CJSearch PROFILE: Associate Justice Arturo Dizon Brion

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2012 12:01 PM | Updated as of Jul 26 2012 12:14 AM

The 161st Justice of the Supreme Court

MANILA - Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion is the 4th most senior Justice of the high court.

He was born on Dec. 29, 1946 to retired Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Edon B. Brion and Laura S. Dizon. He is 65 years old.

He took up Law at the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) and finished cum laude and Class Valedictorian in 1974. As pre-Law, he took up AB Math at the San Pablo (Laguna) Colleges and BS Chemical Engineering at the University of Sto. Tomas. His secondary years were spent at the Ateneo De San Pablo (Laguna) where he graduated in 1962; he graduated Class Valedictorian from the San Pablo Elementary School in 1958.

Justice Brion was Bar topnotcher in 1975 with a grade of 91.65%.

He was appointed to the Supreme Court by former Pres. Gloria Arroyo on Mar. 18, 2008.

Continuing studies and professional background

Brion started out in the private sector as junior laboratory analyst at Caltex Philippines from 1966 to 1969.

From 1969 to 1973, he served as Clerk of the Court of Agrarian Relation.

He joined the Siguion Reyna Law Office as an associate in 1975. 5 years later, in 1980, he became law firm partner up to 2000. At the same time, he taught in the ADMU Faculty of Law from 1976 to 1981, and in 1986.

In 1982, Brion served as Executive Director of the Institute of Labor and Manpower Studies under the Philippine Ministry of Labor. In 1984, he became the vice-chairman of the Labor and Employment Committee of the Philippine National Assembly's Mambabatas Pambansa.

From 1985 to 1986, he became Deputy Minister of Labor for Legal and Legislative Affairs.

He went back to private practice in 1986 as Senior Partner of the Natividad Delos Reyes Maambong & Brion Law Firm up to 1988, and of Siguion Reyna from 1995 to 2001. He juggled this with his role as Legal Counsel of the Ministry of Labor of Canada between 1990-1995; in 1994, he obtained his Master of Laws degree at the Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in Toronto, Canada focusing on Labor Law. At around the same time, he was consultant for the Civil Service Commission (CSC) on public sector unionism.

Brion served as Undersecretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in 2001, and from 2002 to 2003, as Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs for Special Projects of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

He joined the Judiciary in July 2003 as an Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals (CA).

While holding these government positions, he managed to teach at the University of the Philippines (UP) School of Labor and Industrial Relations (2001-2002), and the Far Eastern University (FEU) Institute of Law from (2005-2006).

Pres. Arroyo appointed him Labor Secretary in 2006 until his appointment to the high court.

Awards, other credentials

During his stint as consultant for the CSC, Brion wrote the paper “Public Sector Unionism – a Proposed Reconfiguration.”

He took time for feature-writing on human resource management, statistics, micro-economics, and labor relations between 1989 and 1990.

From 1991 to 1992, he was editor-in-chief of the Legal Update, a publication of the Legal Services Branch of Ontario, Canada.

He took the Ontario, Canada Bar Examinations in 1991.

In Jan. 2002, he completed the one year prejudicature program of the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA).

Brion was Bar Examiner in Political and International Law in 2004.

In 2008, he reaped 2 awards: the Outstanding San Pableno Award and the Outstanding Manileno Award.

Endorsements for Chief Justice, oppositions

As the 4th most senior magistrate of the Supreme Court, Brion was automatically nominated, along with the 4 other most senior justices, to replace his fraternity brother in the Order of Utopia, former Chief Justice Renato Corona. At the same time, he was nominated by Florentino Feliciano on June 11. Brion submitted to the JBC his formal acceptance of these nominations on June 18.

Notable ponencias

Postponement of ARMM polls and its synchronization with 2013 mid-term polls

Among Justice Brion's most important ponencias is the case consolidated cases of Datu Michael Abas Kida, et. al., Basari Mapupuno, Rep. Edcel Lagman, Almarim Centi Tillah, et al., Atty. Romulo Macalintal, and Jacinto Paras vs. the Senate of the Philippines, House of Representatives, Commission on Elections (Comelec), Exec. Sec. Paquito Ochoa, Budget Sec. Florencio Abad, and National Treasurer Roberto Tan.

The case involves the constitutionality of Republic Act (RA) No. 10153, entitled "An Act Providing for the Synchronization of the Elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with the National and Local Elections."

Promulgated on Oct. 18, 2011, the high court en banc, upheld the constitutionality of the law and ruled that it is within the power of Congress to synchronize elections and to authorize the President to appoint the region's officers-in-charge (OIC) with the postponement of the polls until the 2013 national elections.

In his ponencia, Brion wrote: "We find that Congress, in passing RA No. 10153, acted strictly within its constitutional mandate... On the general claim that RA No. 10153 is unconstitutional, we can only reiterate the established rule that every statute is presumed 'valid.' Congress, thus, has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality of its acts, and the party challenging the validity of the statute has the onerous task of rebutting this presumption. Any reasonable doubt about the validity of the law should be resolved in favor of its constitutionality."

Brion is married to chemist-lawyer Atty. Antonietta C. Articona-Brion, a CA Court Attorney. They have 2 children: Antonella A. Brion and Arturo Brion, Jr.