The Supreme Court today launched its Judiciary Memorabilia Hall to honor and keep alive the memories of its past Chief Justices and Associate Justices as well as to feature its incumbent magistrates.
The inauguration was among the activities lined up in celebration of the High Court’s 118th anniversary. Aside from the inauguration of the Judiciary Memorabilia Hall, there was also an interfaith service and thanksgiving mass; an art and food fair; a program for employees which included raffling of prizes as well as singing, drawing, and costume competitions; and a mini-concert by True Faith, one of the well-loved and popular Original Pilipino Music (OPM) bands in the ‘90s.
Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin and retired Chiefs Justice Reynato S. Puno and Teresita J. Leonardo-de Castro led the ceremonial ribbon cutting of the Judiciary Memorabilia Hall. The latter is located at the former Session Hall of the Old Supreme Court Building along Taft Avenue, Manila.
Chief Justice Bersamin said that he decided to convert the Old Session Hall as a Memorabilia Hall after finding it unutilized. “[T]his was where many of the dramatic legal arguments were made by lawyers….This was also the place that I signed the Roll of Attorneys. I also took my oath as a Regional Trial Court [Judge] here before Chief Justice [Claudio] Teehankee,” Chief Justice Bersamin said.
For his part, Chief Justice Puno, who keynoted the inauguration, extolled the Judiciary Memorabilia Hall, calling it “a worthy project” as it features the contributions of Chief Justices and Associate Justices who have served and led the High Court. “I hope that in a minimal way, it alleviates the dearth of in-depth literature on the role played by our Judiciary in promoting the Rule of Law as the foundation stone of our democracy,” said Chief Justice Puno.
The Memorabilia Hall has various sections including a photo gallery of the incumbent justices placed above their seats at the Bench, as well as separate galleries of the photos and retirement books of the past chief justices and associate justices of the SC. There is also a “Featured Magistrate” section, showcasing mementos and personal collections of the subject magistrate, which will be changed every quarter. Chief Justice Puno is the currently featured magistrate.
The winning entries as well as finalists of the paintings during the 1996 Search for Muralist to Portray the History of the Philippine Judiciary are also on display. The Hall also includes a lounge for the Ladies’ Circle, composed of the spouses of the SC Justices, and a gift shop.
Atty. Joyce Jazmin G. Dimaisip-Cunanan, Acting Senior Chief Staff Officer of the SC Library Services, serves as the curator of the Memorabilia Hall, which will be open from Mondays to Fridays, 9 AM to 4 PM, except during holidays. Visting groups can schedule a tour in advance with the SC Public Information Office or the SC Library. Walk-in groups will also be entertained. Admission is free.