FLC Justice Abraham "Abe" F. Sarmiento, Sr. ΑΦβ 1941 10th Death Anniversay
October 4, 2020
"[Abraham 'Ditto' Sarmiento, Jr.'s] death encouraged me to strengthen my resolve and multiply my activities for the restoration of justice, freedom, and democracy in our land." - FLC Justice Abraham "Abe" F. Sarmiento, Sr. ΑΦβ 1941
On this day, the Alpha Phi Beta Fraternity commemorates the 10th Death Anniversary of FLC Abrahan Sarmiento, Sr. It has been a decade since the nation lost a man who adhered to the rule of compassionate law, and who fought for the "little man's cause."
A jurist, army veteran, author, and human rights advocate, Abe F. Sarmiento, Sr. is a renaissance man of his time. Being the Vice-President of the 1971 Constitutional Convention, an active figure in the political opposition against the martial law, and a member of the Board of Regents of the University of the Philippines, he made a great impact in shaping the country to what it is today.
It was after the war against the Imperial Japanese Army that Sarmiento earned his Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of the Philippines. In that same year, he authored the biography of Jose Abad Santos, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, entitled “Jose Abad Santos: An Apotheosis." In the 1950s, he started a law firm with Senators Gerardo Roxas and Justiniano Montano. In 1967, he established his own firm, the Abraham F. Sarmiento Law Office.
In 1979, Sarmiento co-authored the book “The Road Back to Democracy” with former President Diosdado Macapagal and three others. Later that year, he and Manuel Concordia published the book “Ang Demokrasya sa Pilipinas” which led to their arrest on charges of subversion and inciting to sedition. They were later placed under house arrest.
In January 1987, then-President Corazon Aquino appointed Sarmiento as the 119th Associate Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court. He would serve on the High Court until he reached the compulsory retirement age of 70 in 1991.
During his stint as Associate Justice, Sarmiento held staunch civil libertarian views best exemplified by his notable ponencia. In People v. Nazario, 165 SCRA 186, 31 August 1988, the Court, through Sarmiento, acknowledged the void for vagueness rule as able to invalidate criminal statutes. In Pita v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 80806, 163 SCRA 386, 5 October 1989, he wrote for the Court that any restraint on the publication of purportedly obscene materials must satisfy the clear and present danger test. In Salaw v. NLRC, G.R. No. 90786, 27 September 1991, Sarmiento's opinion held that the dismissal of an employee in the private sector must go through the procedural due process.
Regardless of the torment he experienced, he remained true to his ideals and did not allow his personal emotions to soften his "hardened impartiality.” This was exemplified in his opinion on the case of Marcos v. Manglapus, G.R. No. 88211, 15 September 1989, wherein despite the majority of the Court sustaining Cory Aquino's position to bar the Marcoses from entering the Philippines, Sarmiento argued in his dissent that we would have betrayed our own ideals if we denied Marcos his rights, as he staunchly and consistently advocated the human right of travel and movement, and the liberty of abode.
The Alpha Phi Beta remembers and celebrates the life and legacy of FLC Abe Sarmiento, a true peace advocate and a forever Alphan!
He is an Alphan, through and through!