Retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Rosmari Declaro Carandang was appointed as Chancellor of the Philippine Judicial Academy on February 22. She took her oath as the fourth, and second female, PHILJA Chancellor before Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo on February 23 at the Supreme Court En Banc Session Hall.
Justice Carandang, who hails from Ilog, Taal, Batangas, mandatorily retired as SC Associate Justice last January 9, after serving the High Court for more than three years.
Justice Carandang graduated valedictorian of both her elementary and high school classes. She is an alumna of the University of the Philippines where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts major in Political Science degree in 1971 and Bachelor of Laws degree in 1975, graduating cum laude and class salutatorian. She placed ninth in the 1975 Bar Examinations with an average of 84.95 percent.
Justice Carandang worked as a technical assistant in the Commission on Audit in 1976, and then went into private practice and worked with various financial institutions.
In December 1993, she was appointed Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 12. In March 2003, she was promoted to the Court of Appeals where she became Chairperson of its Third Division and Rules Committee. Justice Carandang also taught law at the Philippine Christian University and the Manuel L. Quezon University School of Law.
In November 2018, Justice Carandang was appointed as the 181st Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Justice Carandang penned the High Court’s December 7, 2021 landmark decision on the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
Vice Chancellor, Philippine Judicial Academy
Retired Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the Philippines
Justice Mariano C. del Castillo belongs to the Ateneo de Manila University’s Law School Class of 1976. He earned his degree of Bachelor of Arts, Major in Political Science, in 1971 from San Beda College, where he garnered second honors and was awarded a silver medal in his junior year. After embarking on private practice and a brief stint in banking and the corporate world, Justice del Castillo joined the Judiciary in 1989 as Municipal Trial Court Judge of San Mateo, Rizal. He was promoted as a Regional Trial Court Judge of Angeles City in 1992; and, in 1995, he became Regional Trial Court Judge of Quezon City where he was appointed as First Vice-Executive Judge.
Justice del Castillo actively served in the Philippine Judges Association from 1993-2001 as a Director, Vice President for Administration, Senior Vice President, and Executive Vice President. He held various positions and actively participated in religious and civic organizations as well as non-government institutions. Likewise, he engaged in relief operations for the benefit of indigenous groups and programs for the youth. For these, Justice del Castillo received various awards and distinctions which include the Gawad Rizal from the Order of the Knights of Rizal in 1995. Between 1991 and 1995, he was awarded certificates and plaques from Kiwanis Cainta and Kiwanis Angeles, including the “Presidential Merit Award for Outstanding Active Member” and the “District Excellence Award for Outstanding Club President” in 1992 by the Rotary Club of Angeles, and by the Rotary Club of Cubao. In 1994, he was given recognition by the Philippine National Police Angeles Metropolitan District Command through certificates of appreciation and awards for his judicial excellence, support, and contribution to the attainment of its mission. In 2001, he served as Governor of Legal for the Bel-Air Village Association.
He has been involved in the academe first as a lecturer in Legal Ethics at the Centro Escolar University from 1977-1979, then, as professor of Practice Court 1 & 2 at the Ateneo de Manila School of Law from 2002-2006, and as a lecturer in Legal Ethics & Practical Exercises in a number of Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (“MCLE”) Programs conducted by various legal training institutes when he was a Justice of the Court of Appeals. Subsequently, he became a pre bar reviewer in Legal Ethics. In 2007, he also became a member of the PHILJA Corps of Professors in Legal Ethics.
In August of 2001, Justice Del Castillo was appointed to the Court of Appeals where he eventually became the Chairperson of its 11th Division. In 2005, he was conferred the “Justice George A. Malcolm Award” by the Rotary Club of Manila as “Best Performing Court of Appeals Justice.” In 2006, he was recognized by the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals for his outstanding performance and his zero backlog status in case disposal, an honor he maintained until his appointment to the Supreme Court. He also served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Court of Appeals Journal from 2006 up to his appointment to the Supreme Court.
