MANILA, Philippines – Former Supreme Court Associate Justice Flerida Ruth P. Romero – who died on Friday, December 8, at the age of 88 – left a mark in the legal profession, particularly in labor and civil law circles.
Romero was born in Tondo, Manila, on August 1, 1929. She earned her Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines in 1952. She then received a Master of Laws degree in 1955 from the University of Indiana, where her mother and sister also studied.
She became an expert in civil and labor law, and taught law at her alma mater UP. She became the director of the UP Law Center, and helped establish the UP Asian Labor Education Center, which became the School of Labor and Industrial Relations.
Romero played a key role in drafting the Family Code of the Philippines, which is part of the country’s Civil Code.
She also advocated for the rights of women and children. In 1975, she headed the Philippine delegation to the International Women’s Year Conference. In 1995, she took part in a regional consultation on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Prior to her appointment to the SC, Romero was a special assistant to then-president Corazon Aquino. In 1986, Aquino chose Romero as the secretary-general of the Constitutional Commission, which crafted the 1987 Constitution.
In 1988, Aquino designated Romero as her legislative liaison officer to the Senate.
Romero was appointed to the Supreme Court by Corazon Aquino on October 21, 1991, becoming the 5th woman to ascend to the High Tribunal. Her appointment elicited some controversy because she did not have any prior judicial experience.
She was a member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) in 1994 and from 1997 to 1999. She chaired the SET from 1998 to 1999.
She served in the Supreme Court until her mandatory retirement on August 1, 1999.
Post-retirement, Romero was part of the panel – composed of ex-SC justices – that looked into the row over the control of power distribution firm Meralco in 2008. The scandal involved the Government Service Insurance System or GSIS. (READ: Meralco-GSIS case shows improprieties and ethical lapses in Court of Appeals)
In 2010, Romero was named a member of the Truth Commission, created by President Benigno Aquino III to look into supposed anomalies of his predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
But before that year ended, the body was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. – Rappler.com
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