Cayetano Arellano (b. March 2, 1847– d. December 23, 1920) was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines under the American Civil Government. He was Chief Justice from 1901 until his retirement on April 12, 1920, making him the longest serving Chief Justice.
Born in Orion, Bataan, he obtained a degree in philosophy from the University of Santo Tomas in 1862. During the Spanish regime, he was appointed Magistrado Suplente of the Audiencia Tribunal de Manila. He later become the Chief Justice of the Provisional Supreme Court created by the military government in 1899.
The American Occupation
Cayetano Arellano, together with Pedro Paterno, Benito Legarda, Florentino Torres and Felipe Buencamino, testified before the Schurman Commission that the Philippines was not yet ready for self-rule. They form the Federalista Party to "promote the annexation of the Philippines as a state". In lieu of this objective, they petitioned the U.S. Congress to create representation, as well as a Philippine Congress and a federal Court.
Upon the onset of the American civil government in 1901, William Howard Taft appointed Arellano as the first Supreme Court Chief Justice.
Many historians doubt the legacy of Arellano, for being one of the persons who literally 'placed' the Philippines under American Rule, he was considered a lackey of the American rule in the Philippines. It was shown that he was pro-American from the start.
However, his judicial expertise and know-how was one of the reasons why he was chosen to be the first leader of the Philippine Judiciary. All misgivings about his motives have been erased by the fact that he gave honor to the office of the Supreme Court to a high degree that remains unsurpassed.
Arellano High School in Santa Cruz, Manila was named after him. Arellano gave his name to Arellano University, opened in 1938 as the Arellano Law College. The School comprised of different campuses, including a law school.
- Cruz, Isagani A. (2000). Res Gestae: A Brief History of the Supreme Court. Rex Book Store, Manila