Welcome to the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Welcome to the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Welcome to the Supreme Court of the Philippines
READ: Infographics on Bar Bulletin No. 2-2023 Re: Application Requirements for the 2023 Bar Examinations sc.judiciary.gov.ph/files/bar-2023 #WeCanDoIt #HernanDoIt #Bar2023

Incumbent Justices

Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo

Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo is the 27th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He obtained his law degree from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1984. After passing the bar the following year, he joined the Office of the Solicitor General where he was awarded Most Outstanding Solicitor in 1998. He was on Seconded Appointment as Commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government from July 17, 1998 to February 15, 2001. In August 2002, he was promoted to Assistant Solicitor General, and on October 15, 2005, appointed as Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan, later becoming Chairperson of its 7th Division. He was appointed to the Supreme Court as Associate Justice on August 14, 2017 and as Chief Justice on April 5, 2021.

Chief Justice Gesmundo is spearheading the Supreme Court’s reform agenda, the Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022-2027 or SPJI, which seeks to review and assess the organizational structure and operations of the various offices of the judiciary, and to develop and establish an information and communications technology infrastructure for the Philippine Judiciary, for the pursuit of one overarching goal: the delivery of responsive and real-time justice. It is a plan anchored on four guiding principles: Timely and Fair Justice, Transparent and Accountable Justice, Equal and Inclusive Justice, and Technologically Adaptive Management. These prinicples will propel the Judiciary towards achieving three outcomes: Efficiency, Innovation, and Access.

Chief Justice Gesmundo was conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, by the Centro Escolar University School of Law and Jurisprudence on July 8, 2021, the Manuel L. Quezon University on March 26, 2022, the Philippine Christian University on August 31, 2022, and the Lyceum of the Philippines University on October 12, 2023.

On December 1, 2021, he was conferred the honorary rank of Knight Grand Cross of Rizal and on September 11, 2023, he was presented with the 2023 Chief Justice Richard W. Holmes Award of Merit by the American Judges Association, the first non-American recipient of such award.

Chief Justice Gesmundo is the Chairperson of the Committee on Ethics and Ethical Standards, Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court, Committee on Computerization and Library, and Sub-Committee for the Revision of the Rules of Civil Procedure. Until recently, he was the Chairperson of the Oversight Committee for the Implementation of Rule 138-A or the Revised Student Practice Rule.

As an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Gesmundo was designated as Chairperson of the Technical Working Group for the Revision of the Law Student Practice Rule (Rule 138-A) (later converted to the Oversight Committee for the Implementation of the Revised Student Practice Rule), Committee and Technical Working Group for the 2019 Legal Education Summit, Sub-Committee on Libraries and Research, and Halls of Justice Coordinating Committee for the Cities of Manila and San Pablo, Laguna. He also served as Working Chairperson of the Technical Working Group on the Proposed Guidelines for Republic Act No. 11362 (Community Service Act).

He was also Vice-Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee to update and enhance the Supreme Court’s Case Selection and Docket Management System, Ad Hoc Committee for the Review of the Manual on Caseflow Management for Judges, Committee in the Implementation of the Judicial Integrity Board, Committee on Computerization and Library, Special Committee for the Rules on Procedure for Admiralty Cases, Special Committee for the Rules on Inspection (under the Philippine Competition Act), Sub-Committee for the Revision of the 1997 Rules on Civil Procedure, Sub-Committee for the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Oversight, Special Committee on the Rules of Procedure in Election Contests before the First Level Courts, Sub- Committee on the Revision of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, Sub- Committee for the Revision of the Rules of Procedure for Intellectual Property Rights Cases, Special Committee on Virtual Hearings and Electronic Testimony, Subcommittee on Computerization and Technology, Committee on the Revision of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure, Special Committee on Facilitated Naturalization for Refugees and Stateless Individuals, Special Committee on the Proposed Rule on Criminal Confiscation and Forfeiture, and Special Committee on the Proposed Court of Appeals Rule of Procedure Relating to An Unlawful Activity or a Money Laundering Offense Under Republic Act No. (RA) 9160, as amended.

