Teresita De Castro
From WikiPilipinas: The Hip 'n Free Philippine Encyclopedia
| Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines (2007)|
Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan First Division (2004-2007)
| December 1, 2007 - present
|Born|| October 8, 1948|
|Spouse||Eduardo A. de Castro|
|Parents||Fortunato R. Leonardo, Maxima J. Leonardo|
Teresita Leonardo de Castro (born October 8, 1948) is an incumbent Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, having been sworn in on December 4, 2007. She was formerly a Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan, having been first appointed as Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice in 2002, after serving as chairman of the Sandiganbayan First Division. She became well-known to the public when she became the chairperson of the Special Division of the Sandiganbayan that heard the plunder case of former president Joseph E. Estrada.
 Early Life
Teresita Jose Leonardo was born to Fortunato R. Leonardo and Maxima J. Leonardo, of Parañaque on October 8, 1948. She is married to businessman Eduardo A. de Castro. They have three children: Christine Genevive, Maria Cherell, and Edouard Anthony.
De Castro finished her elementary (1960) and high school education (Valedictorian, 1964) at St. Paul College in Parañaque. She graduated cum laude in Political Science from the University of the Philippines in 1968. She then took up law at the University of the Philippines and graduated in 1972 with a Certificate of Merit for Academic Excellence Among Top 4 Graduates. She then took the Bar Examinations in November 1972 and passed with a rating of 80.9 percent.
 Judicial Career
De Castro began her first years in the judiciary as a clerk at the Supreme Court in 1973, where she prepared agenda and minutes of the Supreme Court En Banc and legal studies for the Clerk of Court. She then went on to become a legal assistant (1974-1975), and later judicial assistant (1975-1978), of the late Chief Justice Fred Ruiz Castro, assisting him in his administrative and judicial functions.
De Castro then served at the then Ministry (now Department) of Justice as State Counsel I from 1978 to 1981, State Counsel II from 1981 to 1985, and Senior State Counsel from 1985 to 1987. After the EDSA Revolution of 1986, the Ministry of Justice became the Department of Justice, where De Castro by then served as Supervising State Counsel from 1988 to 1989, as State Counsel V from 1989 to 1995, and then as Assistant Chief State Counsel from 1995 to 1997. As State Counsel, she assisted the Secretary of Justice in the preparation of legal opinions on a broad range of legal questions raised by the various Executive Departments, Bureau and Offices, including the Office of the President and Congress; assisted in the drafting of proposed legislations and implementing rules and regulations; negotiated and reviewed government contracts and agreements; provided legal services to inter-agency Commissions, the Executive-Legislative Bases Council, the Government Panel which negotiated with the CPP-NDF, MILF and MNLF and the Government Panel in the RP-US Bases and Cooperation Talks; inter-agency bodies on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Task Force on International Refugee Assistance, and the Committee of Coordinators/ Consultants on Katarungang Pambarangay; assisted the Secretary of Justice in his work in the Cabinet Cluster E dealing with political and security concerns; and assisted in the supervision of about thirty (30) lawyers and forty (40) administrative support staff of the DOJ Office of the Chief State Counsel, including the law library staff.
On Sept. 23, 1997, she was appointed by then President Fidel Ramos as an associate justice and Chairperson of the First Division of the Sandiganbayan, serving as such until 2004. As Chairperson of the First Division, she presided over the court sessions, issued orders in open court, wrote decisions and extended resolutions, supervised the Office of the Division Clerk of Court ,and participated in the administrative, ceremonial and other non-adjudicatory functions of the Sandiganbayan en banc.
She became Presiding Justice and Chairman of the First Division of the Sandiganbayan on December 15, 2004. As Presiding Justice, she implemented the policies, executed the resolutions and enforced the orders of the Court En Banc; performed the functions specifically vested upon her by law, rules and regulations and those implied therefrom; performed all other functions and duties inherent in her position, such as, among others, exercising control and supervision over court officials and personnel in behalf of the Sandiganbayan en banc subject to the constitutional authority of the Supreme Court; acted as ex-officio member of all Standing Committees of the Sandiganbayan; authorized the Divisions to hold court sessions outside Metro Manila; designated an Associate Justice to sit as special member of a Division in case of absence or temporary incapacity or permanent vacancy until the appointment of a regular member; presided over meetings of the Sandiganbayan en banc; and performed other administrative duties.
On January 21, 2002, the Supreme Court in an en banc resolution created a Sandiganbayan Special Division to hear, try and decide with dispatch the plunder case and all related cases filed against former President Joseph Estrada and his co-accused. Acting Presiding Justice Minita V. Chico-Nazario (chair), Associate Justice Edilberto Sandoval, and Teresita Leonardo-De Castro were assigned to this new division.On January 11, 2005, the Supreme Court accepted Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Edilberto Sandoval's resignation as chairman of the Sandiganbayan Special Division for health reasons, and directed De Castro to assume the chairmanship. The trial ended on June 15, 2007. On September 12, 2007, De Castro handed down a guilty verdict. 
