Retired Supreme Court associate justice Jose Perez died on Thursday, August 12, the Supreme Court confirmed.
He was 74.
“The Judiciary mourns the passing of its 167th Associate Justice, Honorable Jose Portugal Perez. He was a court insider who worked his way up the ranks as a Technical Assistant in 1971 until his appointment as Associate Justice on December 26, 2009,” the Supreme Court said.
Supreme Court Spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka said they were not informed of the cause of death.
One of Perez’s most noted ponencias was the decision that declared Senator Grace Poe a natural-born Filipino, which allowed her to run in the 2016 presidential elections.
Perez is fondly called the homegrown justice because he worked at the Supreme Court all his life, starting out as a technical assistant fresh out of the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law, until he retired in December 2016.
Prior to his appointment as associate justice in December 2009, Perez served as a court administrator.
Perez had said that he chose to stay with the Supreme Court despite opportunities to work in top-paying law firms because of his parents, who were both government employees. He also wanted to “give back [and] do something for the country,” according to a 2016 issue of the Supreme Court magazine Benchmark.
“This is my life. This is no different from my personal life. This is part of what I’ve been doing ever since,” Perez told Benchmark.
Associate Justice Marvic Leonen was among those who paid tribute to Perez on social media following news of his death.
“It was an honor to have served with you in Court and to have learned from your wisdom having stayed long with the judiciary in different capacities,” said Leonen. – Rappler.com