Retired Justice Minita V. Chico-Nazario Passes Away

February 18, 2022

The Supreme Court mourns the passing of retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Minita V. Chico-Nazario, the first Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan to be promoted to the High Court. She passed away on Wednesday night, February 16, 2022, at the age of 82.

“The Supreme Court and the entire Judiciary join the loved ones of the late Hon. Justice Minita V. Chico-Nazario in mourning her death. We offer our sincere and deep condolences and prayers. Justice Nazario will always be remembered as one of those who broke barriers in the history of the Philippine Judiciary,” Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo said.

The 155th Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Nazario was also the first female magistrate and, later on, the first female Presiding Justice of the anti-graft court. She had 47 years in government service, five  years  of which were spent as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court from 2004 to 2009.

A native of San Miguel, Bulacan, Justice Nazario finished law school at the University of the Philippines in 1962, graduating at the same year as retired Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, Justices Consuelo Ynares-Santiago, and Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez.

Prior to her work in the Judiciary, Justice Nazario served as social secretary of then Justice Secretary Juan Liwag from 1962 to 1963. She eventually worked as clerk at the City Fiscal’s Office Manila and as Legal Researcher and Special Deputy Clerk of Court of the Court of First Instance Branch III, Pasay City.

Justice Nazario began her work in the Court in May 1973 when she transferred from the Department of Justice to Supreme Court Judicial Reports and Statistics Division. From 1974 to 1977, she worked as judicial assistant, detailed to the Court’s Management and Technical Division, then served as senior judicial assistant to then Chief Justice Fred Ruiz Castro from 1977 to  1979. Subsequently, she was detailed to the Office of then Deputy Court Administrator Leo Medialdea.

In 1981, Justice Nazario joined the Sandiganbayan as First Division Clerk of Court. From 1987 to 1993, she served as Regional Trial Court Judge of Branch 25, Biñan, Laguna.

In 1993, Justice Nazario was appointed to the Sandiganbayan. Ten years after, she became its Presiding Justice. As Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice, Justice Nazario instituted a number of judicial reforms. She signed a health insurance contract to ensure the hospitalization benefits of each employee of the anti-graft court. This was replicated when she got promoted to the Supreme Court, when the Court subsequently inked a contract with a health maintenance organization to service the needs of the Justices, officials, and employees.

Justice Nazario, who was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1988, was criminal law examiner in the 2000 Bar Examinations. After her retirement from the High Court, Justice Nazario served as legal consultant and independent director of private firms. She also served as the Dean of the College of Law of the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA in Las Piñas City. ###