Fisherman’s son swims way to becoming the next associate justice
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - February 17, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — In one of, if not his first, visits back to Cebu after becoming the second top-ranking magistrate of the land, Visayan-blooded Associate Justice Edgardo delos Santos gave an alternative meaning to destiny – it’s a decision.

“I am a great believer of destiny. I believed that the only person you’re destined to become is the person you decide to be,” he said in a speech during a testimonial dinner thrown for him by the alumni of the University of San Carlos Law School and Governance.

Hailed as a man of great humility by his peers in the legal world, delos Santos is the 186th Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and the first Carolinian occupying such post in the highest court in the country.

Coming from a family of a small fisherman father and a dressmaker mother from Palompon, Leyte, Justice Edsa, as he is fondly called, believes that dreams do come true – and that “makes life interesting”.

“Someday my life will probably one from the sea to SC,” said delos Santos, recalling that as a young boy up to high school, he used to paddle a banca and catch fish in order to help augment the family’s income.

He is the ninth in a brood of 12 children. Being exposed to the life at sea, delos Santos remarked: “So, do not even wonder my exotic complexion.”

During the testimonial dinner, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, one of Delos Santos’ classmates in law school, gamely revealed that the latter used to rub “very smelly” oil with different kinds of plant roots before taking the Bar exam. The advice, he said, came from a quack doctor. The result? Allegedly good penmanship.

“Parehas mi og room pero wa ko nakaantos, I had to go to another room downstairs sa among boarding house kay di gyud matabang. Magsige man ni siya og panghaplas og lana nga baho gyud. Unya ingon siya nako kay mao daw ang gisulti sa albularyo aron monindot iyang agi,” said Labella, drawing laughter from the crowd.

Aside from Labella, fellow Carolinians also said their respective testimonies for the associate justice, who all described him as a man of great humility and wished him to continue to live the virtues and knowledge imparted to him by the university.

Some personalities who graced the event were former Supreme Court Justice Hilario Davide Jr., Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, IBP-Cebu City Chapter Regal Oliva, several justices and judges, some law practitioners and delos Santos’ wife, Maribel, his five children and grandchildren and family friends.

Delos Santos was among the guests of honor during the conferment of doctoral degrees on all Bachelor of Laws graduates of USC. (FREEMAN)

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