The Supreme Court’s vacant seat left by Justice Romeo J. Callejo,
Sr. has finally been filled up. And Court of Appeals Presiding
Justice Ruben T. Reyes, a five-time nominee to the SC, has finally
bagged it this time.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has chosen him among other equally
well-qualified pool of nominees to join the roll of Supreme Court
justices on August 2, 2007. Earlier on, she named Sandiganbayan
Justice Gregory Ong to fill up the slot but this was withdrawn over
questions of his being a natural born Filipino.
Born in Hagonoy, Bulacan, Reyes grew up without a father figure as his
father died when he was barely two years old. Coming from a poor
family, he realized that he had to move up and cross the great divide
from anonymity to fame. He then worked his way through law
school and graduated in 1962 from Manuel Luis Quezon University.
After a 10-year private practice, he joined the government when he
became an Assistant City Fiscal of Manila. He later on became a
Regional Trial Court Judge in Bataan and then, in Manila. In 1994,
Reyes was promoted to the Court of Appeals, eventually becoming its
Presiding Justice in 2005.
Reyes was the editor of the PJA Newsletter and the Bench Bulletin and was
the Chairman-editor of the CA Journal. Active in scholarly pursuits,
he was the President of the Philippine Association of Law Professors
and was a Bar Examiner and a Bar Reviewer, MCLE and PHILJA Lecturer,
a UP Law Center Resource Person, and a Member of the SC Committee on
Legal Education and Bar Matters. He has been a study grantee of
several courses, including those sponsored by the Harvard Law School
and by the Hague Forum.
Awards under his belt include the Top Fiscal Awardee for Best Resolution and
Disposition of Cases, Outstanding RTC Manila Judge, CUP Outstanding
Justice of the CA, Bulacan Dangal ng Lipi, YMCA and ORAS Presidential
awards, and two SC awards on judicial reforms.
After his appointment, the newly-appointed SC Associate Justice quipped, "I
will remain independent. I will uphold the integrity of the court."
Justice Ruben T. Reyes’ term in the High Court will be until January 3,
Until such time the President appoints a regular Presiding Justice, Justice
Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr., being the most senior magistrate, will be
the Court’s Acting Presiding Justice.