Former chief justice Andres Narvasa dies

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RETIRED chief justice Andres Narvasa died on Thursday due to infections caused by pneumonia. He was 84.

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According to the Supreme Court Public Information Office, the remains of the former chief justice lie at the Mount Carmel Shrine Parish in Quezon City.

The High Court will hold necrological services for Narvasa on Monday.

Narvasa, the country’s 19th chief justice, was born on November 30, 1928. He took up law at the University of Santo Tomas where he graduated magna cum laude in 1951. He took the bar examinations in the same year and placed second.

He was appointed as associate justice of the Supreme Court by then president Corazon Aquino on April 11, 1986. He served as chief justice from Dec. 8, 1991 until his retirement at the age of 70 on Nov. 30, 1998.

Before his service in the highest court of the land, Narvasa had already established a distinguished career. He was the “gray dean”, the General Counsel of the historic Agrava Fact-Finding Commission, which investigated the death of former senator Benigno Aquino, Jr.

Narvasa was also a towering presence in the academe, especially at the UST, where he served as the dean of its Faculty of Civil Law. He was also a professor and lecturer at the Law Center of the University of the Philippines, the San Beda College of Law and the Manuel L. Quezon University.

He carried over his penchant for academic excellence into the judiciary, where the long-planned Philippine Judicial Academy became a reality under his watch, with its mission to upgrade and improve the education of judges. He was an agent of change, ensuring speedy justice for litigants by instituting reforms in court procedures and constantly evaluating the court machinery to see how it could be improved, with some notable results being the Speedy Trial Act of 1998 and the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. As associate justice, he penned decisions with clarity and substance. As chief justice, he led the High Court by example, displaying integrity and wisdom, and serving as a model for justices and judges to emulate.

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