On July 29, 2009, Justice Del Castillo was appointed as the 164th Justice of the Supreme Court. Upon his appointment, he was designated by then Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno to take charge of the Enhanced Justice on Wheels Program or “EJOW,” which utilizes custom built buses to serve as mobile legal clinics. From 2004 to May 2019, the EJOW Program facilitated the dismissal of 6,220 cases, successfully mediated 13,824 cases, and caused the release of 10,254 inmates who, at a 65 peso daily subsistence allowance for each inmate, translates to 666,510 pesos per day in savings for the government.
In the Supreme Court, Justice del Castillo also served as a Chairperson of the Committee on Human Rights and International Law from 2010-2011. He was a member of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal from December 29, 2016 to December 31, 2018 and was the Chairperson of the 2018 Bar Examinations. From November to December 2018, he served as the Acting Chairperson of the Judicial and Bar Council which screened and conducted public hearings for the nominees to succeed Chief Justice Teresita J. Leonardo de Castro. He was also Chairperson of the Foreign Travel Committee and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Oversight Committee. He was a member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal as well and the working Chairperson of the First Division.
In his decade long tenure as a member of the Supreme Court, Justice del Castillo has conscientiously devoted himself to resolving cases with the same zeal and passion for justice as when he began his career in the Judiciary. From July 2009 to July 2019, his office disposed of 5,681 cases, as per certification dated May 6, 2019, issued by the Clerk of Court En Banc. Since May 2016, Justice del Castillo has achieved and maintained zero backlog status in his en banc cases; and, as of April 2, 2019, he had disposed of all his en banc cases, with zero pending status. Per certification dated April 16, 2019, issued by the Division Clerk of Court, since December 2017, Justice del Castillo has achieved and maintained zero backlog status in his Division cases, and, as of March 27, 2019, he had no more division cases that would possibly remain undecided beyond the constitutionally prescribed 24-month period for resolving cases until his retirement on July 29, 2019.
His decisions and opinions have contributed to the growth and development of jurisprudence and have enriched the deliberations of the Supreme Court. These include Lagman v. Medialdea, where the Court, for the first time, laid down the parameters of and the burden of quantum of proof in a petition to challenge the sufficiency of the factual basis of the declaration of Martial Law and the suspension of the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, under Section 18, Article 7 of the Constitution; Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Aichi Forging Company of Asia Inc., where the Court, to help guide the bench and the bar, delineated the prescriptive periods and the proper manner of counting thereof, as well as the order of and period for the filing of judicial and administrative claims for refund of input VAT in zero rated sales; Manila Memorial Park Inc. v. Secretary of DSWD, where the Court broke new grounds in police power and eminent domain analysis in upholding the pricing regulatory scheme under the Senior Citizens Discount Law; and Imbong v. Ochoa, where the Court, in defense of the life of the unborn, adopted Justice del Castillo’s view in his concurring and dissenting opinion, that contraceptives with secondary action or fail safe mechanisms as sanctioned by the Implementing Rules of the Reproductive Health Law violated the sui generis constitutional right to life of the unborn.
In November 2020, the Chief Justice summoned him from his retirement from the Court on July 29, 2019 and encouraged him to apply for the position of Vice-Chancellor of PHILJA. The Supreme Court en banc appointed him to said position on November 6, 2020 upon the recommendation of the PHILJA Board of Trustees.
PHILJA Executive Secretary
Born on January 18, 1950 in Quezon City, Justice Ma. Luisa Cruz Quijano-Padilla is the fourth of the six children of Hector Morelos Quijano and Concepcion Victoria Cruz of San Ildefonso, Bulacan. She spent her elementary school years at the Holy Trinity Academy and graduated as Valedictorian in 1962. In high school, she studied at the Far Eastern University Girls High School and graduated as Salutatorian of Class 1966. She also went to college in the same university and took up AB English and graduated magna cum laude in 1970. In the same year, she began her studies at the Ateneo de Manila College of Law where she was a Dean's Lister until she graduated in 1974.
