Sunday, July 8, 2007

39. HON. JOSE GUTIERREZ DAVID: Supreme Court Justice

HIS HONOR. Supreme Court Justice Jose Gutierrez David, was not just a distinguished name in the country’s judicial system, but also an ardent Kapampangan language and literature advocate. Like his father Mateo, an original signatory of the 1896 Malolos Constitution, he was one of the signers of the 1935 Philippine Constitution. He is shown with daughter, Perla, upon her graduation from medical school. Circa early 1940s.

During summers, when I wanted a free swim, all I had to do was to look for my aunt, Imang Perling, at her popular Del Rosario Compound Swimming Pool at the foot of the Abacan Bridge in Balibago. Usually I would find her in her well-tended garden, and upon being acknowledged, I would just come in ahead of the paying customers. Imang Perling was married to Tatang Dadong del Rosario, the lawyer-brother of my mother. I was often told that Mang Perling had an impeccable lineage, born to a distinguished family of means, and a daughter of a justice of the Supreme Court, but of course, in my youth, that didn’t register much; I was too preoccupied with enjoying the summer perks given by my generous aunt. Not until I read her father’s name in books did I realize her family’s important place in Kapampangan political, literary and cultural history.

Jose Gutierrez David was born in Bacolor on 19 January 1891, from the union of Mateo Gutierrez Ubaldo and Gabriela David, youngest in a brood of 9 (4 brothers, 4 sisters). His father was one of the signatories of the historic Malolos Constitution, signed on 29 November 1896. Raised in San Fernando, the young Jose studied his caton and cartilla at home, then entered the school of Don Modesto Joaquin, the most prestigious in the province. He grew up amidst a very cultured milieu: his father had an ardent interest in zarzuelas while brother Amado composed music for these plays. Often, their spacious house served as rehearsal halls for zarzuela productions. It was no wonder then that Jose showed his literary flair at an early age, writing poems often dedicated to his sweetheart, Concepcion Roque. His first ever published poem, written at 17, was dedicated to her --“Tuqui Ka Baculud” (Come to Bacolor) , appearing in the March 1908 issue of Ing Bandila (The Flag). After his graduation from Pampanga High School in 1912, he married Concepcion with whom he had 7 children, all college graduates: Perla (my Imang Perling) Jose Jr., Leonardo, Felicitas, Amaury, Alice and Irma.

In 1914, as a journalist, he teamed up with playwright Juan Crisostomo Soto to edit “Ing Balen” (The Town) and “E Mangabiran” (The Impartial), both noted Kapampangan papers. He also wrote plays like “Migdusang e Micasala” (The Guiltless Sufferer) and “Ing Independencia” (The Independence).

Jose completed his law degree at the Escuela de Derecho in Manila, emerging first in his class in 1915. After passing the bar the next year, he began his law practice and proved to be an outstanding trial lawyer, but opted to join the judicial court system of San Fernando as Auxiliary Justice of the Peace from 1918-20. He then entered the political arena by becoming a councilor for 10 years.

In 1933, he was named Director of the Pampanga Carnival. The next year, he ran and won in an election to determine Pampanga’s delegates to the Constitutional Convention. Just like his father before him, he was one of the original signers of the 1935 Philippine Constitution. He then accepted the offer of Secretary of Justice Jose Yulo to become a Judge of the Court of the First Instance. Appointed by Manuel L. Quezon, he was assigned to different districts such as Baguio, Cavite and Manila. His next stints were as Judge of the Court of First Instance in Manila (appointed by Sergio Osmeña), Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals (1946, by Manuel Roxas), Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals (1956, by Ramon Magsaysay) and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (1959, by Carlos P. Garcia), a position he held until his 1961 retirement.

He also served as Chairman of the Philippine Bar Examination in 1960 , a member of Pampanga Masonic Lodge 48 and Board of Censors for Philippine Motion Pictures from 1962 to 1964. The pioneering graduate of Pampanga High headed the 1962 Golden Jubilee Homecoming as Chairman of the Executive Committee, which gave the Most Outstanding Alumni Award to then Pres. Diosdado Macapagal. Jose Gutierrez David passed away on 27 March 1977 in Quezon City. It is but fitting that his last poem, “Misan Pa” (Once More) was dedicated to his beloved Concepcion.
(15 March 2003)

11 comments:

Beacon said...

My name is Jim Gutierrez and I am the nephew of Tito Nardy. I am sorry to tell you he passed away a while back, not sure of the date but around 10-15 years ago. All his children but one now reside in the US. My father is Amaury, his youngest brother.

alex r. castro said...

Thanks for helping me out on the update, Jim. I miss Imang Perling!

Kathleen El-Kazzi said...

Hi,
Im Marilou is tita felicitas still alive, im her
God Daughter and my father(Abelardo De Jesus) first Cousin.


Beacon said...

Hello Marilou,
Yes Tita Fely is still alive. She is living with her daughter Tesa is Paranaque. She's a strong lady, but her husband Manolo passed away years ago. Thanks for asking.

Beacon said...

Hello Marilou,
Yes Tita Fely is still alive. She is living with her daughter Tesa is Paranaque. She's a strong lady, but her husband Manolo passed away years ago. Thanks for asking.

Maria De Jesus said...

Thank you for your reply is there a way i can get in contact with her, i will be travelling back to phil for a holiday next month and would love to see her, Thank you

Maria De Jesus said...

Thank you for your reply is there a way i can get in contact with her, i will be travelling back to phil for a holiday next month and would love to see her, Thank you

Maria De Jesus said...

Hi Beacon,

Is there a contact number for tita fely im flying back on dec 18 from sydney, and I would like to visit her.please email me on mdj17@live.com.au

Beacon said...

Hello Maria,
It's been a while since I have visited this site but in case you still do check in, I regret to inform you that my Tita Fely passed away last year. She was 90 years old and lived a full life. I remember she was you ninang. If you wish I can send you her daughter's info, just to keep the memories alive. Take care and God bless.

Jim

Kathleen El-kazzi said...

Thanks Jim for letting us know my mom also havent been cheking this site for a while. my mom is so sad to hear ninang Fely's passing, if you can send me Tesa's number that'll be great . Thanks again Jim

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I came across this great article. Jose Gutierrez is my great grandfather (Jose Gutierrez Jr.is my grandfather, his eldest daughter Beckie G.Sellner is my mom). I remember 'Mang Perling's home and pool in Pampanga. I visited her in 1997- I was 14 at the time and living at Villa Concepcion in San Juan Manila for the year. I've been looking into my ancestry and I'm glad to find stories like this that keeps our history alive. ❤
-Patricia Gutierrez Sellner (Tracy), California