By J. Wenceslao I. Agnir Jr. (Ret.)
Is there life after retirement? When a Justice of the Court of Appeals retires, what
lies ahead of him? Does he embark on a new career or does he simply fade into the sunset?
Former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yeow, 84 and still active in the political
affairs of his country, once said: “Complete retirement is the surest route to death; one should not
completely retire but should continue to be physically and mentally active.”
Three years ago, the retired Justices of the Court of Appeals formed an association
and called it ARCAJI (Association of Retired Court of Appeals Justices, Inc.). All retired CA Justices are
automatically members of ARCAJI but only those who pay their annual dues are considered members
in good standing. As of today, there are about 60 members but only half pay their dues. We have not
heard from the rest and are presumed completely retired.
Most of the members in good standing continue to be active, mentally if not
physically. A good number of retired CA Justices are active in the academe. Justice Perlita Tria Tirona
(2005 retiree), a long-time professor of law, continues to teach at her alma mater, MLQ. Justice Larry
Aquino (2002 retiree) whose forte is Remedial Law, teaches at Ateneo and is a regular lecturer in MCLE
(Mandatory Continuing Legal Education) and PHILJA (Philippine Judicial Academy) seminars. Justice
Hector Hofileña, even before he joined the judiciary, was already a member of the law faculty of
Ateneo. After he retired in 1999, he went back to teach in his alma mater and is a much-sought after
lecturer in MCLE and bar review courses. Also in the academe is Justice Eloy Bello, Jr (2004 retiree)
who teaches Criminal Law in San Beda.
Justice Bennie Adefuin-de la Cruz (2004 retiree) teaches in the UST Graduate School
of Law where she earned a Doctor of Civil Law degree years earlier. Justice Jose de la Rama who
retired more than ten years ago is the Dean of the College of Law of Bulacan State University. Another
law Dean is Justice Nicolas Lapeña of New Era University where Justice Eugenio Labitoria (2005
retiree) also teaches law. Justice Jaime Lantin, a former Dean of UST College of Law, continues to
teach in the same school.
Justice Oswaldo Agcaoili (2003 retiree), an authority in Land Registration, is a
regular member of the PHILJA faculty. He also teaches in UST and is Of Counsel of a big Makati law
firm. Also with PHILJA are Justice Delilah V. Magtolis who is Executive Secretary and Head of the
Academic Office, and Justices Jainal Rasul and Omar Amin who lecture before Sharia’h court judges.
Justice Ramon Barcelona (2002 retiree) is now undergoing hemo dialysis three
time a week but has not allowed his sickness to interfere with his life. Aside from his regular job as
a member of the Board of Pardons and Parole, he goes ballroom dancing twice a week.
ARCAJI President Justice Teddy Regino (2003 retiree) is active in politics as
Kingmaker, sometimes as Kingbuster. His colleagues in ARCAJI have so much confidence in him
they would like to make him its lifetime president.
We are sure there are retired Justices that we haven’t heard from who
continue to lead very active lives. If they get in touch, we can feature them in subsequent issues of
this newsletter, with the kind permission of CA Journal Editor, Justice Mar del Castillo.
(Editor’s Note: The author is legal consultant of the Senate and of four
conglomerates, aside from being Of Counsel of a Makati law firm and Dean of the College of Law of
Northwestern University in Laoag City).