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A native of Lipa City, Justice Jose Catral Mendoza was born on August 13, 1947 to Col. Ibarra S. Mendoza, a retired PAF officer, and Teresa Catral Mendoza, a mother engaged in poultry-raising. He is the eldest of their eight children. Of his seven siblings, two are priests, two are Philippine Air Force generals, one a Philippine Airlines pilot, one a parish assistant, and the only girl, a Philippine International Trading Corporation Vice-President.
A law degree holder from the San Beda College of Law, he is married to the former Livia Rojas, with whom he has a son, Barleon Rojas Mendoza.
After passing the 1971 Bar Examinations, he engaged in private practice and served as a legal officer of the Philippine Banking Corporation, the Manila Electric Co., and the Gokongwei Group of Companies. Before joining the Judiciary as Research Attorney in the Court of Appeals in 1977, he also served as Senior Consular Investigator in the United States Embassy.
After three years, he re-entered the private sector and worked as an Associate of the Alampay Alvero Alampay Law Office before rejoining the Judiciary anew in the Supreme Court in 1985, first in the Office of Justice Nestor B. Alampay and later, in that of Justice Abdulwahid A. Bidin.
In 1989, Justice Mendoza became a member of the Bench when he was appointed Presiding Judge of Branch 26, RTC, Sta. Cruz, Laguna. In 1992, he was named Executive Judge of that station.
After almost five years in the province, in 1994, he was transferred as the Presiding Judge of Branch 219, RTC, Quezon City, which was designated as a special court for heinous crimes. For his fair handling of the sensational cases assigned to him, he was nominated by the IBP, Quezon City, for theJudicial Excellence Award. The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and the Crusade Against Violence (CAV) recognized and commended him on how he was dispensing justice. In 2002, the VACC bestowed on him the Outstanding Judge Award. In 2003, he was appointed as the RTC Quezon City’s Executive Judge.