Senate honors constitutionalist priest and lawyer

The Senate has honored the life of Bicolano lawyer and Jesuit priest Fr. Joaquin Bernas, who passed away on Mar. 6 at the age of 88.


The Senate Resolution 674, which the chamber approved on Monday, Mar. 8, paid tribute to the life of the late constitutionalist who was part of the Constitutional Commission, which drafted the 1987 Constitution.


Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who authored the resolution, remembered Bernas as “humble”, “calm”, and have a “strong sense of morals and ethics,” adding that Bernas was generous in sharing his knowledge to his students, his community, and the entire nation too.


Bernas also served as Dean of Ateneo Law School (ALS) in 1974 and in 2000. In a memorandum released by the ALS Dean Jose Maria Hofileña, it stated that “Bernas has contributed immeasurably to keeping the Ateneo Law School true to its identity and calling. The Ateneo Law School’s debt of gratitude to Fr. Bernas can never truly be fully repaid.”


Likewise, Senator Leila de Lima gave tribute to Bernas through a letter, which she posted on Twitter.


The letter read: “It is with deep sadness that I received the sad news of the passing of legal luminary and fellow Bicolano, Father Joaquin Bernas, SJ,” adding that “He was light during the dark times of our Constitutional crisis and the legal adventurism of our avaricious politicians.”


Bernas “was a lawyer and educator par excellence [and] a man of action for social justice,” de Lima said.


Malacañang also expressed its condolences to the relatives, friends, and colleagues of Bernas who it said “left a legacy of legal excellence and passion for humanity and the rule of law to the nation.”