Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, the 23rd Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, is one of the youngest magistrates ever to be appointed to the Supreme Court of the Philippines. He was appointed to the highest tribunal on April 9, 2002 as the 150th member of the Supreme Court. His age notwithstanding, he brings with him depth and perspective gained from many years of experience as a law professor, private law practitioner and member of the Cabinet under two Presidents, Fidel V. Ramos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Chief Justice Corona had a sterling record as a student. He graduated with gold medal honors from the Ateneo de Manila grade school in 1962 and high school in 1966. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree, also with honors, from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1970. It was here where he honed his skills in writing and argumentation, the indispensable tools for writing decisions with clarity, persuasion and sagacity. He was the editor-in-chief of The Guidon, the university student newspaper of the Ateneo and was secretary-general of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines from 1968 to 1970. He was also the captain of the overall champion team of the 1970 Annual Debating Tournament of the Ateneo School of Arts and Sciences.
Chief Justice Corona finished his Bachelor of Laws at the Ateneo Law School in 1974. Having married right after college, he held a full-time job in the Office of the Executive Secretary in Malacañang Palace while attending night classes in law school. Despite the heavy demands of work and family, however, he was a consistent honor student, graduating no. 5 in his class. That same year, he placed 25th highest out of 1,965 candidates in the bar examinations with a grade of 84.6%.
After law school, he pursued the Master of Business Administration course (without thesis) at the Ateneo Professional Schools. In 1981, he was accepted to the Master of Laws program in Harvard Law School where he focused on foreign investment policies and the regulation of corporate and financial institutions. He was conferred the LL.M. degree by Harvard Law School in 1982.
He graduated with an earned Doctor of Civil Law degree from the University of SantoTomas summa cum laude and was the class valedictorian. In UST, he was once named as the Most Outstanding Graduate School Student.
As a young lawyer, Chief Justice Corona served as special counsel at the Development Bank of the Philippines. He later became senior vice-president and general counsel of the Commercial Bank of Manila and later, a senior officer of the Tax and Corporate Counseling Group of the Tax Division of Sycip Gorres and Velayo (SGV & Co.).
In 1992, he joined the administration of then President Fidel V. Ramos as Assistant Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs, concurrently head of the Malacañang Legal Office. In 1994, he was promoted to Deputy Executive Secretary and later Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and member of the Cabinet.
While serving in Malacaang during the Ramos administration, he earned the rare distinction of having solved the perennial backlog of cases in the Legal Office. As head of that critical agency, he not only served as one of the President's legal advisers but also wrote decisions and recommendations which showed an insightful and exceptional understanding of legal issues, as well as a mastery of the diverse options for resolving them.
As legal counsel to President Ramos, then Secretary Corona held, in concurrent capacity, the positions of Vice-Chairman of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission; member of the Presidential Committee on Bail, Release and Pardon, the Cabinet Consultative Committee on the Government of the Republic of the Philippines- National Democratic Front (GRP-NDF) Peace Talks, and the Cabinet Committee on National Security. He likewise chaired the Appeals Committee of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) as well as various other presidential committees.
Committed to the principles of integrity, decency and simplicity, Chief Justice Corona and his accomplishments in the public service have merited public recognition. He was honored with a special award by the Harvard University/Kennedy School of Government Alumni Association and was given recognition as an outstanding alumnus by the Harvard Club of the Philippines. In 1998, then President Ramos awarded him the distinctive Philippine Legion of Honor medal with the rank of officer.
After the term of President Ramos ended in 1998, he was invited by then Vice-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to become her chief of staff and spokesman. It was in that capacity that he became deeply involved in the burning political issues of the day and, when Arroyo assumed the presidency on January 20, 2001, he played a crucial role in the new administration as Presidential Chief of Staff, Presidential Spokesman and later as Acting Executive Secretary.
A legal scholar at heart, he served as a member of the faculty of the Ateneo Law School for 17 years, teaching Commercial Law, Taxation and Corporation Law, the same subjects that became the focus of his many articles and columns in several newspapers. He also wrote for the Ateneo Law Journal. He teaches International Law at the Graduate School of the University of Sto. Tomas.