He was also designated as Member of the Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court, Committee on Continuing Legal Education and Bar Matters, Special Committee on Speedy Trial, Subcommittee on the Admission to the Bar, Committee on Internal Rules of the Supreme Court, Committee on Ethics and Ethical Standards, and Technical Working Group of the Committee on the New Supreme Court Complex.

Chief Justice Gesmundo was a former Vice-Chairperson of the Department of Remedial Law of the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) and a member of its Corps of Professors as a Professorial Lecturer in Remedial Law. He was the Examiner in Remedial Law in the 2009 and 2015 Bar examinations. He taught various remedial law subjects at the Ateneo de Manila University, Centro Escolar University School of Law and Jurisprudence, Lyceum of the Philippines, University of Perpetual Help System Dalta in Las Piñas City, University of Sto. Tomas Faculty of Civil Law, and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Pasay.

He was a member of the core committee of the National Conference for the Revision of the Rules of Civil Procedure, a joint project of the Supreme Court, UP Law Center, PHILJA, and Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). He is a member of the Committee on the Updating of the Benchbook for Philippine Trial Courts (Revised and Expanded) and of the Court of Tax Appeals 2004 Committee on Revision of the Rules of the Court of Tax Appeals.

Chief Justice Gesmundo has participated in various international events and study visits abroad. On December 4 to 10, 2019, he attended the 2019 Global Alliance for Justice Education (GAJE) in Bandung, Indonesia under the behest of The Asia Foundation (TAF). On October 29 to November 2, 2019, he participated in the 101st International Refugee Law Course held in Sanremo, Italy under the invitation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representation in the Philippines. On September 15 to 26, 2019, he joined the Justice Sector Coordinating Council’s (JSSC) Study Tour of the Philippine Delegation to Europe, particularly Spain and France, organized by the European Union-Governance in Justice (GOJUST) Programme. On August 15 to 25, 2019, he took part in a learning visit to Canberra, Sydney, and Melbourne, Australia, under the Public Accountability through Court Transformation Project funded by the Australian Government, with the goal to strengthen the anti-corruption expertise of the Supreme Court and the Sandiganbayan through international bench marking. The trip was sponsored by the TAF under its Philippines-Australia Information Exchange program. He also attended the 2019 American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Conference on Clinical Education held on May 4-7, 2019, in San Francisco, California, U.S.A., also sponsored by the TAF.

On October 1-11, 2018, he went on a learning visit to observe the Legal Aid Services of Harvard Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, and Suffolk University School of Law in the U.S.A., sponsored by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), under the U.S. Department of State. The previous year or on May 6-11, 2017, he attended a study tour on speedy disposition of cases, likewise organized by the INL, at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C. and in Virginia, U.S.A.

He also participated in a study visit on Competition Law and Economics held in London, United Kingdom, on February 14-16, 2018. He attended the Regional Colloquium on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property for Judges in Higher Courts on October 17-18, 2017, held in Tokyo, Japan, organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in cooperation with the Japan Patent Office (JPO). He participated in the ASEAN-USPTO Colloquium for the Judiciary on Management of Civil and Criminal IP Appellate Cases, held on September 20-22, 2017, in Bangkok, Thailand, organized by the ASEAN/United States Patent and Trademark Office.

On November 15-16, 2016, he participated in the Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Launch of a Global Judicial Integrity Network in Bangkok, Thailand, conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). On November 24-28, 2014, he attended the program “Corruption: Detection, Prevention and Suppression” held by the Ecole Nationale De La Magistrature (French National School for the Judiciary) in Paris, France. He also joined the Competition Workshop for Judges, held on October 22-24, 2013, at Gyeongju, Korea, organized by the OECD/Korea Policy Centre. He also completed a summer course on European Criminal Justice at the Academy of European Law (ERA) at Trier, Germany, held on June 27-July 1, 2011.

