During his stay at the High Court, retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Arturo Buenapenned more than 200 significant decisions, including the landmark ruling of the Court En Banc on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) [G.R. Nos. 138570, 138572, 138587, 138680, 138698, promulgated on October 10, 2000).
Supreme Court Public Information Office/released
Retired SC Justice Buena passes away at 87
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - February 13, 2020 - 6:19pm

MANILA, Philippines — Retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Arturo Buena passed away on Thursday, February 13, the SC Public Information Office said.

Buena, 87, died due to a lingering illness, the SC PIO said in a statement.

He is survived by his second wife, Virgith Balan-Buena, and children Susan, Arturo Jr. Benjamin, and Carlo, and his grandchildren.

His remains lie in state at the Arlington Chapels in Araneta Avenue. The schedule of interment will be announced to the public later.

Buena was appointed to the high court in 1999, and he retired in 2002.

During his stint at the high court, Buena wrote over 200 significant decisions, the SC PIO said. This includes the landmark ruling on the Visiting Forces Agreement  [G.R. Nos. 138570, 138572, 138587, 138680, 138698] promulgated on Oct.10, 2000.

Buena ruled on the petitions filed by five groups of petitioners assailing the military pact between the Philippines and the United States filed in 1999.

In the landmark ruling penned by Buena, the SC held that the president holds the power for ratification, “through which the formal acceptance of the treaty is proclaimed.”

“The negotiation of the VFA and the subsequent ratification of the agreement are exclusive acts which pertain solely to the President, in the lawful exercise of his vast executive and diplomatic powers granted him no less than by the fundamental law itself,” it added.

Nearly 20 years later, the military pact has been ordered terminated by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Buena served the government for 46 years

A native of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, the SC justice obtained his pre-law and law degrees at the University of Santo Tomas.

After passing the1954 Bar Examinations, Buena engaged in private practice. He joined the government in 1956, particularly the Department of Commerce. He later worked as a liaison officer in the Office of the Speaker at the House of Representatives and as legal and technical assistant at the Senate Electoral Tribunal.

According to the profile sent by the PIO, Buena became an assistant to then-Justice Jose Bengzon in the turnover of the supervision of the lower courts to the high court.

Buena also served as acting deputy court administrator, deputy court administrator and acting court administrator.

He also taught law at his alma mater, UST.

In 1986, Buena was appointed to Court of Appeals (CA) as an associate justice where he served for 13 years.

He was designated as a magistrate of the high court on Jan. 5, 1999 until his retirement on March 25, 2002.

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