Hilario G. Davide Jr, 2nd Cebuano Chief Justice
CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - December 3, 2015 - 9:00am

The second Cebuano Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was born on December 20, 1935 in Barangay Colawin, Argao, Cebu. He was the son of Hilario Davide Sr., a Schools Division Superintendent and Josefa Gelbolingo, a public school teacher.

Hilario G. Davide Jr. finished elementary at the Argao Elementary School and his high school at the Abellana Vocational School (named in honor of Martyred governor of Cebu, Hilario Abellana, a namesake of the second Chief Justice of the Supreme Court).

Davide went to the University of the Philippines College of Law to earn his Bachelor of Laws. As a student, Hilario Jr. became a member of prestigious academic societies such as the UP International Honor Society of Phi Kapp Pi and Order of Purple Feather Society. He also became part of the university press as member of the editorial board of the Philippine Law Journal.

Chief Justice Davide finished law in 1959 and took the Bar the same year and passed the following year, he was formally admitted to the Philippine Bar on March 3, 1960.

Davide actively practiced law under the tutelage of famous Cebuano lawyer, Francisco "Kikoy" E.M. Remotigue. The law partner and mentor of Davide became the first elected vice governor of Cebu in 1959 and thereafter became governor of Cebu the following year. Gov. Remotigue was ably assisted by Davide as private secretary when the former was vice governor and governor of Cebu.

Davide inspired by the public service life of his mentor was drawn into politics. Davide ran as delegate of the 1971 Constitutional Convention in a special election held on November 10, 1971. The Constitutional Convention was inaugurated with the election of former President Carlos Polistico Garcia as Convention president. Garcia however died three days after and was replaced by former President Diosdado Macapagal.

When President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos declared Martial Law on September 21, 1972 he abolished the House of Representatives and physically padlocked the House of Senate. In replacement to the Congress a national assembly was established by President Marcos.

The national assembly was later called as the Batasang Pambansa, an Interim assembly was convened with representatives elected from each region. Chief Justice Davide became part of the Interim Batasang Pambansa which held sessions from 1978 to 1984. It was replaced by the regular Batasang Pambansa in 1984.

Interestingly the first Cebuano Chief Justice, Marcelo Briones Fernan, was elected assemblyman in 1984 together with Antonio Veloso Cuenco representing Cebu City to form part of what was called the Regular Batasang Pambansa.

Davide was appointed by President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino to be part of the constitutional commission tasked to draft the constitution to replace the 1973 fundamental law of the land. Davide, two years after being part of the constitutional commission, was appointed by President Aquino to head a Presidential Fact Finding Commission created under Administrative Order No. 146 dated December 7, 1989 and Republic Act 6832 enacted on January 12, 1990. The commission was tasked to investigate and study the series of coups of the military headed by Col. Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan (elected as Senator in 1995, reelected in 2013).

Davide, in January 24, 1991, was appointed as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Eight years after, Davide was appointed by then President Joseph Estrada as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on November 30, 1998. When EDSA 2 broke out that ousted Estrada as president, Chief Justice Davide was sworn into office by the successor president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the then vice president.

CJ Davide retired as Chief Justice on his 70th birthday on December 20, 2005. Two years after his retirement, Davide was appointed by President Gloria Arroyo as permanent representative to the United Nations.

Hilario Jr. married Virginia Jimenea Perez and they have five children: Hilario III (who became a lawyer on June 20, 1997, elected as governor of Cebu in 2013), Joseph Bryan, Sheryl Ann, Noreen, and Delster Emmanuel.




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