As a new lawyer, she was first engaged as Legal Officer III of the Bureau of Employment Services of the Department of Labor and Employment from 1975 to 1979. She was then hired as Chief of the Legal Division of the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority for a short stint until her appointment as Metropolitan Trial Court Judge of Branch 60 with then Municipality of Mandaluyong. After serving for 16 years as presiding judge of the said court, she was promoted to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City in August 1999 as Presiding Judge of Branch 215.
She was an active member of various associations in the Judiciary, namely: the Philippine Women Judges Association, International Women Judges Association, Philippine Judges Association and the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judges Association. She served as treasurer of the QC-RTC Judges Association from 2007 to 2009, first Vice President for a year and President for two consecutive years in 2010 and 2011.
In August 2011, Justice Padilla was appointed Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. On May 17, 2012, she was appointed as Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals by President Benigno Aquino III.
On June 4, 2021, Justice Padilla took her oath of office as the PHILJA Executive Secretary before Supreme Court Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe.
She is married to Atty. Victor Israel Padilla and they were blessed with six children. She is now a doting grandmother to her eleven grandchildren.
PHILJA Chief of Office
Academic Affairs Office
Dean Emerito I. Enginco is the current PHILJA Chief of Office for Academic Affairs Office (AAO). Prior to his appointment as the AAO Chief, Dean Enginco is the Founding Dean of the De La Salle Lipa College of Law, a position he held since May 2010 until October 2022. He likewise taught law subjects in the same law school such as Persons and Family Relations, Public International Law as well as Legal and Judicial Ethics Review. Dean Enginco also taught law subjects such as Obligations and Contracts, Partnerships and Corporation Law, Fundamentals of Public Administration and Basic Taxation Law in various colleges from 1989 to 2010.
Dean Enginco is not new to government service having previously served as Branch Clerk of Court in the Regional Trial Court of Batangas City from 1997 to 1999, then as a Special Prosecutor and, eventually, as First Assistant City Prosecutor in Tanauan City from 1999 to 2007.
He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree major in Political Science with minor in Philosophy from Saint Louis University in Baguio City and his Bachelor of Laws degree from San Sebastian College Institute of Law in Manila (now San Sebastian College-Recoletos College of Law). He also holds a Master of Laws degree with Specialization in International Organizations from the American University Washington College of Law in Washington DC, USA as a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow in a Fulbright Program and likewise earned units in Master of Public Administration from the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG). Dean Enginco also participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program on the US Judicial System.
PHILJA Chief of Office, Research, Publications and Linkages Office
Professor Sedfrey M. Candelaria heads the Research, Publications and Linkages Office of the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA), chairs its Department of Special Areas of Concern, and belongs to the PHILJA Corps of Professors.
Professor Candelaria was appointed Dean of the Ateneo Law School in February 2012, where he teaches Constitutional Law, Public International Law, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Children’s Rights, and International Economic Law. He also teaches at the Political Science Department, European Studies Program and University for Peace-Consortium of the Ateneo de Manila University.
He is the current president of the Philippine Association of Law Schools and a member of the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board of the Philippines. He also sits as a member of the Subcommittee on Admission to the Bar, and the Subcommittee on Maintenance of Membership in the Philippine Bar, both of the Supreme Court’s Committee on Continuing Legal Education and Bar Matters.
A Fellow of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute (CJEI) in Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada, Dean Candelaria has also authored several articles on constitutional law, law and economic development, judicial education, peace process, human rights, and international law. He has edited and conducted researches for UNICEF, ILO, UNHCR, UNDP and APEC Study Center.
He obtained his Master of Laws degree at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, and his Bachelor of Laws degree at the Ateneo Law School. He has also been conferred the Diplomate in Juridical Science by the San Beda Graduate School of Law.
Dean Candelaria was actively involved in some celebrated test case litigation before the Supreme Court notably the Asia-Pacific Conference on East Timor, Davide Impeachment, IPRA and the GRP-MILF MOA-AD.He was also engaged as Peace Panel Member in the past peace negotiations with the CPP/NPA/NDF and MILF under the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.
During the 2010 Bar Examinations, Dean Candelaria was an examiner in Political and Public International Law.
