Quezon City inaugurated its six-story new Hall of Justice building, formally dedicating it to the memory of the late first woman justice of the Supreme Court Cecilia Muñoz-Palma, who also served as president of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution.
The new building on January 9 this year was named after Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma in an ordinance approved by Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista.
In his brief opening remarks during the inauguration last Saturday, Bautista reminded prosecutors, public attorneys and other Department of Justice (DOJ) personnel who witnessed the occasion by sharing with them these words from Palma: “We shall be judged by history not by what we want to do and can’t, but by what we ought to do and don’t.”
He formally turned over the new building to the DOJ, represented by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, the guest of honor at the inauguration ceremonies.
The new Hall of Justice, which has a total floor area of 7,210 square meters, will house the prosecution service, offices of parole and probation, public attorneys and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-QC Chapter.
Construction of the building began in February 2012.
“This occasion marked the day our prosecutors will officially have a home. I am hoping that the memory of late Justice Palma will resonate among those will be discharging their duties within this building,” de Lima said.
She thanked the city government for having supported the DOJ and its attached agencies in its objective of ensuring swift and prompt administration of justice.
“I am very thankful that this objective is being shared by the DOJ and the QC government,” de Lima said.
In her speech, she also reminded the prosecutors “that we serve the rule of law and such a sacred duty requires us to do, without fear of favor. We should be constantly reminded that there is only the law and conscience that should serve us our guidepost and integrity as our bedrock.”
The secretary to Bautista, Tadeo Palma, representing the family of the late Justice Palma, expressed his family’s gratitude to the mayor and members of the city council for naming the new building after his mother. He said his mother served as Supreme Court justice during the Marcos martial law regime but she remained dedicated to the fight for justice, particularly for human rights.
Under an agreement, the QC government will allow the DOJ to utilize the assigned land and building for a period of 50 years, subject to renewal from the date of the execution of the agreement.
Also present during the turnover ceremony were city prosecutor Donald Lee; former Tourism secretary Mina Gabor, now chairman of the Justice Cecilia Muñoz Palma Foundation; members of the city council; chiefs of offices and city department heads; and representatives of the judiciary.