Malacañang on Saturday mourned the passing of Jesuit lawyer, Fr. Joaquin Bernas S.J., who was among the framers of the 1987 Constitution.
“We express our condolences to the friends and colleagues of Father Joaquin Bernas who died early morning today, March 6, 2021,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
Bernas, 88, died early Saturday, according to a memorandum released by Ateneo Law School Dean Jose Maria Hofileña and posted on his Facebook page.
Hofileña did not disclose the cause of Bernas’ death.
“May his (Bernas) soul, through the mercy of God, rest in eternal peace and happiness,” Roque said.
In a statement, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and the House of Representatives joined the rest of the country in mourning Fr. Bernas, whom the House leader described as “a recognized authority in constitutional law and a legal icon.”
“With his demise, the nation has lost one of its most respected legal luminaries and a sharp mind, who knew the intricacies of constitutional law like none other,” Velasco said.
“As we remember the life of Fr. Bernas, may we reflect on his indelible legacy and remarkable contributions to Philippine law and jurisprudence,” Velasco added.
Senator Francis Pangilinan said: “As among those who partook of his brilliance, I grieve the passing of Fr. Joaquin Bernas. I mourn with the loved ones of this amazing patriot, constitutionalist, and man for others.”
“I was law lecturer for Ateneo’s Department of Management and part of the Ateneo academic community for seven years beginning 1993. By that time, Fr. Bernas had finished his term as ADMU president,” he said.
“But because of him and his fellow post-People Power ConCom delegates, we have a Constitution that is pro-God, pro-Filipino, and pro-poor. We have a Constitution which specifies our duties as public servants, a Constitution by which we take our oath of office, a Constitution which we swear to preserve and defend. We have a Constitution that promises social justice for every Filipino family. His death reminds us of the urgency of delivering on this promise,” Pangilinan added.
Hailing Bernas’ contributions to the country, the spokesman said the Jesuit priest leaves a legacy of “legal excellence and passion for humanity and the rule of law to the nation.”
“A great Jesuit educator, he mentored generations of Filipino students, lawyers, legal academics, and researchers. A noted constitutionalist, Father Bernas was one of the framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution whose interpretation of the law had been cited in numerous legal arguments,” Roque said.
Bernas served as dean emeritus of the Ateneo Law School.
He was also president of the Ateneo de Manila University from 1984 to 1993 and a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
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