Hilario Davide, Jr.

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Hilario G. Davide, Jr

In office
November 30, 1998 – December 20, 2005
Appointed by  : Joseph Estrada
Preceded by  : Andres R. Narvasa
Succeeded by  : Artemio V. Panganiban
December 20, 1935 (age 81)
Argao, Cebu
20th Chief Justice pf the Philippines

Hilario Gelbolingo Davide, Jr. was the 20th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.


Early life and education

Davide was born on December 20, 1935 in the remote barangay of Colawin, in Argao, Cebu to Hilario P. Davide, Sr., a retired Schools Division Superintendent, and Josefa L. Gelbolingo, a former public school teacher. He completed his primary education at Argao Central Elementary School and secondary education at Abellana Vocational High School. In college, he went to the University of the Philippines where he initially took up Associate in Arts in 1955. In the same year, he entered the U.P. College of Law as an entrance scholar.

Educational background of Hilario Davide:

  • Elementary : Argao (Cebu) Elementary School, 1949
  • High School : Abellana Vocational High School, Cebu City, 1953
  • College : University of the Philippines (U.P.) Diliman, Quezon City
  • Bachelor of Laws, University of the Philippines, 1959
  • Bachelor of Science in Jurisprudence, University of the Philippines, 1958
  • Associate in Arts, University of the Philippines, 1955
  • Degree of Doctor, honoris causa, Soka University, Japan, March 2002
  • Doctor of Public Administration, honoris causa, Polytechnique University of the Philippines, December 9, 2005
  • Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, University of Cordilleras, Baguio City, May 2004
  • Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa, Northern Christian College, Laoag City, March 2004
  • Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa, for Peace and Development, Notre Dame University, Cotabato City, March 2004
  • Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, University of San Carlos, Cebu City, March 2003
  • Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, De La Salle, Manila, June 2001
  • Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, Angeles University Foundation, Angeles City, April 2001
  • Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, University of the Philippines, April 2001
  • Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, Far Eastern University, Manila, April 2001
  • Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa, University of the Visayas, Cebu City, March 2001
  • Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa, Ateneo de Manila University, March 2001
  • Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa, University of Cebu, Cebu City, March 2000
  • Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, Southwestern University, Cebu City, March 1999


Hilario Davide's career background:

  • Private Secretary to the Vice Governor and then to the Governor of Cebu, 1959 – 1963
  • Faculty Member, College of Law, Southwestern University, Cebu City, 1962 – 1968
  • Delegate, Constitutional Convention, representing the 4th District of Cebu, 1971
  • Assemblyman, Interim Batasang Pambansa representing Region VII, June 12, 1978 – June 30, 1984
  • Commissioner, Constitutional Commission of 1986 which drafted the 1987 Constitution, June 2, 1986 – Oct. 15, 1986
  • Chairman, Commission on Elections, Feb. 16, 1988 – Jan. 11, 1990
  • Chairman, The Presidential Fact Finding Commission, Dec. 7, 1989 – Jan. 11, 1990
  • Chairman, The Presidential Fact Finding Commission, Jan. 12, 1990 – Jan. 15, 1991
  • Chief Justice, Supreme Court of the Philippines, Nov. 30, 1998 – Dec. 20, 2005
  • Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the Philippines, Jan. 24, 1991 – Nov. 29, 1998
  • Chairman, Judicial and Bar Council
  • Presiding Officer, Presidential Impeachment Court
  • Chairman, Presidential Electoral Tribunal
  • Chairman, Board of Trustees, Philippine Judicial Academy
  • Chairman, Executive Committee, Judicial Reform Program

From 1959 to 1963, Davide became a private secretary to the Vice Governor of the province of Cebu, then to its Governor. From 1962 to 1968, he was a faculty member of the College of Law of Southwestern University in Cebu City. This university conferred him a degree of Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) in 1999.

