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Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan

“Feelings, nothing more than feelings. Trying to forget my feeling of love.”

These are the lyrics by which many at ALA will remember Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan who, sadly passed away in the Philippines on July 11, 1999. This song “Feelings” was often crooned by this remarkable personality during the many
memorable social evenings which accompanied ALA general body meetings. Those who knew Chief Justice Fernan, as he is still reverently addressed, would agree that this man, despite his great and substantial achievements, was always abound with a humane feeling towards his fellowmen in all his undertakings. It is this sensitivity that attracted many to him and be guided by his leadership.
As President of ALA during 1989 to 1992, Chief Justice Fernan travelled the region and fostered relationships not only between member nations but also ordinary members of each chapter.

Chief justice Fernan graduated from among the top ten of his class from the College of Law of the University of the Philippines in 1952. He obtained his Master of Laws from Harvard University in 1953. He taught law and was a law practitioner in Cebu before he entered the government service as member of the Cebu Planning Board. Later, he became a member of the Cebu Provincial Board, delegate to the Constitutional Convention and Assemblyman (Assistant Minority Leader) in the Batasang Pambansa. He was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and later assumed the post of Chief Justice.

Beside his devotion to ALA, Chief Justice Fernan’s contribution to his own country—the Philippines, is most commendable. In 1995, after retiring from the Judiciary with numerous years of dedication, he was elected to the Philippines Senate and, in subsequent years, became the President of this august body. By this, Chief Justice Fernan became the first person in the history of the Republic of the Philippines to have headed two of the three branches of government: as head of the Judiciary and the Legislature.

For all his accomplishments in the judiciary, he received awards in civic, legal and educational fields. As legislator, he was responsible for the passage of measures
related to the improvement of the judiciary and the dispensation of justice and other
significant measures like Social Security Act of 1997, the Clean Air Act and the Visiting
Forces Agreement.

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