PHILJA Chief of Office for Administration
Atty. Elmer DG. Eleria is currently the PHILJA Chief of Office for Administration. At one time, he was designated as the Acting Head of the Academic Affairs Office and the Concurrent Head of the Administrative Office.
Atty. Eleria obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Bachelor of Laws from Saint Louis University in Baguio City. He likewise took up a certificate course on Learning Design and Evaluation in the Research and Development of the Ateneo De Manila University Center for Organization.
Prior to his employment in PHILJA, Atty. Eleria was an Associate Lawyer in Anarna Law Office and a Human Resource Manager in Estrada (CB Balingit) Group of Companies.
In 2008, he started his career in PHILJA as Attorney III in the Office of the Vice Chancellor until his appointment in 2009 as the SC Chief Judicial Staff Officer in the Administrative Office.
Given the recognition as the 2014 PHILJA Employee of the Year, he has been involved in PHILJA Committees such as the Supreme Court Data Reconciliation Committee, PHILJA Management Committee, PHILJA Training Center Executive Committee and Benchbook Revision Committee. He was likewise assigned to represent PHILJA in various committees in the Court
He attended the World Judiciary Transformation Framework and Metrics held on August 18-19, 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand, as nominated by the PHILJA Chancellor, Justice Adolfo S. Azcuna. In 2017, he was one of the PHILJA delegates who participated in the International Exchange Program at the Federal Judicial Center, Washington D.C. USA and the National Center for State Courts, Virginia, USA.
He is a Guest Professorial Lecturer of the De La Salle University Dasmariñas where he teaches Business Laws for Accountancy students, specifically, Obligation and Contracts, Law on Business Organizations, Negotiable Instruments Law, Law on Sales, Agency and Credit Transactions.
He is married to a law school classmate, Atty. Corazon F. Arafol-Eleria who is now working as a Supreme Court Attorney. They have a wonderful boy, Ezekiel.
PHILJA Chief of Office
for Training Center (General Manager)
PHILJA Training Center Office
Mr. Romulo M. Abancio, Jr., is the PHILJA Chief of Office (General Manager) for Training Center (PTC), PHILJA’s state of the art facility for its training programs and activities. Prior to his appointment on November 18, 2020, he was the SC Chief Judicial Staff Officer (SC CJSO) of the Corporate Planning Division (CPD), Administrative Office.
A Six Sigma Green Belt Certified and Career Executive Service Officer (CESO), Mr. Abancio earned his Bachelor of Science in Biological Science degree at the West Visayas State University in Iloilo City and his Master of Arts in Governmental Management degree at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM). He also took units in Doctor in Public Management at PLM, units in law at the Arellano University School of Law and units in Hotel and Restaurant Management at the City College of Tagaytay.
A career employee, Mr. Abancio started working in the government as Clerk IV in the then Judicial Reforms Committee now Philippine Mediation Center Office, and later as Executive Assistant IV under Chancellor Justice Ameurfina A. Melencio Herrera. He was appointed on April 1, 2004, as the first PMC Unit Supervisor in Bacolod City, where he received a commendation for proposing and preparing the Guidelines for the Establishment of PMC Units and the criteria for the selection of sites. On October 1, 2004, he returned to the Office of the Chancellor as Executive Assistant V, until his promotion as SC CJSO of the CPD on March 26, 2008.
In August 2011, prior to the commencement of PTC operations, Mr. Abancio completed his training in hotel operations for housekeeping, security, sales and marketing, engineering, and purchasing at the Linden Suites.
He received the 2015 Philippine Judicial Academy Chancellor’s Award, the 2010 Communications Excellence Award, and the 2019 Commitment to Service Award under the Supreme Court’s Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence (SC-PRAISE). He was also a finalist of the SC-PRAISE for Innovation (2010) and Leadership (2019) Awards.
He is happily married to Ms. Joyce Parra Abancio, currently working as Officer-in-Charge of the Cash Division, PHILJA Finance Office. They are blessed with one daughter, Santhia Gabrielle P. Abancio.