His competence in the field of law is recognized in the Philippines and abroad. In 2006, he was conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa by the University of Batangas for his "legal scholarship, professional integrity and judicial independence." In 2007, he was again honored with another Doctor of Laws honoris causa degree, this time by the University of Cebu. In 2011, the University of Bohol conferred on him his third Doctor of Laws degree honoris causa. A fourth honorary Doctor of Laws degree was granted him by the Angeles University Foundation, also in 2011.
He has lectured and presented scholarly papers before several international law conferences and seminars, some of which were: the program on Intellectual Property Rights at the Academy for the Judiciary in Washington, D.C. in July 2005; the 9th General Assembly of the Asean Law Association in Bangkok, Thailand in November 2006 at which he lectured on class action, public interest litigation and enforcement of environmental and ancestral domain laws; the inter-regional meeting of a multidisciplinary group of experts on the role of sanctions in ensuring better respect for international humanitarian law, sponsored by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland in November 2007; the 10th General Assembly of the Asean Law Association on ASEAN Charter - Taking ASEAN to New Heights in Hanoi, Vietnam in October 2009 where he delivered a speech on judicial reforms in the Philippines and the Asian Development Bank Symposium on the occasion of the Asian Judges Symposium on Environmental Decision-Making, The Rule of Law and Environmental Justice held at the Asian Development Bank Headquarters, Manila in July 2010. In June 2011, he delivered a speech on "Access to Justice" at the 14th Conference of Chief Justices of Asia and the Pacific, held in Seoul, South Korea.
In July 2011, he addressed the International Symposium on Constitutional Democratic State in Jakarta, Indonesia and delivered a scholarly paper on "Constitutional Checks and Balances." In September 2011, he was invited to deliver the keynote address at the Fifth China-Asean Forum on Legal Cooperation and Development held in Kuala Lumpur. And in October, he was selected, from among the Chief Justices from many different countries, to be the President of the Demonstration Court of the 24th Biennial Conference of the World Jurist Association held in Prague, Czech Republic.
In 2004, the Province of Batangas conferred on him the Dangal ng Batangas award, the highest and coveted honor reserved by the province for its distinguished sons and daughters. And in 2005, he was chosen as one of the Outstanding Manilans by the capital City of Manila. In 2010, he was given the Ulirang Ama award, his most treasured award.
On October 29, 2010, the Renmin University of China Law School, the no. 1 law school in the People's Republic of China, made him Honorary Professor of Law in recognition of his legal scholarship and expertise in international law. He was the first foreign dignitary to be given such honor by Renmin Law School in its 60-year history.
In November 2011 he was given the Asian Leader Award for Judicial Excellence and, in the same month, was feted as the Inspiring Leader of the Decade by BizNewsAsia, a leading business news magazine in the Philippines.
At present, he has limited his active participation to three organizations: the Harvard Law School Association of the Philippines (where he sits as Chairman of the Board of Trustees), the Ateneo Law Alumni Association (of which he was once Chairman), and the Asean Law Association of which he is the Chairman of both the ALA Philippines and the ALA Philippine National Committee.
In the Supreme Court, he headed the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Oversight Committee, Chairman of the Legislative-Executive Relations Committee, the Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court, the Management Committee of the Judicial Reform Support Project, the Committee on Public Information, the Administrative Concerns Committee, Security Committee, the Halls of Justice Coordinating Committee, the SC Selection and Promotion Board, the Committee on Ethics and Ethical Standards and the Plantilla Committee. He is the Chairman of both the Judicial and Bar Council and the Philippine Judicial Academy.
His judicial philosophy is centered on his commitment to uphold the Constitution and the law in order that the rights of every man, woman and child are protected and enhanced. When the voice of the weak and the oppressed is inaudible and unheeded, he believes that every effort must be exerted to provide them a forum where they can be heard and their rights recognized. He is deeply committed to the cause of protecting and helping oppressed and abused street-children, and the rehabilitation of former inmates as useful members of society.
His personal advocacies include the formation of strong moral and ethical values in the legal profession, specially among the young lawyers. He was Chairman of the Supreme Court Program on Strengthening the Integrity of the Judiciary in partnership with the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative.
Born on October 15, 1948 in Tanauan City, Batangas, the self-effacing and hard-working Chief Justice Corona is married to the former Cristina Roco. They are blessed with three grown-up children, graduates of the Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines. He is the proud and doting "Grandpa" to the jewels of his life - Franco, Santino, Anika, Katrina, Natalia and Caia. - SOURCE: http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph