Claudio Teehankee, Sr.

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Claudio Teehankee Sr.

Claudio Teehankee Sr. (April 18, 1918 - November 27, 1989) was the 16th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. He was also the most senior associate justice and chairman of the First Division of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.


Personal life

He was born on April 18, 1918. He received his A.B., summa cum laude, in 1938 and LL.B., summa cum laude, in 1940 from Ateneo de Manila University. He was first place in the 1940 bar examinations with an average of 94.35 percent. He became Secretary of Justice under the Marcos administration in 1967 before being appointed as associate justice in 1968.

He was married to Pilar D. Javier with whom he has nine children.

After his retirement, he was appointed as the Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations, where he died of cancer in Manhattan, New York on November 27, 1989.


He was known as the court's "activist" justice because of his dissenting opinions in many vital cases affecting the Marcos administration. He was the lone dissenter in many cases, such the High Tribunal's decision upholding the constitutionality of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980. He also dissented in policies which would seem to curtail the basic liberties of people. For a time, Teehankee and Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma would dissent together. After Muñoz-Palma's retrirement, he was joined by Associate Justice Vicente Abad Santos in dissenting.

It was this activism that made Marcos bypass him twice for the position of Chief Justice (the senior associate justice is most likely to succeed after the retirement of the Chief Justice) in 1985. After the ousting of Marcos, he did get appointed as Chief Justice by the Aquino administration in 1986.

At the close of the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986, he administered the oath of office to Corazon Aquino at Club Filipino, San Juan at 10:00 am, two hours before Marcos' version of the presidential oath-taking at Malacanang at noon of February 25. Teehankee's fellow dissenter, Justice Vicente Abad Santos, administered the vice-presidential oath to Salvador Laurel.


Cruz, Isagani A. (2000). "Res Gestae: A Brief History of the Supreme Court". Rex Book Store, Manila

See also


Preceded by
Jose Yulo
Secretary of Justice
1967 – 1968
Succeeded by
Juan Ponce Enrile
Preceded by
Ramon Aquino
Chief Justice of the Philippines
1986 – 1988
Succeeded by
Pedro Yap

Original Source

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