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Hon. Reynato S. Puno
Chief Justice (retired), Supreme Court of Philippines
Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno was born in Manila on May 17, 1940. In 1962, he graduated from the University of the Philippines with the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Jurisprudence and Bachelor of Laws. On full scholarship granted by the Academy of American Law, he attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, earning a Master of Comparative Laws degree in 1967. In 1968, also on a full scholarship this time from the Walter Perry Johnson Foundation, he studied at the University of California at Berkeley where he earned a Master of Laws degree. He also finished all the academic requirements for the degree of Doctor of Juridical Science from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1969.
Upon his return from his studies abroad, Chief Justice Puno engaged in private law practice. In 1971, he was appointed Solicitor in the Office of the Solicitor General. He served as an Acting City Judge for Quezon City from 1972-1974, after which he was appointed Assistant Solicitor General, occasionally serving as Acting Solicitor General, until 1982. He was appointed Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals in 1980, the youngest at age 40 to become a member of the appeals court. In 1984, he rejoined the Executive Department when he was appointed Deputy Minister of Justice. On several occasions, he was Acting Secretary of Justice and for a time was Acting Chairperson of the Board of Pardons and Parole. In 1986, he returned to the Court of Appeals as an Associate Justice. In 1993, he was promoted to Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. As a member of the High Court, he has had the opportunity to both sit and chair the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and the Senate Electoral Tribunal. On December 7, 2006, he took his oath as 22 nd Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Currently, he is the Chairperson of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, the Committee of Zero Backlog of Cases, and the Malcolm Trust, among others.
Throughout his career, Chief Justice Puno has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors. As a postgraduate student in the United States, he received several American Jurisprudence Prize awards for excellence in the fields of Comparative Private International Law, US Constitutional Structure, International Organization, Problems of Doing Business Abroad, and Commercial Law. As a jurist, he has received honorary doctorates from Philippine Wesleyan University, the Angeles University Foundation, Bulacan State University, Hannam University of South Korea, the University of the East, and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. Chief Justice Puno has also been conferred honorary citizenship by the State of Texas in the United States.
Chief Justice Puno was married to the late Luzviminda T. Delgado, who had served as Clerk of the Court of the Supreme Court. He has three children, Reynato, Jr., Emmanuel, and Ruth. He is an active member of the Puno United Methodist Church, where he is a lay preacher.