A museum to preserve the legacy of the late Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Cecilia Muñoz Palma has been opened in Quezon City.
Palma, who topped the bar examinations in 1937 with a score of 92.6 percent, was also the first female prosecutor in the country. She became a judge as well as a Court of Appeals magistrate before she was appointed to the SC, where she served as Associate Justice from 1973 to 1978.
“During those times when I heard Justice Celing speak, I was always awed by her keen grasp of issues and her eloquence. Until now, her brand of leadership and service continues to inspire me to do more,” Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said in a speech during the museum’s opening on Saturday where she was the guest of honor.
Morales, who was also a Supreme Court justice before she was appointed Ombudsman in 2011, said that Palma’s “unflinching moral courage remains to be a source of strength and fortitude for us in the Office to do what we ought to do and her wisdom, constant beacon and reminder that he who enforces accountability must himself be ready to assume accountability.”
“On behalf of the women and men of the Office of the Ombudsman, and of a grateful nation, I salute Justice Celing Palma for her inspiring example and commend the Justice Cecilia Muñoz Palma Foundation for ensuring that through this museum, the Filipino people will never forget the dark days of our history albeit others would like us to move on, and should always keep the beacon burning especially at these trying times,” she added.
Palma’s “courageous stance for constitutional supremacy led her to consistently give strong dissents in the so-called martial law cases,” Morales said in her speech.
In 1986, Palma led the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution.
Her granddaughter, Executive Director Emily Palma of the Justice Palma Foundation, told The Manila Times in an interview that they opened the museum “because we want to preserve the legacy of Justice Palma.”
“It is better that they (Filipinos) deeply know who she was by all these memorabilia…the artifacts, so they would better understand what she went through and what are the important values and principles she held dearly.”
The museum, located at the Justice Cecilia Muñoz Palma hall inside the Quezon City Government Complex, will be open on Mondays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.