(For more information on the Estrada Plunder Trial, see separate article.)
 Legal Background
De Castro has extensive background in international law, being a member of the Philippine panel in several negotiations such as the Philippine-American Cooperation talks and the RP Bases Withdrawal Panel in 1991 and in 1992 and Task Force on International Refugees Assistance and Administration until 1997. She also served as the legal adviser of the government panels in the peace talks with the National Democratic Front and the Moro National Liberation Front until 1997.
De Castro is also a professor of law. She taught criminal procedure, public international law, private international law (Conflict of Laws), and legal counseling at the University of Perpetual Help of Rizal in Las Piñas City from 2001 to 2004. She attended several seminars such as the Seminar on Loan Negotiation and Renegotiation in the International Law Institute in Washington, DC, from Aug. 9 to Sept. 5, 1986, and participated in the Program of Instruction for Lawyers at the Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in June, 2004.
De Castro is a signatory, on March 17, 2006, of the Covenant to support the National Anti-Corruption Program of Action (NACPA). During the “NACPA Roadshow Rally for Integrity”, held at the University of the Philippines Bahay ng Alumni at the UP Campus in Quezon City on August 17, 2007, she warned grafters and corrupt public officials on the imposition of a stiff jail term if they are found guilty. Her stern warning was delivered before members of the Multi-Sectoral Anti-Corruption Council (MSACC). De Castro said that as of June 30, 2007, there have been 31,595 cases filed with the Sandiganbayan of which 29,213 have been disposed of, leaving a pending workload of 2,382 cases or an average of less than 500 cases per division.
 Training and Seminars
- Seminar on Loan Negotiation and Renegotiation (August 9 to September 5, 1986), International Law Institute, Washington D.C.
- Program of Instruction for Lawyers (June 11-21, 2004), Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Seminar Judging Across Borders: Canadian Judges and International Law, (April 6-9, 2005), National Judicial Institute, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
- Study Tour of US Court Administration and Case Flow & Records Management, Conducted by the American Bar Association, Wisconsin and Washington D.C., U.S.A., June 11-20, 2005
- Civil Law Revisited, Supreme Court, June 3 to July 6, 1977
- Problem Areas Under the Labor Code, Supreme Court, October 5 to October 21, 1977
- Seminar on Probation, Supreme Court, November 16 to December 7, 1977
- Lecturer, Seminar on the 1981 Amendments to the Constitution, Department of Justice
- Conference-Workshop on Organizing Resources for Greater ASEAN Economic Cooperation, Academy of ASEAN Law and Jurisprudence, UP Law Complex and Friedrich-EBERT-Stifkung, November 9, 1987
- National Seminar-Workshop on Human Rights for Peace and Progress, sponsored by Commission on Human Rights and UN Center for Human Rights, August 1989
- Discussant, Round Table Discussions on the Reverted Baselands, May 10, 1990
- Discussant, Round Table Discussions on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, sponsored by U.P. Law Center
- Seminar: The Child in the Justice System, UP WILOCI and UNICEF, March 20, 1992
- Discussant, Round Table Discussions on RP-US Relations: Towards a New Relationship, DFA, July 28, 1992
- Discussant, Round Table Discussions “Perspectives on Policy Towards China”, DFA, September 16-17, 1992
- Symposium on the Spratly Islands Dispute, sponsored by the Philippine Society of International Law, Center for Research and Communication, November 26, 1992
- Discussant, Round Table Discussion on Off-Shore Marine Living Resources, UP Law Center, June 30, 1993
- Participant, Seminar on the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure for Justices of the Court of Appeals and Sandiganbayan and Judges of the Court of Tax Appeals, sponsored by the Supreme Court, Philippine Judicial Academy and UP Institute of Judicial Administration, November 17, 1997
- Participant, Seminar on the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure at the Sandiganbayan, 2000
- Guest Speaker, Seminar Workshops on the Katarungang Pambarangay for Lupon Tagapamayapa Members in Paranaque City, in Laguna, Manila, Olongapo , and other places in the Philippines
- Speaker, “Preserving the Independence and Integrity of the Sandiganbayan”, Fifth Anniversary Celebration of Bantay Katarungan, February 11, 2005
- Guest of Honor and Speaker, 9th Anniversary, Organized Response for the Advancement of Society, Inc. (ORAS), November 12, 2005
- Participant, with Certificate of Appreciation from the Honorable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines for her valuable insights, comments and recommendations in the Presentation and Discussion of the Asian Development Bank Technical Assistance 3693 in support of the Action Program For Judicial Reform, Manila Diamond Hotel, August 8-9, 2003
