Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. extolled the late Chief Justice Andres Narvasa who was given full honors at the SC yesterday. During the necrological services for Narvasa, Sereno saw in the late Chief Justice “the humility of a truly great man.” She also said that he was a “truly caring man” who was “genuinely loved” by the employees of the court. Sereno added that Narvasa’s stay in the court was “marked with peace and warm relationships” with the employees.
Sereno said that although 15 years separate her term as Chief Justice from the time Narvasa departed the court, she has a link to him because the late Chief Justice “had a passion for judicial reforms...In every step of progress that the Judiciary makes, he will be there.” For his part, Davide fondly recalled the seven years he had worked with Narvasa in the high court. Throughout those years, Davide said that he had developed “an ideal working relationship” with Chief Justice Narvasa. “I was a personal witness to the greatness of his heart and soul…In all that he did, we witnessed manifestations of God’s abiding presence,” he said. Davide told the children of the late Chief Justice: “Do not grieve; rejoice, for Chief Justice Narvasa is now incorruptible and immortal. He is alive in our hearts.” In response, the Narvasa family, represented by lawyer Gregorio Narvasa II, thanked the high tribunal for the honors it has rendered to the Narvasa patriarch. Lawyer Narvasa shared a side of the late Chief Justice unknown to most that he “is a wonderful singer…with a wonderful baritone voice to calm and relax you.” He revealed that the Chief Justice had once recorded a compact disc of eight song tracks for their mother, his wife Janina Yuseco.
He gave a copy of the CD to Sereno and another “for archive” to Assistant Court Administrator and Public Information Office chief Theodore Te. He shared and played the recording of his father of the late National Artist Levi Celerio’s composition “Saan Ka Man Naroroon,” which a cut from the eight-track CD recorded by Narvasa. “Chief Justice Andres. Narvasa… Daddy… Saan ka man naroroon, mahal na mahal ka namin (Wherever you are, we love you so much),” the young Narvasa said. In an earlier interview, Narvasa said that his father’s cremated remains will be brought to their residence where they will hold vigil until this Friday, when the cremated remains will be interred at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Shrine Parish Church, New Manila, Quezon City. He said that their mother’s remains were also interred at Mt. Carmel. The 19th Chief Justice of the highest court was given full honors at the Supreme Court which coincided with the SC’s flag ceremony. Sereno led the court in welcoming the Narvasa children and the urn containing the cremated remains of the late Chief Justice carried by honor guards. The cremated remains stayed at the SC Session Hall from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. where members of the judiciary and employees, as well as the public, paid their last respects. Around 175 uniformed men from Camp Crame’s Headquarter Support Services, including its Escort and Honor Company, showed up to render honor and support to the late Chief Justice. A portion of Padre Faura street (from the University of the Philippine Manila to the Department of Justice) was closed to traffic in the morning to allow for the formal honors.
Chief Justice Narvasa died at the age of 84 last Oct. 31 due to a lingering illness. His remains were cremated and his ashes placed in an urn placed at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Shrine Parish Church, New Manila, Quezon City, where Holy Mass was celebrated every night. Chief Justice Narvasa is survived by his children Andres Jr., Raymundo, Gregorio II, Socorro, Martin and Regina and their respective spouses and grandchildren. His wife Janina Yuseco has passed away in 2006. Chief Justice Narvasa was appointed to the Supreme Court as its 112th Associate Justice on April 10, 1986 by then President Corazon Aquino. On Dec. 8, 1991, President Aquino appointed him as the 19th Chief Justice. He retired after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70 on Nov. 30 1998.