on an interesting topic of his choice. As Isagani Yambot notes in his Foreword, “While many of the columns deal with the technical matters of law, they are written in simple, understandable language that uses a minimum of legal jargon. Because of their simplicity of style, clarity of thought, and unassailable logic, the columns make for interesting and instructive reading.”
Ladies and gentlemen, during the current impeachment hearings, some people watch the actual court proceedings, other wait for the TV news or commentaries – I simply read CJ Art’s weekend piece to understand the big picture as well as the legal nuances during the trial.
My congratulations then to Chief Justice Art Panganiban – one of FEU’s most distinguished law alumni, one of BPI’s respected Independent Directors, but most of all for sharing his knowledge and wisdom with all through his Inquirer Column entitled “With Due Respect”
Some Introductions of Chief Justice PanganibanAurelio Montinola III, President of the Bankers' Association of the Philippines and of the Bank of the Philippine Islands, on the launch by the Philippine Daily Inquirer of the book "With Due Respect" on Mar 29, 2012 at the Powerbooks, Greenbelt 4, Makati
In a recent television interview, IMF Chief Cristine Lagarde was asked if there was anything in her background that helped prepare her for the global role that she now has.Chief Justice (ret.) Hilario G. Davide, Jr. at the launch of Chief Justice Panganibans’s book titled "With Due Respect, selected columns in the Inquirer" held on March 29, 2012 at Powerbooks, Greenbelt, Makati City.
I thank the Philippine Daily Inquirer for inviting me to attend this launching of Chief Justice Panganiban’s book With Due Respect, a collection of selected columns written by him in the PDI, and to be requested to deliver a message at such event.Ms. Chit Lijauco, Managing Editor, Philippine Tatler Magazine, May 2009 issue.
IN 1992 WHEN ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN was invited by President Fidel V. Ramos to be the Justice Secretary, his response was, “Mr. President, I might be the wrong choice; I did not campaign for you.” To which Ramos answered, “ I know. You did not even vote for me!”Robert Kwan, Chairman of the Board, St. Luke’s Hospital, upon reading two of Chief Justice Panganiban’s books
“God has gifted you with prophetic words, which are great quotes. While reading them, I highlighted those quotes so hopefully my kids will also learn from them when they review the books I have read.”Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto G. Romulo during the Reception in Honor of H.E. Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams on February 11, 2008
“Cited by his colleagues in the Supreme Court as “the 21st Century’s Renaissance Jurist,” the former Chief Justice has had an enviable judicial record noteworthy for its independence, integrity and erudition.”H.E. Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams during the Reception on February 11, 2008
“When people speak of him, they do so in the superlative, and describe him as a “gifted jurist”, a man of “intelligence, competence, integrity and independence”.”Bishop Socrates Villegas during the Retirement of Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban on December 06, 2006
“...Chief Justice Art has shown us that loyalty to God and excellence in government service are not incompatible.”Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez during the Tribute entitled “Through the Years: Celebrating the Life and Achievements of Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban” on November 15, 2006
“Chief Justice Panganiban joined the Supreme Court in 1995, equipped with the excellent academic and professional record. Since then, he has strengthened the Supreme Court with his competence, integrity and independence – virtues that made him a strong pillar of our institution.”Rina Jimenez-David from Inquirer/Opinion (At Large) October 29, 2006
“How he rose from frustration and defeat, to achieving every lawyer’s greatest dream is indeed an inspirational story. But I will hazard a guess that his sense of “destiny,” and how he sought to fulfil this in his years in the Court, arose not just from past experience, but from an inner fire and conviction.”Hon. Jovito R. Salonga from his Foreword to “Liberty and Prosperity” – July 1, 2006
“Chief Justice Panganiban is not awed by all sorts of criticisms, whether from friends, well-wishers, skeptics, or cynics… In a deeper sense, Art is my mentor. For he is no longer the same person I used to know.”Justice Romeo J. Callejo, Sr. during a Testimonial for Hon. Artemio V. Panganiban on April 22, 2006
“One book a year and no cases left undecided. This is Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban’s unsurpassed record and the best summation of judicial reform.”Hon. Chao Hick Tin, President of the Asean Law Association (ALA) during a Testimonial for Hon. Artemio V. Panganiban on April 22, 2006
“A brilliant and respected jurist, and a prolific writer, he is an acknowledged contributor to one of the world’s great revolutions – the revolution of knowledge. Anyone who knows Chief Justice Panganiban will testify that he stands for steadfastness, honesty, dedication and progress.”Atty. Avelino V. Cruz during a Testimonial for Hon. Artemio V. Panganiban on April 22, 2006
“ ...to Chief Justice Panganiban, one of the Philippines’ most brilliant and respected jurists, ...”Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez during a Testimonial Dinner of the Society for Judicial Excellence on January 19, 2006
“A summation of all his fine qualities mentioned this evening, shows that his is the finest standard of ethics, professional competence, integrity and independence…”Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez during the 10th Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. Distinguished Lecture last October 19, 2005
“... with his brilliance of mind, competence and independence, he has been adding lustre to that court.”