Senators honor the late Justice Cecilia Munoz-Palma

Published November 23, 2020, 8:00 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Senate on Monday adopted a resolution commemorating the 107th birth anniversary of the late Supreme Court Justice Cecilia Munoz-Palma.

Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma (Facebook)

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, author and sponsor of Senate Resolution No. 577, hailed Munoz-Palma as the first woman to be appointed Associate Justice of the SC, the first woman prosecutor of Quezon City, the first woman Judge of the Court of First Instance, and the second woman Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals.

Drilon said Munoz-Palma, who was born on Nov. 22, 1913, is remembered as a “legal luminary who championed the truth, democracy, human rights and freedom” through her ponencias during the Martial Law period.

Though she was appointed by the late President Ferdinand Marcos to the Supreme Court, Drilon said Munoz-Palma maintained an independent judiciary, penning several landmark dissents to the declaration of Martial Law and abuse of power.

“In 1986, Justice Munoz-Palma was elected as president of the Constitutional Commission which framed a new Constitution anchored on principles of democracy, sovereignty and social justice,” he said.

“The 1987 Constitution embodies the spirit of freedom and democracy by establishing a presidential system of government with three branches – the legislative, the executive and the judiciary – separate and independent of each other to ensure check and balance,” the senator said.

Drilon pointed out the 1987 Constitution safeguards against the return of authoritarian rule and reaffirms the people’s right to life, liberty and property, due process, equal protection of laws, freedom of religion, speech, press and peaceful assembly.

“It is, therefore, fitting that we honor the late Justice Munoz-Palma by the adoption of this resolution in commemoration of her 107 birth anniversary,” Drilon said.

All senators, who were present either physically or virtually, were made co-authors of the resolution.