Lucas Bersamin

Lucas P. Bersamin
163rd Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Assumed office
April 3, 2009
Appointed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Preceded by Adolfo Azcuna
Associate Justice of the Philippine Court of Appeals
In office
Appointed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Personal details
Born (1949-10-18) October 18, 1949
Bangued, Abra, Philippines
Affiliation Scintilla Juris Fraternity

Lucas P. Bersamin (born October 18, 1949) is an Associate Justice. Named by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the High Court on April 2, 2009,[1] he was a member of the Court of Appeals at the time of his appointment.

He is the brother of former congressman Luis P. Bersamin, Jr. of Abra, who was gunned down during a wedding ceremony[2] and brother of Abra provincial governor Eustaquio Bersamin.[3]


Justice Bersamin earned his undergraduate degree from the University of the Philippines and graduated from the University of the East College of Law in 1973. He placed 9th in the 1973 Bar Examinations with an average of 86.3%. Justice Bersamin was then named Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute in Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.[4]

He was in private practice from 1974 until 1986, when he was appointed a trial court judge in Quezon City by President Corazon Aquino. Justice Bersamin was a professor at the Ateneo Law School, the University of the East College of Law, and the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law. He was special lecturer at the College of Law, University of Cebu in 2006. He continues to lecture for the Philippine Judicial Academy.

In 2003, Bersamin was elevated to the Court of Appeals by President Arroyo.

Allegation of Corruption and Political Accommodation

In August 2015, Bersamin was the ponente in G.R. 213847 Enrile vs. Sandiganbayan. The majority decision, voted upon 8-4, created a new legal doctrine by granting bail to Juan Ponce Enrile, a Senator at the time and the former Minister of Defense during the Marcos dictatorship, who had been jailed while awaiting trial for plundering P172 million in public funds. Prior to this decision, plunder was considered a non-bailable offense according to Philippine criminal law, if the evidence of guilt is strong. However, Bersamin's decision single-handedly overturned this doctrine, stating that the Court has the discretion in any case to grant bail. In this case, the court exercised its discretion supposedly on humanitarian grounds, claiming that Enrile was in poor health and that he was not a flight risk due to his "stature in society" and "long record of public service." Despite Enrile's supposed "poor health" that would make it inhumane to continue detaining him in a government hospital, Enrile returned to work in the Senate the first working day after his release.

Four Supreme Court Justices dissented from the opinion, characterizing Bersamin's decision as a case of political accommodation and selective justice. The minority decision wrote, “the [majority] decision is the result of obvious political accommodation rather than a judicious consideration of the facts and the law” and that the majority decision would benefit “one powerful public official at the cost of weakening our legal institutions.” The Bersamin decision has been attacked by legal and political scholars as a damaging step backwards for the rule of law and democratization in the Philippines.


Legal offices
Preceded by
Adolfo Azcuna
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
April 3, 2009–present
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