Justice Dante O. Tinga
Justice Dante O. Tinga was appointed to the Supreme Court on July 4, 2003. At the time, he was the dean of the College of Law of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.
He represented the lone district of Taguig-Pateros in the House of Representatives for three consecutive terms from 1987 to 1998. As a Congressman, he served as House Majority Whip for Luzon from 1992 until 1998 and Speaker’s Deputy in the Committee on Rules from 1995 to 1998. As Committee Chair on Energy (1992-1998) he crafted the Power Reform Bill which served as the model of the current Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). As Chair on Corporations and Franchises (1987 to 1992), he liberalized the telecommunications industry, paving the entry of all the current major players. During his three-year term, he also became vice chairman of the House Committee on Good Government and a ranking member of the House Committees on Natural Resources, Justice, Constitutional Amendments, Appropriations and Ways and Means. He was consistently chosen as an outstanding congressman by various publications and periodicals.
Justice Tinga received his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the East College of Law in 1960. Graduating magna cum laude at the top of his class, he placed 15th in the 1960 Bar Examinations with an 87.7% rating. He obtained his Masters of Laws degree from the University of California at Berkeley, U.S.A. in 1970, graduating with High Honors and among the top five percent. He specialized in Corporation Law, Securities Regulation and Transnational Business Transaction.
He was also active in private law practice, first as a senior attorney at one of the premier law firms at the time, the Araneta, Mendoza & Papa Law Offices, and later as partner at the Santiago, Tinga & Associates and later still at the Pimentel Cuenco Fuentes Tinga Law Firm. He also served as dean of the U.E. College of Law from 1988 to 1992.
Born on May 11, 1939, Justice Tinga is a recipient of several honors including the Most Distinguished Alumnus in Education in 1991, the Most Distinguished Alumnus in the Legal Profession in 1988, and the Most Outstanding Alumnus in 2006, all conferred by the University of the East. He was conferred the degree of Doctor of Public Administration by the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in 1996. Justice Tinga is a widower (married to the late Atty. Ma. Asuncion Rodriguez Tinga) with six children.
Justice Tinga has authored several notable ponencias for the Court. To name some, in the field of political and administrative law, he wrote Disomangcop v. DPWH (444 SCRA 403) on the scope of the local autonomy of the ARMM; Globe v. NTC (435 SCRA 110) concerning the breadth of the regulatory powers of the NTC; City of Manila v. Laguio (455 SCRA 308) on the constitutionality of an ordinance ordaining the forced transformation of a city district, including the banning of motels; Mijares v. Ranada (455 SCRA 397) on the nature and international law implications of civil suits for the enforcement of a foreign judgment; Constantino v. Cuisia (472 SCRA 505) regarding the capacity of the Secretary of Finance to negotiate foreign debt agreements and the interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution on foreign debt; and Gudani v. Senga (498 SCRA 671) concerning the interplay of the commander-in-chief powers and the power of Congress to compel attendance of military officers in legislative investigations. In civil and commercial law, he penned Transfield Philippines v. Luzon Hydro (443 SCRA 307) on the “independence principle” of letters of credit; Philcomsat v. Globe, (429 SCRA 153) on force majeure; Samsung v. FEBTC (436 SCRA 402) on a bank’s liability to a depositor for paying out a forged check; Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Benguet Corporation (463 SCRA 28) on the nature of the Value-Added Tax and zero-rated transactions; and Antonio v. Reyes (484 SCRA 353) on marital psychological incapacity. In criminal law, Justice Tinga authored People v. Tudtud (412 SCRA 142) on warrantless searches and seizures; People v. Bon (506 SCRA 168) on the graduation of penalties following the renewed ban on the death penalty; and Valenzuela v. People (525 SCRA 306), which declared that there is no crime of frustrated theft.