- Participant, Orientation on the Judicial Reform Support Project, Sandiganbayan Auditorium, November 7, 2003
- Participant, Meeting on the Proposed Judicial Reform Technical Assistance Loan, Supreme Court, March 18, 2004
- Participant, Certificate of Appreciation from the Honorable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines and from the Asian Development Bank Chief Country Officer, for her valuable insights, comments and recommendations in the Strategic Planning Workshop for the Judiciary (Strengthening the Independence and Defining the Accountability of the Judiciary), Holiday Inn Resort Hotel, Clark Field, Pampanga, Ma 3-5, 2004
- Participant, Consultative Meeting on the Judicial Reform Support Project (JRSP) Pan Pacific Hotel, Ermita, Manila, August 20, 2004
- Participant, with Certificate of Appreciation from the Honorable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, for her valuable insights, comments and recommendations in the Multi-Stakeholders’ Forum on the Action Program for Judicial Reform (APJR), The Westin Philippine Plaza, Manila, September 24, 2004
- Participant, Focus Group Discussion on the Court Pillar of the Criminal Justice System conducted by the Supreme Court – Program Management Office, Museum Function Room, Land Bank of the Philippines, Malate, Manila November 11, 2004
- Participant, National Forum: Access to Justice Through Reforms in the Five Pillars of the Criminal Justice System, Dusit Nikko Hotel, Makati City, December 2-3, 2004
- Participant, Sandiganbayan Roundtable Discussion on Docket Congestion conducted by the Supreme Court, in cooperation with the American Bar Association, The Asia Foundation and the Rule of Law Effectiveness Program with the assistance from the United States Agency for International Development, Shangri-La Hotel, Makati City, May 20, 2005 Participant, C. , USA, June 11-20, 2005
- Participant, Basic Computer Training for Sandiganbayan Justices (Module 1: Computer Fundamentals) Sommerset Condominium, Legaspi Village, Makati City, August 30-31, 2005
- Participant, Judge-To-Judge Dialogue on the Role of Judges in the Reform Process, The Westin Philippine Plaza, Manila, September 9, 2005
- Participant, Basic Computer Training for Sandiganbayan Justices (Module 2: Personal Productivity Tools), Oakwood Premiere, Ayala Avenue, Makati City, October 6-7, 2005 Participant, ASEAN Law Association 25th Anniversary Special Commemorative Session, Makati Shangri-La Hotel, Makati City, November 24-27, 2005
- Participant, Strategic Planning Workshop: 2006 APJR Implementation conducted by the Supreme Court of the Philippines, Makati Shangri-La Hotel, Makati City, January 12, 2006
 Consultancies and Negotiations
- Assisted the Secretary of Justice in Cabinet Cluster E-dealing with Political and Security Matters during the term of President Fidel V. Ramos
- Chairman, Third Division Appeals Board, TFIRAA until 1997
- Chairperson, Inter-agency Committee which negotiated the Agreement for the Development of the Philippine Diplomatic Property in Roponggi, Japan
- Consultant, Advisory and Administrative Support Office, RP Panel, Military Bases Agreement Joint Committee, 1987-1990
- Consultant, RP-US Exploratory Talks, May, 1990
- Legal Adviser, GRP Panels in the peace talks with the National Democractic Front and the Moro National Liberation Front until 1997
- Member (ex-officio), Board of Trustees, Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA), December 15, 2004 to present
- Member, Ad Hoc Committee of Legal Experts on Marine Scientific Research in the South China Seas, 1993
- Member, Ad Hoc Subcommittee of Legal Experts of the RP-Malaysia Joint Commission, 1993
- Member, Camp John Hay Inter-Agency Planning Committee
- Member, Inter-agency Committee of Consultants and Coordinators on Katarungang Pambarangay, until 1997
- Member, representing the National Government in the Board of Directors, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), 1992-1997, by Presidential appointment
- Member, RP Bases Withdrawal Committee, 1992
- Member, RP Bases Withdrawal Panel, 1991
- Member, RP Panel, 1988 Base Labor Review
- Member, RP Panel, 1988 Review of the 1947 Military Bases Agreement, as amended
- Member, RP Panel, Philippine-American Cooperation Talks, appointed by the President
- Member, Task Force on International Refugee Assistance and Administration (TFIRAA) until 1997
- Member, Technical Committee of the Cabinet Committee for Ocean and Maritime Affairs until September 1997
- Member, Technical Committee of the Cabinet Committee on the Disposition of Real Properties of the Republic located abroad and in the Philippines, 1993 to September 1997
- Member, Technical Committee on the Implementation of the 1988 Manglapus-Shultz Memorandum of Agreement
- Representative of the Secretary of Justice to the Cabinet Committee on the Law of the Sea
