CJSearch PROFILE: Associate Justice Roberto Afan Abad

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2012 12:06 PM | Updated as of Jul 25 2012 08:02 PM

The 165th Justice of the Supreme Court

MANILA - Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Roberto A. Abad was born on May 22, 1944; he is now 68 years old.

He finished his law degree at the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) in 1968 where he was a Dean's lister. Prior to taking up Law, he took up his college degree at the Manuel L. Quezon University (MLQU); he graduated from an AB course in 1960. He finished elementary at the Gregoria De Jesus Elementary School in 1956.

Justice Abad took the Bar Examinations in 1969 with a grade of 81.70%.

He was appointed to the high tribunal on Aug. 7, 2009 by then Pres. Gloria Arroyo.

Professional background

He engaged in private practice from 1968 to 1969 where he was associate lawyer at the Jose W. Diokno Law Office.

He joined the government in 1969 as technical assistant in the office of then Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion; his stint there was until 1973.

From 1974 to 1975, he served another Chief Justice, Querube Makalintal, as associate attorney.

Abad moved to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in 1975 where he served as Solicitor I up to 1977. He was promoted to Solicitor II in 1978. On the same year, he was promoted to Solicitor III up to 1980.

At the same time, he was instructor and asst. professor in Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Election Law, Law on Public Corporations, and International Law, and Bar Reviewer in Political Law, at the University of Santo Tomas (UST).

Abad was again promoted in the OSG in 1980 as Solicitor IV, and again, 2 years after, in 1982 as Solicitor V up to 1985. Thereafter, he became Asst. Solicitor General, a post he served for a year.

He was senior partner of the Abad Law Firm from 1986 to 2009. From 1988 to 1990, he was a legal consultant for the Presidential Committee on the Nuclear Power Plant under late Sec. of Justice Sedfrey Ordonez.

He also served as Dean of the Faculty of Civil Law at the UST.

Awards, other credentials

Justice Abad authored several books, namely: Practical Book in Legal Writing, Special Student Edition (2002); Fundamentals of Legal Writing, Bookman, 1st Edition (2004) and 2nd Edition (2007) -- a prescribed textbook in many Law schools.

He served as chairman of various SC committees including the Committee on Revision on the Rules of Civil Procedure, Committee to Address Case Congestion and Delays, Committee on Jail Decongestion, Committee on Internal Rules, and the 2011 Bar Examinations Committee which pioneered the multiple-type questions.

Abad is the proponent for the proposed 2008 Rules of Procedure for METCs, MTCs, MTCCs, and MCTCs.

He has conducted various seminars and workshops including Legal Writing and Research in 2007 for the Office of the Ombudsman upon the invitation of the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Rule of Law Effectiveness (ROLE), and CD Technologies Asia, Inc. He also conducted lectures on preparation of judicial memoranda to the research attorneys of the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA).

Abad also went out of his way to pay back to society by rendering free legal aid for the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Angels of Hope Orphanage, Pulong Bunga, Silang, Cavite. The lay and religious catechists for the Archdiocese of Manila have also benefited from his several weekend trainings.

Endorsements for Chief Justice, oppositions

Justice Abad was nominated to the top judicial post by the following:
1. Atty. Nilo Divina, UST Faculty of Civil Law Dean (June 14, 2012)
2. Former Sen. Rene Saguisag (June 18, 2012)
3. Mark Arthur Catabona (June 18, 2012)
4. Dean Perry Pe and the Philippine Association of Law Schools per Resolution (June 19, 2012)
5. Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas per Resolution (June 2, 2012)

The following, meantime, formally opposed his nomination:
1. Juancho Daaco
On June 13, Daaco opposed the nomination of Abad along with that of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco, Jr., Diosdado Peralta, Mariano Del Castillo, and Jose Mendoza, whom he alleged of grave abuse of discretion and authority and with manifest partiality as members of the Second Division. Daaco claimed that the magistrates of the Second Division "ignored the very strict rules governing petitions for certiorari" by allowing the submission of a comment in a pending case despite the lapse of the period allowing such.

2. Florencio Villarin
On June 27, Villarin accused Abad of causing the delay in the resolution of G.R. No. 178713 by requiring the Court of Appeals (CA) and the Cebu City Regional Trial Court Branch 6 to forward the case records to the Second Division.

Notable Ponencias

Vizconde massacre

Justice Abad penned the high court's en banc decision on the celebrated Vizconde massacre case (G.R. No. 176864) which acquitted accused-appellants Hubert Webb, Antonio Lejano, Michael
Gatchalian, Hospicio Fernandez, Miguel Rodriguez, Peter Estrada, and Gerardo Biong.

In the decision dated Dec. 14, 2010, the high court held that accused-appelants' guilt was not proven beyond reasonable doubt. The testimony of prosecution star witness Jessica Alfaro, an NBI "asset," was struck down as incapable of holding together since Webb's documented alibi of being out of the country at the time of the murders of Estrelita, Carmela, and Anne Marie Jennifer

Vizconde on June 30, 1991, impeached Alfaro's claims. Since Alfaro anchored her story on Webb's alleged participation, the high court ruled that the evidence against the others should fail.

In the decision, Abad wrote: "In our criminal justice system, what is important is, not whether the court entertains doubts about the innocence of the accused since an open mind is willing to explore all possibilities, but whether it entertains a reasonable, lingering doubt as to his guilt. For, it would be a serious mistake to send an innocent man to jail where such kind of doubt hangs on to one's inner being, like a piece of meat lodged immovable between teeth."

Justice Abad is married to Victoria Martinez-Abad, a lawyer; he has four children, with the late Lilia Beth B. Abad: Liliarosa, Ma. Leila, Rex Niño, and Blessilda.