Malacañang has conveyed its condolences to the family and loved ones of Jesuit lawyer Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J., one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, who died Saturday morning.
He was 88.
Ateneo Law School Dean Jose Maria Hofileña confirmed the news through a memo, but he did not disclose the cause of Bernas’ death.
In a statement, the Palace hailed Bernas for leaving 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,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.
Bernas was president of the Ateneo de Manila University from 1984 to 1993, and served as dean of the Ateneo Law School twice. Upon his retirement in 2004, he was conferred the position of dean emeritus.
He was also a member of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution, whose interpretation of the law had been cited in numerous legal arguments.
“May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in eternal peace and happiness,” Roque said.
Bernas’ colleagues and students also paid tribute to him on social media, thanking him for his service to the nation.
“We take solace in the knowledge that his was an earthly life filled with meaning and purpose. An earthly life dedicated to service, to standards of excellence, to the greater glory of God,” Ateneo’s Hofileña said.
“He has contributed immeasurably to keeping the Ateneo Law School true to its identity and calling. The Ateneo Law School’s debt of gratitude to Father Bernas can never be truly repaid,” Hofileña added.
Bernas obtained his Law degree at Ateneo in 1962 and ranked 9th in the Bar examination that year.