Through the initiative of the School of Law, Tarlac State University conferred the degree Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, to Supreme Court Chief Justice Hon. Diosdado M. Peralta on February 19, 2021 at the Bulwagang Kanlahi in Tarlac City.
Hon. Peralta, the 26th Chief Justice, was conferred with this degree to honor his contributions to the justice system such as the declogging of court dockets, adoption of reforms that simplifies court procedures, and the promotion of a more disciplined and responsive judiciary. He is also noted for his speedy and scholarly disposition in criminal cases.
During the conferment ceremony, Hon. Peralta was assisted by his wife, Court of Appeals Justice Fernanda Lampas Peralta during the wearing of academic gown, along with Commission on Higher Education Commissioner Dr. Ronald Adamat and Legal Education Board Chairperson Justice Zenaida N. Elepaño.
According to SOL Dean Atty. Jose Dela Rama who read the petition to the LEB and citation during the ceremony, the courts remained open and accessible during the pandemic through the leadership of Hon. Peralta.
He added that the Chief Justice spearheaded the implementation of the 2019 guidelines on the use of videoconferencing technology for remote court appearance for testimonies of persons deprived of liberty in jails which was pilot tested in Davao City. This action enabled the judiciary to continuously enforce the justice system in the country despite the pandemic.
In a magazine of the Supreme Court, Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez shared that the Chief Justice caused the distribution of Philippine Judiciary 365 accounts to the courts to enable the conduct of videoconferencing hearings after a month and half of lockdown and with the concurrence of all the members of the Court.
“The fact that I am here, being acknowledged for my judicial career and service to the public from the time I was a public prosecutor in Laoag, Ilocos Norte up to now, the final weeks of my term as 26th Chief Justice of the Republic of Philippines, is, for me, a recognition not of my achievements, but of my passion and dedication to my work,” Hon. Peralta said in his acceptance speech.
Upon his appointment as chief justice, he immediately presented his Ten-Point Program composed of judicial reforms in the core areas of efficiency, integrity, security, and service.
His Ten-Point Program focuses on the elimination of backlog in the Supreme Court and other courts; automation of court proceedings and applying technology in hearings and court trials; 24/7 help desk in the Office of the Chief Justice; and strengthening and improving the security of justices, judges, halls of justice and others.
Also, Hon. Peralta further reaffirmed the judiciary’s commitment to innovate reforms to guarantee that justice will continue to be served faster and without delay.
The 69-year-old Chief Justice is set to retire in March this year – a year earlier than the mandatory retirement – saying that he will retire without regrets. He also plans to return to the academe to teach remedial law, criminal procedure, special rules, and civil procedures.
“I will retire without regrets knowing that I did all that I could for the law, for the courts, and for the nation. I look forward to the world outside the Supreme Court with the thought that, at my age, life is still full of possibilities,” Hon. Peralta said.
The hardworking Ilocano Chief Justice followed the footsteps of his father, Elviro Lazo Peralta, who was a judge in Davao, and his uncle, Rufino, a judge in based in Manila.
Hon. Peralta is a law graduate of the University of Santo Tomas. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in economics at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in 1974.
He was appointed as chief justice in October 2019. [Maria Adelaida D. Calayag]
Tarlac State University unveiled the marker of President Jack P. Smith on February 16, 2021 (Tuesday), which coincided with his 10th death anniversary, held in front of Smith Hall at the TSU Main Campus.
The building named after Pres. Smith was the former site of the first public high school in the Philippines. Presently, it houses the university’s College of Arts and Social Sciences.
Pres. Smith served as 2nd the president of the Tarlac College of Technology (now TSU) who also founded the Center for Tarlaqueño Studies with Dr. Enrico Tañedo in 1984 which became a repository of the history and studies about Tarlac.
He started his service in the academe as superintendent or dean of the College of Arts from 1968 to 1974 and eventually became the TCT president from April 7, 1976 to 1984.
During the unveiling ceremony, TSU president Dr. Myrna Q. Mallari shared that Pres. Smith was remarkable for being particular with time. Because of this, employees were conditioned to be punctual.
He also made sure that the educators back then maximize the required class hours, and no one would dismiss early. Pres. Smith visits classrooms and starts teaching if the lecturer is late for class.
Furthermore, he memorized the employees’ faces by heart and when one fails to attend the flag raising ceremony, he would ask them to write an explanation why they should not be charged with administrative cases.
Pres. Smith’s exceptional leadership paved the way to the expansion of TCT to a 10-hectare land on August 29, 1973 gifted by Mr. Serafin G. David. The new campus was named by Pres. Smith as Barrio Sampu which is now known as the Lucinda Extension Campus located at Brgy. Binauganan in Tarlac City.
Although he was not a Tarlaqueño by blood, he dedicated himself in loving the culture and history of the province. He was highly active when he prepared for the Tarlac centennial in 1974 according to Dr. Lino L. Dizon, Center for Tarlaqueño Studies Head and National Historical Commission of the Philippines Commissioner.
This Cebuano has written several poems, essays, and scientific papers and documents.
The unveiling ceremony was attended by Pres. Smith’s relatives, Gloria and Samuel Estrada. Meanwhile, his children who are in United States witnessed the ceremony via Facebook Live and imparted their messages and memories about their father through a video.
Pres. Smith was married to Lucena and were gifted with ten children.
“My father would have loved the idea of having a building named after him at Tarlac State University and the university to remember him,” said Claude, seventh child of Pres. Smith.
“it is a symbolic immortalization of my father remembered now and hopefully for [the] generations to come. Tarlac College of Technology was our father’s life, his legacy, pouring out his energy to make this school what it is today on his tenth death anniversary,” said Siveria, the third child.
“We want to believe that our father is with us watching this memorable event, all smiles and super proud for the seed he planted, a tree has grown,” Silveria added.
Pres. Smith spent his productive and fruitful years in TCT until his retirement in 1985. [Maria Adelaida Calayag]