Hon. Cesar C. Bengzon
Born in Camiling, Tarlac on 28 May 1896 to DonVicente Bengzon and Dona Paz Cabrera, Cesar Bengzon received his early education in his hometown and later moved to Manila to pursue higher learning. He enrolled in the Ateneo de Manila where he finished his Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in 1915. He then entered the College of Law of the University of the Philippines, graduating as class valedictorian in 1919. He took the bar examination that same year and placed second among the top ten. (Valenzuela, Wilfredo P.: “Know Them – A Book of Biographies”; p.236, 1966.)
His career in government started in 1919, when he was employed as a law clerk at the Bureau of Justice. A year later, he became special attorney. In 1931, at the age of 35, he became Solicitor General. Two years later, was appointed as Undersecretary of Justice and at the same time Chairman of the Board of Pardons. He was appointed Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals but had to postpone his oathtaking for two months because he had not yet reached the required age of forty. Subsequently, he was elevated to the Supreme Court in 1945, resigned to become Secretary of Justice in 1948, and was reappointed in 1949 to the High Court while retaining his seniority. He was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1961. He was Chairman of the Senate Electoral Tribunal from 1950 to 1957. (Batacan, Delfin: “The Supreme Court in Philippine History”; p. 460, 1972.) He was named to the International Court of Justice upon his retirement from the High Court on May 29, 1966.
Cesar Bengzon was married to Soledad Romulo with whom he had six children. He died in 1992 at the age of 96.