On April 16-20, 2012, he attended the 17th Executive Course on National Security held at the National Defense College of the Philippines. Under the sponsorship of the PHILJA, he participated in the Partnership Forum on Transnational Organized Crime conducted by the UNODC on January 27-29, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand. Also under PHILJA’s sponsorship, he joined the seminar on Improvement of Judicial Fairness and Efficient Judicial Administration organized by the Supreme Court of Korea and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), held on April 14-30, 2008, in Seoul, Korea.

Prior to joining government, Chief Justice Gesmundo worked as Research Analyst from 1977 to 1979 with Business Day Corporation, publisher of the business newspaper Business Day and Top 1000 Corporations of the Philippines wherein a few of his articles were published. In 1979-1980, he worked as Market Research Officer at the Office of the Australian Trade Commissioner, Australian Embassy, Manila, and continued as its Marketing Officer from 1980 to 1985.

Chief Justice Gesmundo is the son of Juan A. Gesmundo, a farmer, and Zenaida B. Gahon, a public school teacher. He is married to Lynn Magpantay-Gesmundo, with whom he has a son, Alastair, and twin daughters, Ashley Nicole and Allison Arden.

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Privacy Notice for the Supreme Court website

Statement of Commitment to Data Privacy and Security

The Supreme Court of the Philippines respects your privacy and your data privacy rights, as well as employs reasonable measures to protect your personal data in accordance with Republic Act No. 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (DPA), its Implementing Rules and Regulations, and the various issuances of the National Privacy Commission (NPC) (collectively, the Data Privacy Regulations).

Brief Service Description and Its General Purpose

Use of the Supreme Court Website

The Supreme Court website serves as the online repository of Supreme Court information, references, and resources accessible to the public. By agreeing to use the Supreme Court website, you agree to the collection, use, disclosure, processing, and storage of your non-personal identification information to enable the Supreme Court to monitor the website’s engagement.

What personal data do we collect?

The Supreme Court website, other than the Email Form (see separate Privacy Notice – Email Form), does not collect personal data or cookies. The following non-personal identification information, however, are collected and stored by WordPress Statistics, a third-party service, to enable the Supreme Court to monitor the website’s performance through its engagement with visitors:

(a) Browser;

(b) Device; and

(c) Internet Protocol address.

The information collected by WordPress Statistics are limited to the foregoing.

For further understanding, please see the brief discussion on WordPress Statistics below.

Why do we collect your non-personal identification information?

The information collected through WordPress Statistics shall be processed to enable the Supreme Court, not only to effectively manage its website, but also to efficiently disseminate information to the public.

How do we process your non-personal identification information?

Where you have provided us with your non-personal identification information, you agree to our collection, use, disclosure, storage, and other processing for the purposes and in the manner set forth in this Privacy Notice.

WordPress Statistics

The Supreme Court website uses a third-party website, WordPress Statistics, to gather anonymous statistical information from site visitors and analyze the web traffic data. Such data is not shared with any other party. WordPress Statistics collects the following:

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  • Internet Protocol address.

For more information, you may visit: https://wp-statistics.com/2018/08/16/wp-statistics-gdpr/

How do we protect your non-personal identification information?

The foregoing information, which are encrypted, shall be captured, stored, and retrieved by the Supreme Court through the third-party server, WordPress Statistics, solely for the specific purposes stated in this Privacy Notice, i.e., for reference in helping the Supreme Court in effectively managing its website. The data shall be processed and stored with utmost security and confidentiality.

Only authorized website administrators of the Supreme Court have access to the collected data stored and reported in WordPress Statistics as installed in the Supreme Court website, which in turn are subject to strict security protocols.

How long will we keep your non-personal identification information?

The collected information shall be stored in the Supreme Court website database. The Public Information Office (PIO) directly administers and maintains the database and the Supreme Court website. Only the PIO website administrators and authorized personnel shall be granted access to the database of the Supreme Court website. Sharing of any information that are contained in the said database with unauthorized persons is strictly prohibited.

The non-personal identification information collected by WordPress Statistics is stored in its database and is accessible to the Supreme Court at any time via statistics reports until WordPress Statistics is uninstalled.

