On this day, March 2

On this day, March 2 | Portrait: from the Presidential Museum and Library

On this day, March 2, in 1847, Cayetano Arellano, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, was born in Udyong (now Orion), Bataan. He set the foundation for the Philippine judiciary.

Born to Don Servando Arellano, a Spaniard, and Crisfora Lonzon of Bataan, Cayetano Arellano was a working student in his early years, finishing primary and secondary education in Colegio de San Juan de Letran, after which he finished Philosophy (1862), Theology (1867) and Laws (1876) at the University of Santo Tomas (UST).

Arellano became an instructor at the UST teaching Civil Law. Soon, he served as a member (“regidor”) of the council of the City of Manila (Intramuros) from 1887 to 1889. He was soon appointed by the colonial government as Magistrado Suplente of the Audiencia Territorial de Manila.

Arellano refused to be part of the Philippine Revolution vs. Spain when it broke out in 1896, not believing in its cause. He was one of the 18 appointed by the Spanish government (9 May 1898) to the Consultative Assembly in an effort to quell the 2nd phase of the revolution.

When U.S. President William McKinley established the Schurman Commission to study the Philippine situation after the U.S. acquired the Philippines under the terms of the Treaty of Paris, Arellano accompanied the group in their tour of the Philippines, reorganizing local government units.

He, together with Florentino Torres, and the “autonomists” of the Malolos Congress like Pedro Paterno and Benito Legarda, testified before the Schurman Commission saying that the Philippines was not ready for self-government. This was amidst the Philippine-American War.

As the U.S. established its grip on the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century, Gen. Elwell Otis, U.S. military gov-gen, requested Arellano’s expertise in establishing a judicial court and consulted him in specific laws on criminal procedures, marriage, and local government administration.

When the American-dominated Philippine Commission created the Supreme Court under the colonial regime in 1901, the U.S. gov-gen William Howard Taft appointed Arellano as its first Chief Justice. Arellano was the longest-serving CJ in Philippine history (1901-1920), serving for 19 yrs. (@indiohistorian)

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