Claudio Teehankee

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The Honourable
Claudio Teehankee
Claudio Teehankee 2014 stamp of the Philippines.jpg
16th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
In office
April 2, 1987 – April 18, 1988
Nominated by Corazon Aquino
Preceded by Ramon Aquino
Succeeded by Pedro Yap
82nd Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
In office
December 17, 1969 – April 1, 1987
Nominated by Ferdinand E. Marcos
Preceded by Eugenio Angeles
Succeeded by Andres Narvasa
Secretary of Justice
In office
August 5, 1967 – December 16, 1969
President Ferdinand E. Marcos
Preceded by Jose Yulo
Succeeded by Juan Ponce Enrile
Personal details
Born Claudio Teehankee
(1918-04-18)April 18, 1918
Manila, Philippine Islands
Died November 27, 1989(1989-11-27) (aged 71)
New York City, New York, United States
Resting place Heroes' Cemetery
Nationality Filipino
Children 9, including Claudio Teehankee Jr.
Alma mater Ateneo de Manila

Claudio Teehankee, CCLH (April 18, 1918 – November 27, 1989) was the 16th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines from 1987 to 1988.

He was also the most senior associate justice and chairman of the First Division of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

Personal life

Teehankee's grave at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Teehankee was born on April 18, 1918 in Manila, Philippines.

His father, José Tee Han Kee, immigrated to the Philippines in 1901 from Fujian province in China. He was a close associate and friend of Sun Yat-Sen, and was active in the struggle to liberate China from the Qing dynasty.[1]

Teehankee was married to Pilar D. Javier with whom he had nine children. He received his A.B. summa cum laude in 1938 and LL.B. summa cum laude in 1940 from the Ateneo de Manila. He also garnered first place in the 1940 bar examinations with an average of 94.35 percent.

He became Secretary of Justice under the Marcos administration in 1967 before being appointed as associate justice in 1968.

After his retirement, he was appointed as the Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations, where he died of cancer in Manhattan, New York on November 27, 1989. He is interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Political scientist Julio C. Teehankee is his nephew.


He was known as the court's "activist" justice because of his dissenting opinions in many vital cases affecting the Marcos administration. He was the lone dissenter in many cases, such the High Tribunal's decision upholding the constitutionality of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980. He also dissented in policies which would seem to curtail the basic liberties of people. For a time, Teehankee and Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma would make dissents together. After Muñoz-Palma's retirement, he was joined by Associate Justice Vicente Abad Santos in making dissents.

It was this activism that made Marcos 'by-pass' him twice for the position of Chief Justice (the most senior associate justice is most likely to succeed after the retirement of the Chief Justice) in 1985. It was after the ousting of Marcos that he did get appointed as Chief Justice by the Aquino administration in 1986.

Later years

He died of natural causes in New York City on November 27, 1989. He is buried at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani Heroes' Cemetery in Taguig City, Philippines.

See also


  1. ^ Tan, Antonio S. (1972), The Chinese in the Philippines, 1898–1935: A Study of Their National Awakening, Manila: R.P. Garcia Publishing Co.

Further reading

Cruz, Isagani A. (2000). "Res Gestae: A Brief History of the Supreme Court". Rex Book Store, Manila


  • Supreme Court of the Philippines – Claudio Teehankee biodata
Political offices
Preceded by
Jose Yulo
Secretary of Justice
Succeeded by
Juan Ponce Enrile
Legal offices
Preceded by
Ramon Aquino
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Pedro Yap
Preceded by
Eugenio Angeles
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Andres Narvasa
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