In all cases, the information will be stored in a secure manner to ensure its confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

Upon expiration of the period of retention, the information collected through the Supreme Court website shall be disposed of and discarded in a secure manner that would prevent further processing, unauthorized access, or disclosure of your data.

Changes to our Privacy Notice:

The Privacy Notice may be updated from time to time. If material changes are required, any revisions shall be published on the Supreme Court website under the News and Announcements page for your immediate guidance. Therefore, we encourage you to review this Privacy Notice periodically so that you are up to date on our most current policies and practices.

This Privacy Notice was last updated on February 20, 2024.

How do you contact us?

If you have any privacy concerns or questions about your data privacy rights or our Privacy Notice, please contact us through:

Supreme Court of the Philippines
Padre Faura St., Ermita, Manila
Philippines 1000
+63 3 8552 9566


The Supreme Court Under
the 1987 Constitution

As in the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, the 1987 Constitution provides that “[t]he judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.” (Art. VII, Sec. 1). The exercise of judicial power is shared by the Supreme Court with all lower courts, but it is only the Supreme Court’s decisions that are vested with precedential value or doctrinal authority, as its interpretations of the Constitution and the laws are final and beyond review by any other branch of government.

Unlike the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, however, the 1987 Constitution defines the concept of judicial power. Under paragraph 2 of Section 1, Article VIII, “judicial power” includes not only the “duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable” but also “to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government.” This latter provision dilutes the effectivity of the “political question” doctrine which places specific questions best submitted to the political wisdom of the people beyond the review of the courts.

Building on previous experiences under former Constitutions, the 1987 Constitution provides for specific safeguards to ensure the independence of the Judiciary. These are found in the following provisions:

    • The grant to the Judiciary of fiscal autonomy. “Appropriations for the Judiciary may not be reduced by the legislature below the amount appropriated for the previous year, and, after approval, shall be automatically and regularly released.” (Art. VIII, Sec. 3).
    • The grant to the Chief Justice of authority to augment any item in the general appropriation law for the Judiciary from savings in other items of said appropriation as authorized by law. (Art. VI, Sec. 25[5])
    • The removal from Congress of the power to deprive the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction over cases enumerated in Section 5 of Article VIII.
    • The grant to the Court of the power to appoint all officials and employees of the Judiciary in accordance with the Civil Service Law (Art. VIII, Sec. 5 [6])
    • The removal from the Commission of Appointments of the power to confirm appointments of justices and judges (Art. VIII, Sec. 8)
    • The removal from Congress of the power to reduce the compensation or salaries of the Justices and judges during their continuance in office. (Art. VIII, Sec. 10)
    • The prohibition against the removal of judges through legislative reorganization by providing that “(n)o law shall be passed reorganizing the Judiciary when it undermines the security of tenure of its members. (Art. VIII, Sec. 2)
    • The grant of sole authority to the Supreme Court to order the temporary detail of judges. (Art. VIII, Sec. 5[3])
    • The grant of sole authority to the Supreme Court to promulgate rules of procedure for the courts. (Art. VIII, Sec. 5[5])
    • The prohibition against designating members of the Judiciary to any agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative function. (Art. VIII, Sec. 12)
    • The grant of administrative supervision over the lower courts and its personnel in the Supreme Court. (Art. VIII, Sec. 6)

The Supreme Court under the present Constitution is composed of a Chief Justice and 14 Associate Justices. The members of the Court are appointed by the President from a list, prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council, of at least three nominees for every vacancy. This new process is intended to “de-politicize” the courts of justice, ensure the choice of competent judges, and fill existing vacancies without undue delay.


The Supreme Court Under
the Revolutionary Government

Shortly after assuming office as the seventh President of the Republic of the Philippines after the successful People Power Revolution, then President Corazon C. Aquino declared the existence of a revolutionary government under Proclamation No. 1 dated February 25, 1986. Among the more significant portions of this Proclamation was an instruction for “all appointive officials to submit their courtesy resignations beginning with the members of the Supreme Court.” The call was unprecedented, considering the separation of powers that the previous Constitutions had always ordained, but understandable considering the revolutionary nature of the post-People Power government. Heeding the call, the members of the Judiciary—from the Supreme Court to the Municipal Circuit Courts—placed their offices at the disposal of the President and submitted their resignations. President Corazon C, Aquino proceeded to reorganize the entire Court, appointing all 15 members.

