Farewell to the First Woman Supreme Court Justice and President of the 1986 Philippine Constitutional Commission, Justice Cecilia MuA[+ or -]Oz Palma
BORN on November 22, 1913, the late Supreme Court Justice Cecilia MuA[+ or -]oz Palma achieved much in her lifetime. After obtaining a law degree from the University of the Philippines (UP), she topped the Bar examinations in 1937 with a rating of 92.6 percent. She went on to obtain two master of laws degrees. She was subsequently conferred nine honorary doctorates, seven of them in law, by universities here and abroad.
Justice Palma was the first woman Prosecutor (in Quezon City in 1947) and the first woman District Judge (in 1954), serving in Dumaguete City and Negros Oriental, and later Laguna and San Pablo City. Her stint as judge took her away from her family, and it was her commitment to her work, her willingness to accept hardship and sacrifice, and her ability to still be a responsible mother that proved that women could indeed do the job. She was appointed as Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals and, later in 1973, as the first woman Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
Justice Palma received many awards and commendations for her integrity, professionalism, and dedication to the strengthening of Philippine democracy. These included the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross from Pope Paul VI in 1977, the Catholic Mass Media Award (CMMA) for outstanding public service in 1978, the Ninoy Aquino Movement Award given in Chicago, Illinois, in 1985; the Sagisag ng Kagitingan Award in 1978; and the Most Distinguished Alumna Award from the UP Alumni Association in 1974. …