Chief Justice Alex Gesmundo, 4 SC Justices “framed” and then “hanged” !

May 26, 2024 Ignacio "Toting" Bunye 146 views

The Ateneo Law School (ALS) the other Saturday “framed” and then “hanged” Supreme Court Chief Justice Alex Gesmundo, and four other magistrates, namely, Associate Justices Rodil Zalameda, Ricardo Rosario, Jose Midas Marquez and Maria Filomena Singh in the institution’s venerable Justitia Room.

Ignoring double jeopardy, the perpetrators of the “hanging”, who included Ateneo Law School Dean Jose Maria Hofileña, the Ateneo Alumni Association (led by Lawyers Ted Cruz and Lila Quirino) and the ALS Class of 1968 (led by Lawyer Vic Alimurung), hanged Chief Justice Gesmundo for the second time in 5 years.

Explained ALS Class of 1968 President Vic Alimurung:

In 2018, on the golden anniversary of the ALS Class of 1968, the alumni noticed that only 12 portraits of past and present Supreme Court Justices, led by former Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee, graced the Justitia Room. So the 1968 alumni decided to commission a fast-rising Angono artist to paint the oil portraits of the justices who were still not included in the gallery, namely, then Associate Justice Alex Gesmundo, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa and Andres B. Reyes. This culminated in the first “hanging” of Gesmundo in February 2019.

Since then, Gesmundo was appointed Chief Justice and new Atenean justices were named to the Supreme Court – namely: Rodil Zalameda , Ricardo Rosario, Midas Marquez and Maria Filomena D. Singh. Continuing the tradition, the 1968 alumni decided to have 5 new portraits added to the gallery.

The very appreciative audience oohed and aahed as the justices individually unveiled their remarkable likenesses. Alimurung hoped “that the oil portraits did justice to the Justices”. Nonetheless, if they did not, the 1968 alumni are willing to entertain a motion for reconsideration.

Expressing gratitude for the recognition, Justice Zalameda humorously remarked that he was greatly relieved that their “framing” and “public hanging” had no criminal implications.

He expressed profound gratitude for the recognition and reflected on the importance of the ceremony. He hoped that the portraits would serve as an inspiration to current law students, reminding them of the noble path they have chosen.

Zalameda noted that of the 194 magistrates who have been named to the Supreme Court, 19 are Ateneans who included 3 chief justices: Claudio Teehankee, Renato Corona and Alexander Gesmundo. The Supreme Court used to be the domain of the graduates from the “other school”, Zalameda said. But times have changed. Ateneo now has the most number of sitting magistrates in the High Court, totalling 7, 6 from the Ateneo de Manila and 1 from the Ateneo de Davao, just one short of a majority vote.

Justice Ricardo Rosario, (my Brod in the Aquila Legis fraternity) for his part, thanked the Ateneo Law School for his Ateneo education which embodies the virtues of honesty, integrity, and humility, paired with academic excellence and a deep mastery of the law.

Chief Justice Gesmundo emphasized the critical role of the ongoing judicial reforms and praised the dedication of all his colleagues in implementing them. He highlighted how Ateneo’s education instills social consciousness and a commitment to public service, shaping the future leaders of the judiciary. These oil portraits, he said, serve a dual purpose: they are a testament to the honorees’ significant contributions to the judiciary and a source of inspiration for current and future students.

He said that as these portraits grace the walls of the august Justitia Room, they stand as a powerful reminder of the enduring legacy of Ateneo’s alumni in the highest echelons of the Philippine judiciary, encouraging the next generation to strive for excellence and dedicate their lives to public service.

Eyewitnesses to the hanging ritual included SC Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, retired Justice Mariano Del Castillo (who came with his wife, former Ateneo Law School Dean Cynthia Del Castillo) and retired Justice Adolf Azcuna. Also present were Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra, Court of Appeals Justice Walter Ong, Sandiganbayan Justice Theresa Gomez Estoesta, JBC Member Erlinda Uy, former Customs Commissioner Antonio Bernardo and Cristina Corona, the widow of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Completing the list of eyewitnesses were retired Justice Roberto Abad (the one and only 1968 class representative to the Supreme Court), former BIR Commissioner Jojo Buñag, Lawyer-Evangelist Joe Villanueva, Lawyer Rogel Atienza and this writer, who are members of the Ateneo Law Class of 1968.

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