On March 25, 1986, President Corazon Aquino, through Proclamation No. 3, also abolished the 1973 Constitution and put in place a Provisional “Freedom” Constitution. Under Article I, Section 2 of the Freedom Constitution, the provisions of the 1973 Constitution on the judiciary were adopted insofar as they were not inconsistent with Proclamation No. 3.

Article V of Proclamation No. 3 provided for the convening of a Constitutional Commission composed of 50 appointive members to draft a new constitution; this would be implemented by Proclamation No. 9. Under the leadership of retired SC Justice Cecilia Muñoz Palma as its President, the Constitutional Commission of 1986 submitted its output of to the people for ratification.

By a vote of 76.30%, the Filipino people then ratified the Constitution submitted to them in a national plebiscite on February 2, 1987.

President Aquino, other civilian officials, and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, upon the announcement of the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, swore allegiance to the new charter on February 11, 1987 thereby putting an end to the revolutionary government.


The Supreme Court Under
the 1973 Constitution

The declaration of Martial Law through Proclamation No. 1081 by former President Ferdinand E, Marcos in 1972 brought about the transition from the 1935 Constitution to the 1973 Constitution. This transition had implications on the Court’s composition and functions.

This period also brought in many legal issues of transcendental importance and consequence. Among these were the legality of the ratification of a new Constitution, the assumption of the totality of government authority by President Marcos, and the power to review the factual basis for a declaration of Martial Law by the Chief Executive, among others. Also writ large during this period was the relationship between the Court and the Chief Executive who, under Amendment No. 6 to the 1973 Constitution, had assumed legislative powers even while an elected legislative body continued to function.

The 1973 Constitution increased the number of the members of the Supreme Court from 11 to 15, with a Chief Justice and 14 Associate Justices. The Justices of the Court were appointed by the President alone, without the consent, approval, or recommendation of any other body or officials.


The Supreme Court of
the Second Republic

Following liberation from the Japanese occupation at the end of the Second World War and the Philippines’ subsequent independence from the United States, Republic Act No. 296 or the Judiciary Act of 1948 was enacted. This law grouped together the cases over which the Supreme Court could exercise exclusive jurisdiction for review on appeal, certiorari, or writ of error.


The Supreme Court During
the Commonwealth

Following the ratification of the 1935 Philippine Constitution in a plebiscite, the principle of separation of powers was adopted, not by express and specific provision to that effect, but by actual division of powers of the government—executive, legislative, and judicial—in different articles of the 1935 Constitution.

As in the United States, the judicial power was vested by the 1935 Constitution “in one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as may be established by law.” It devolved on the Judiciary to determine whether the acts of the other two departments were in harmony with the fundamental law.

The Court during the Commonwealth was composed of “a Chief Justice and ten Associate Justices, and may sit en banc or in two divisions, unless otherwise provided by law.”


The Establishment of
the Supreme Court of the Philippines

On June 11, 1901, the Second Philippine Commission passed Act No. 136 entitled “An Act Providing for the Organization of Courts in the Philippine Islands” formally establishing the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands and creating Courts of First Instance and Justices of the Peace Courts throughout the land. The judicial organization established by the Act was conceived by the American lawyers in the Philippine Commission, with its basic structures patterned after similar organizations in the United States.

The Supreme Court created under the Act was composed of a Chief Justice and six Judges. Five members of the Court could form a quorum, and the concurrence of at least four members was necessary to pronounce a judgment.

Act No. 136 abolished the Audiencia established under General Order No. 20 and declared that the Supreme Court created by the Act be substituted in its place. This effectively severed any nexus between the present Supreme Court and the Audiencia.

