Separate Opinion


Justice Isagani A. Cruz wrote a column entitled “Separate Opinion” which appeared in the Philippine Daily Inquirer from April 1995 to June 2010. This is an online archive of those columns, arranged by date.

This site will also contain Justice Cruz’s other works, such as his decisions, speeches, and various writings.

All the works featured here are the intellectual creation of Justice Isagani A. Cruz. They are copyrighted in his name and are protected by intellectual property laws. None of these works can be used without the consent of his beneficiaries. Please contact the administrator at for permission to quote or reproduce any of the material found here.


JUSTICE ISAGANI A. CRUZ was born in Manila on October 11, 1924, to Vicente G. Cruz, after whom that street in Sampaloc is named, and Aurora Anzures.

His early schooling was at the Legarda Elementary School and the Mapa High School. He finished his pre-law and freshman law years at the University of the Philippines, then transferred to the MLQ School of Law, where he graduated cum laude in 1951. He placed eighth in the bar examinations for that year with a rating of 90.15%.

He served as legal consultant of the Philippine panel that negotiated the commercial treaty with Japan in 1961. He was also legal adviser of the Philippine delegations to the Interparliamentary Union Conference in Denmark in 1964, and to the Asian Parliamentarians’ Union Conference in Japan in 1968, Cambodia in 1970, Indonesia in 1971, and Australia in the same year.

In 1966 he was appointed Chairman of the Code Commission that later drafted the basis of the Child and Youth Welfare Code. He resigned in 1972 to join Laurel Law Offices as senior partner specialized in Constitutional Law and International Law.

Justice Cruz was dean of the Lyceum School of Law from 1962 to 1968 and taught later as full professor and/or bar reviewer in the law colleges of UP, Ateneo, San Beda, UE, UST, FEU, and others. He lectured for the UP Law Center and the Philippine Judicial Academy. He was the author of widely used textbooks, to wit, Philippine Political Law, Constitutional Law, International Law, and International Law Reviewer, and many legal treatises.

Justice Cruz was appointed to the Supreme Court on April 16, 1986, one of the five members chosen directly from the bar and of the six law deans drafted from the academe. At the time of his retirement in 1994, he was the Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and Chairman of its First Division. He was also Chairman of the Senate Electoral Tribunal and, earlier, of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.

Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando said of Justice Cruz that “his interest in writings other than legal undoubtedly contributes to his polished and elegant opinions.” Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee called him “the lyricist of the Court.” Chief Justice Andres R. Narvasa spoke of him thus:

  “Hand in hand with possessing a rare gift of language and a felicity of style, Justice Cruz is also an incisive thinker and logician, as many lawyers who have orally argued before the Court have discovered, often to their discomfiture.”

    “These qualities, added to an uncompromising rectitude and, withal, an understanding of human frailty that would temper the harshness of the law with compassion wherever possible, make him the complete jurist.”

The resolution unanimously adopted by the Supreme Court on his retirement read in part:

  “Some of the more important and powerful statements on constitutional rights of Mr. Justice Cruz are embodied in the dissents he has written. Time will tell us which of those dissents will become the prevailing rule… Whether we joined in his dissents or not, we are all indebted to Justice Cruz for the clarity of his vision and the learning and passion with which he conveyed that vision.”

Justice Cruz was selected Outstanding Manilan for 1995 in the field of law. In 1997, he was the St. Thomas More lecturer at the UST, the Jorge Bocobo lecturer at the UP and the 50th anniversary lecturer at the MLQ University. He received many awards from, among others, the Supreme Court, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Senate and House of Representatives Electoral Tribunals, the Supreme Court Lawyers Association, the San Beda College, the MLQ Alumni Association, the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters, the Far Eastern University, the Mapa High School Alumni Association, and the National Centennial Commission.

He was conferred the award of the Most Outstanding Alumnus of MLQU for the year 2003.

Launched in 2000 was Res Gestae: A Brief History of the Supreme Court, which he wrote with his daughter Cynthia, who also edited a collection of his Decisions and Dissents. He is also the author of Separate Opinion and co-author of Correct Choice of Words, Idiomatic Expressions, and Essentials of English Grammar, parts of a language series for lawyers. In 2011, he launched Pepito: The Public Life of Jose P. Laurel which he again co-authored with his daughter, Cynthia.

Justice Cruz was dean of the Perpetual Help College of Law and held the Jose P. Laurel Chair on Constitutional Law at the Lyceum of the Philippines. He wrote a week-end column in the Inquirer entitled Separate Opinion and was Of counsel for his son Carlo’s law firm.

Justice Cruz was the holder of the degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from the MLQ University.

He was married to Salvacion Lopez and had six children with her, namely, Cesar, Claro, Celso, Carlo, Isagani, Jr., and Cynthia.

He passed away on March 21, 2013.


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