Legislator and Constitutionalist

Davide was later elected as delegate of the 4th district of Cebu to the Constitutional Convention (ConCon) in 1971. In 1978, he was elected assemblyman for Cebu in the Interim Batasang Pambansa (Interim National Legislature) under the opposition. He was its first Minority Floor Leader. He filed the most bills of national significance, as well as resolutions to lift martial law, some of which were outnumbered by the dominant party KBL. In February 1986, then President Corazon C. Aquino convened the Constitutional Commission (ConCom), and appointed Davide one of its fifty Commissioners.

COMELEC and the 1989 coup

In February 1988, President Aquino appointed Davide as Chairman of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). In December 1, 1989, military rebels initiated a bloody coup attempt to oust President Aquino. After the rebels retreated, President Aquino appointed Davide as Chairman of the Presidential Fact-finding Commission to conduct an investigation of the rebellion and the involvement of military, civilian officials and private persons. Congress passed Republic Act No. 6832, enhancing Davide's power through a broader fact-finding commission.

Supreme Court

Davide was appointed as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on January 24, 1991. From January 2, 1996 to August 30, 1997, in a concurrent position, he sat as a member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal overseeing the protest filed by former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and Rodolfo Biazon. The protests were dismissed in 1998 when petitioners gained the Senate seat in the May 11 election, but the case against election officials was upheld in 2004. He was also the Working Chairman of the court’s Third Division from January 2, 1996 to September 7, 1997, and Chairman of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal from September 1, 1997 to November 30, 1998, overseeing protests filed by congressional candidates.

On November 30, 1998, president Joseph Estrada appointed Davide the 20th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He took his oath of office at the Bonifacio Shrine in Manila.

In 2000, Davide served as the presiding officer of the Estrada impeachment trial. Following the EDSA II Revolution that toppled Estrada from power, Davide administered the oath of office to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in front of the massive crowd at the EDSA Shrine. The Philippine Daily Inquirer named him 2000's Filipino of the Year.

In 2003, he was given a Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service. As a Cebuano, he administered the oath of office to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Vice President Noli de Castro in the Cebu City capitol.

Davide retired as chief magistrate on December 20, 2005 after he reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. He was succeeded by Artemio Panganiban.

On January 24, 2006, President Arroyo appointed Davide as presidential adviser on electoral reforms, to recommend measures and policies that would help reform the country's electoral system, which is widely perceived as corrupt. The appointment was announced during a Council of State meeting convened by Arroyo.

In 2008, Davide received the "Spirit of the UN" Award from the United Nations for his notable work in promoting spirituality and values in the world.

Preceded by
Andres Narvasa
Chief Justice of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Artemio V. Panganiban
Preceded by
Irene R. Cortes
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Minerva Gonzaga-Reyes


  • Magsaysay Awardee for Government Service, Ramon Magsaysay Foundation, Aug. 31, 2002
  • UPAA Most Distinguished Alumnus Award, Univerisity of the Philippines Alumni Association, June 25, 2005
  • Outstanding Citizen of Quezon City in the field of the Judiciary, Quezon City government, Oct. 12, 2004
  • Most Outstanding Plebeian Achievement Award, Kapatirang Plebeian Foundation, Inc. June 19, 2004
  • 2003 Man of the Year, Philippine Free Press, December 2003
  • Bayani ng Katarungan Award, Kilosbayan and Bantay Katarungan, Nov. 2003
  • Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion Award for Legal Aid (First Awardee), Integrated Bar of the Philippines, June 2003
  • Jose P. Laurel Award, Lyceum of the Philippines, Mar. 7, 2002
  • Rizal Peace Award, University of Southern Philippines, Cebu City, Aug. 2001
  • Chino Roces Freedom Award, Chino P. Roces Foundation, Inc. Aug. 27, 2001
  • Signun Lasallianum Award, University of St. La Salle (Bacolod City), July 2001
  • Outstanding Professional Awardee in Law, University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA), June 2001
  • Rule of Law Award, Chief Justice Teehankee Foundation and the Center for the Rule of Law, April 2001
  • Grand Perlas Award, Philippine Foundation, Inc. March 2001
  • Award of Excellence for his performance in the Impeachment Trial, Bantay Katarungan, Feb. 2001
  • Rajah Humabon Award, Feb. 2001
  • Filipino of the Year 2000 Award, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Jan. 14, 2001
  • Millennium Medal of Merit, Rizalian Year 2000, Order of the Knights of Columbus
  • Medallion of Judicial Excellence, Professional Regulation Commission, June 2000
  • Ten Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Award in the field of Environmental Law, Philippine Jaycee Senate, March 1999
  • Knight Grand Cross of Rizal, Supreme Council of the Order of the Knights of Rizal, 1998
  • National Maagap Award, Organized Response for the Advancement of Society, Inc. 1998
  • Plaque of Merit, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Cebu Province Chapter, Apr. 27, 1985
  • One of the Ten Outstanding Assemblyman of the Interim Batasang Pambansa, The People’s Free Press, Ten Outstanding Assemblymen Special Tribute (TOAST) ’83, May 9, 1984
  • Plaque of Appreciation as one of the Ten Outstanding Cebuano Alumni, U.P. Alumni Association of Cebu, 1981
  • Plaque of Appreciation, Commission on Elections, 1973
  • Certificate of Merit, U.P. Alumni Association, 1972
  • Certificate of Merit, Philippine Law Journal, 1959
  • Outstanding Plebeian, U.P., 1957