The Anglo-American legal system under which the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands was expected to operate was entirely different from the old Spanish system that Filipinos were familiar with. Adjustments had to be made; hence, the decisions of the Supreme Court during its early years reflected a blend of both the Anglo-American and Spanish systems. The jurisprudence was a gentle transition from the old order to the new.


The Judicial System During
the American Occupation

After Spain’s defeat in the Spanish-American War in the late 1890s, The subsequent occupation by the Americans of the Philippine Islands paved the way for considerable changes in the control, disposition, and governance of the Islands.

The judicial system established during the regime of the military government functioned as an instrument of the executive—not of the judiciary—as an independent and separate branch of government. Secretary of State John Hay, on May 12, 1899, proposed a plan for a colonial government of the Philippine Islands which would give Filipinos the largest measure of self-government. The plan contemplated an independent judiciary manned by judges chosen from qualified locals and Americans.

On May 29, 1899, General Elwell Stephen Otis, Military Governor for the Philippines, issued General Order No. 20, reestablishing the Audiencia Teritorial de Manila which was to apply Spanish laws and jurisprudence recognized by the American military governor as continuing in force.

The Audiencia was composed of a presiding officer and eight members organized into two divisions: the sala de lo civil or the civil branch, and the sala de lo criminal or the criminal branch.

It was General Otis himself who personally selected the first appointees to the Audiencia. Cayetano L. Arellano was appointed President (equivalent to Chief Justice) of the Court, with Manuel Araullo as president of the sala de lo civil and Raymundo Melliza as president of the salo de lo criminal. Gregorio Araneta and Lt. Col. E.H. Crowder were appointed associate justices of the civil branch while Ambrosio Rianzares, Julio Llorente, Major R.W. Young, and Captain W.E. Brikhimer were designated associate justices of the criminal branch. Thus, the reestablished Audiencia became the first agency of the new insular government where Filipinos were appointed side by side with Americans.


The Judicial System Under
the Spanish Regime

During the early Spanish occupation, King Philip II established the Real Audiencia de Manila which was given not only judicial but legislative, executive, advisory, and administrative functions as well. Composed of the incumbent governor general as the presidente (presiding officer), four oidores (equivalent to associate justices), an asesor (legal adviser), an alguacil mayor (chief constable), among other officials, the Real Audiencia de Manila was both a trial and appellate court. It had exclusive original, concurrent original, and exclusive appellate jurisdictions.

Initially, the Audiencia was given a non-judicial role in the colonial administration, to deal with unforeseen problems within the territory that arose from time to time—it was given the power to supervise certain phases of ecclesiastical affairs as well as regulatory functions, such as fixing of prices at which merchants could sell their commodities. Likewise, the Audiencia had executive functions, like the allotment of lands to the settlers of newly established pueblos. However, by 1861, the Audiencia had ceased to perform these executive and administrative functions and had been restricted to the administration of justice.

When the Audiencia Territorial de Cebu was established in 1886, the name of the Real Audiencia de Manila was changed to Audiencia Territorial de Manila.


The Judicial System of the
Pre-Colonization Filipinos

When the Spanish colonizers first arrived in the Philippine archipelago, they found the indigenous Filipinos without any written laws. The laws enforced were mainly derived from customs, usages, and tradition. These laws were believed to be God-given and were orally transmitted from generation to generation.

A remarkable feature of these customs and traditions was that they were found to be very similar to one another notwithstanding that they were observed in widely dispersed islands of the archipelago. There were no judges and lawyers who were trained formally in the law, although there were elders who devoted time to the study of the customs, usages, and traditions of their tribes to qualify them as consultants or advisers on these matters.

The unit of government of the indigenous Filipinos was the barangay, which was a family-based community of 30 to 100 families, occupying a pook (“locality” or “area”) headed by a chieftain called datu who exercised all functions of government—executive, legislative, and judicial—a barangay was not only a political but a social and an economic organization. In the exercise of his judicial authority, the datu acted as a judge (hukom) in settling disputes and deciding cases in his barangay.

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