Brion Named SC Justice; Takes Oath before Chief Justice Puno Roque of OWWA Appointed Acting DoLE Secretary
Byline: Rey G. Panaligan, Genalyn D. Kabiling
Secretary Arturo D. Brion of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (SC) by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and took his oath before Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno yesterday.
A bar topnotcher and a graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University (AdeMU), Brion took over the post vacated by Justice Angelina Sandoval Gutierrez who retired last Feb. 27.
With Brion filling the lone vacancy at the Supreme Court, the President designated Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Administrator Marianito D. Roque as acting secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment.
Justice Brion is expected to be assigned to the SC's second division to fill up the post vacated by Justice Antonio T. Carpio who moved to the first division to act as its working chairman after the retirement of Justice Gutierrez.
In an interview after the oath-taking, Justice Brion said, "The decision of the President to appoint a Supreme Court justice came fast."
Brion, together with Court of Appeals Associate Justices Martin Villarama Jr. and Portia Alino Hormachuelos, and Sandiganbayan Associate Justices Francisco Villaruz Jr. and Edilberto Sandoval had been nominated for the lone vacancy in the SC by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) last week.
According to Brion, he was surprised when President Arroyo called him up "congratulating me for my new job."
He said he told the President that the SC position is another challenge to him.
"If you will look at my record at the DoLE (Department of Labor and Employment), you will see that I have managed to reduce the number of labor strikes and increased the amount of OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) remittances to R14.4 billion during my two-year term, I intend to do the same (intensity) during my term at the SC," Brion said.
It is a homecoming to the judiciary for Justice Brion who was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2003. Then he was named by the President to head the DoLE in June, 2006.
Justice Brion had earlier served as DoLE undersecretary for labor relations from March, 2001, to July, 2002. During this stint, he headed the labor relations cluster, handled assumption of jurisdiction cases, and prepared labor relations and labor standards decisions for the DoLE secretary. He also represented the Philippines in various international conferences on migration and overseas employment.
Born in Manila on Dec. 29, 1946, Brion topped the 1974 Bar Examinations after graduating cum laude and valedictorian at the Ateneo de Manila University with a Bachelors of Laws degree. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics at the San Pablo College in Laguna.
After graduation, Brion worked from associate attorney to senior partner levels in various offices.
In 1975, Brion practiced law at the Siguion Reyna, Montecillo, and Ongsiako Law Offices, and then joined Philippine Ministry of Labor as executive director of the Institute of Labor and Manpower Studies (ILMS), seven years later.
In 1984, Brion also served as assemblyman in the Batasang Pambansa and later returned to the Ministry of Labor as Deputy Minister for Legal and Legislative Affairs.
In 1986, Brion returned to private law practice with the Natividad, Delos Reyes, Maambong, and Brion Law Offices, but soon departed for Canada to be with his family. In Canada, Brion undertook masteral studies in law at the York University Osgoode Hall while completing his law equivalency program to qualify him for law practice in Ontario.
Brion later worked as Solicitor in the Legal Services Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Labor and at the Ontario Management Board Secretariat. In 1995, Brion returned to Manila and worked at his old law firm and then retired six years later. In 2001, he served as Undersecretary for Labor Relations at the DOLE. …