Professional and Civil Organizations

  • First Honorary Member of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Philippine National Committee, conferred during the International Women’s Day Celebration on 10 March 2005
  • One of the Honorary Presidents of the WORLD JURIST ASSOCIATION of the World Peace Through Law Center up to September 2005; and one of the officers as President of the World Association of Law Professors, September 2005
  • Member, Advisory Council of Eminent Jurists, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Regional Office for Asia and Pacific
  • Member, Ad Hoc Advisory Group of Judges for UNEP organized during the January 2003 UNEP meeting in Nairobi, Kenya
  • Member, Center for Democracy, Washington D.C., U.S.A.
  • Member, University of the Philippines Cebu Law Alumni Association
  • Vice President, Bar Association of Cebu
  • Grand Knight, Fr. Matias Lucero Council No. 6054, Knights of Columbus in the Philippines Inc. (Cebue Chapter)
  • Director for Community Services, KC-Philippine Senate
  • State Advocate for the Visayas Jurisdiction, Knights of Columbus in the Philippines
  • Member, Administrative and Finance Board, Archdiocese of Cebu


  • Annual report of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. 1999. Manila: Supreme Court, 2000. 241p.
  • The Balancing of Rights with Obligations, in Living Constitution. Edited by H.E.Gutierrez, Jr. QC: UP Law Center, 1976. P. 159-162.
  • Closing Statement, in Odyssey and Legacy: the Chief Justice Andres R. Narvasa Centennial Lectures Series. Compiled and edited by Antonio M. Elicano. Manila, Supreme Court, 1998. p. 236.
  • Final Report of the Fact-Finding Commission (pursuant to R.A. No. 6832). Fact-Finding Commission. Quezon City: Bookmark, 1990. 323p.
  • The Judiciary and the Environment in the Third Millenium, in Southeast Asian Justices Symposium: the Law on Sustainable Development. Judges and Legal Experts Debate Key Environmental Issues. Manila, March 4-7, 1999. p. 209-210.
  • 1998 Annual Report of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. Manila: Presidential Electoral Tribunal, 1999. 59p.
  • 1998 Annual Report of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. Manila: Supreme Court, 1999. 193p.
  • Tradition and Transition: the First Year of the Davide Watch by Committee on Public Information. Manila: Supreme Court, 1999. 117p.
  • Welcome Statement, in Odyssey and Legacy: the Chief Justice Andres R. Narvasa Centennial Lectures Series. Compiled and edited by Antonio M. Elicano. Manila, Supreme Court, 1998. p.7-8.

Personal life

Jun, as many call him, is married to Virginia Jimenea Perez. They have five children: Hilario III (an incumbent city councilor in Cebu City), Joseph Bryan Hilary, Sheryl Ann, Noreen, and Delster Emmanuel.

See also

External links




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