by: J. Jose C. Reyes, Jr.
I have always looked forward to our summer session in
Baguio City. The cool weather in Baguio during hot summer days is
really a treat. Away from the bustling traffic, our Baguio cottages
are conducive to work even though it's close by the busy Shoe Mart
My recent trip there from April 16-19, 2007 served
another purpose. Although it was not a happy occasion, I felt
privileged to be a part of the necrological service given last April
17, Tuesday at the Hall of Justice, to a good friend and colleague,
Justice Salvador J. Valdez, Jr. Justice Valdez died last
April 13, 2007 of a lingering lung ailment called emphysema. He was
71 years old. He retired in October 2005.
Associate Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr., being the
representative of the Court of Appeals and of our Presiding Justice
Ruben T. Reyes stood first to honor our colleague. He gave a brief
account of the professional as well as personal successes of Justice
Valdez, including his happy family life. He was followed by another
colleague and his classmate in UP College of Law former Presiding
Justice Romeo A. Brawner, now COMELEC Commissioner, who shared the
parallelism of their career paths. Both Justices were recipients of
Judicial Excellence Award; both were trial court judges before they
were promoted to the Court of Appeals; both were professors of law.
Other colleagues and friends followed, notably retired
Justice Teodoro Regino, the President of the Association of Retired
Court of Appeals Justices of the Philippines, Congressman
Mauricio G. Domogan and City Prosecutor Benedicto R. Carantes. Also
present were employees of the Court of Appeals in Baguio City led by
Roberto Robas. Finally, Atty. Maria Hazel Valdez-Acantilado, the
daughter of Justice Valdez, gave an emotional response confirming the
integrity, honesty and competence of her father. Although an
accomplished lawyer, her daughter said that her father always gave
priority to his family. He even sacrificed a scheduled interview by
the Judicial Bar Council for promotion to the Supreme Court to be
with his grandchild while undergoing an operation.
We salute our colleague and we will pray to God that He
will reward him in heaven for his good works while he lived an
honorable life here on earth.