- Technical Consultant, Legislative-Executive Bases Council (LEBC)
- Technical Consultant, National Unification Commission created under E.O. No. 19 (1992) 
 Awards and Distinctions
- Awardee, Certificate of Appreciation for helping promote WLAP activities and for being a Women of Integrity, Women Lawyer’s Association of the Philippines, Inc. (WLAP) 65th Anniversary, Manila, December 20, 2005
- Awardee, five (5) Certificates of Merit for Academic Excellence, given by the President of the University of the Philippines
- Awardee, Plaque of Distinction, UP Women Lawyer’s Circle (UP WILOCI), June 29, 2005, Manila Golf and Country Club, Makati City
- Awardee, Plaque of Recognition, U.P. Law Class 1972 Foundation Inc., August 26, 2005, Manila Golf and Country Club, Makati City
- Awardee, Presidential Medal of Merit for Exceptionally Meritorious and Valuable Service Rendered and Remarkable Accomplishments that have served the interest of peace, unity and progress in Southern Philippines, earning her the gratitude and admiration of the Filipino nation and the people – Given by His Excellency, President Fidel V. Ramos on May 13, 1998
- Entrance Scholar, University of the Philippines First semester, 1964-1965
- College Scholar, University of the Philippines Second semester, 1965-1966
- College Scholar, University of the Philippines Second semester, 1966-1967
- College Scholar, University of the Philippines First semester, 1967-1968
- University Scholar, University of the Philippines Second semester, 1967-1968
- College Scholar, University of the Philippines First semester, 1968-1969
- College Scholar, University of the Philippines Second semester, 1970-1971
- Finalist, 1991 Search for Outstanding Women of Parañaque
- Merit Awardee, Legal Staff, Ministry (now Department) of Justice – 1980 and 1981
- One of the Ten Outstanding Students in Academic and Co-Curricular Activities, University of the Philippines, Manila, 1966-1967
- Outstanding Alumna, St. Paul College, Parañaque, 1997
- Outstanding Alumna, St. Paul College, Parañaque, January 2005
- Outstanding Member, Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in the Social Sciences, University of the Philippines, 1998
- Twice Elected to membership in 1968 and 1972 in the Phi Kappa Phi International Honor Society for scholastic achievement in Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws courses in the University of the Philippines
- Twice Elected to membership in 1968 and 1972 in the Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in the Social Sciences for scholastic achievement in Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws courses in the University of the Philippines
- Vice-Chancellor and consistent Member, Order of the Purple Feather, College of Law Honor Society, University of the Philippines, 1970-1972
- UP Sigma Alpha Sorority;
- Phi Kappa Phi International Honor Society
- Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in the Social Sciences;
- UP College of Law, Portia Sorority and UP Women Lawyers Circle (WILOCI)
- Vice Chancellor and consistent Member, Order of the Purple Feather, UP College of Law Honor Society;
 Other Positions
- Executive Vice-President, Philippine Women Judges Association, 2004-2005
- Member of the Board of Judges, 2005 Chief Justice Awards for Outstanding Service in the Judiciary, Supreme Court of the Philippines, December 9, 2005
- Member of the Board of Judges, 2005 Search for Outstanding Judges, Clerks of Court, and Other Judicial Officers, Supreme Court of the Philippines, December 12, 2005
- Parallel Session Chairperson, International Conference and Showcase on Judicial Reforms, Makati Shangri-La Hotel, Makati City, November 28-30, 2005
- ↑ Teresita de Castro takes oath as new SC justice. Article on GMANews.tv (accessed December 4, 2007).
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Transparency and Accountability Network website. Teresita de Castro’s application to the position of Supreme Court Associate Justice (accessed December 4, 2007).
- ↑ Estrada Plunder Trial Timeline. Article on GMANews.tv (accessed December 5, 2007).
- ↑ Estrada Plunder Trial Timeline. Article on ABS-CBN Interactive (accessed December 5, 2007).
- ↑ Sandigan’s De Castro is newest SC justice. Article by Tetch Torres on Inquirer.net (accessed December 5, 2007).
- ↑ Sandiganbayan: Corrupt government execs face jail terms. Article by Sandy Araneta for the Philippine Star, posted on ABS-CBN Interactive August 18, 2007 (accessed December 5, 2007).
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Official Bio Data of Teresita De Castro, GMA News. GMANews.tv (accessed December 5, 2007).
 See also
 External links
- Philippines: Gov.Ph: About the Philippines – Justice category
- Official Website of the Sandiganbayan
- Official Website of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
- ABS-CBN Interactive
- Transparency and Accountability Network website