Ex-SC justice Buena, 87

Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) – February 14, 2020 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Retired Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Arturo Buena, one of the magistrates who voted to uphold the constitutionality of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States, died of lingering illness yesterday. He was 87.

In a statement, the SC said Buena’s remains lie in state at the Arlington Chapels on Araneta Avenue. Details of his interment will be announced later, the SC said.

Buena is survived by his wife Virgith Balan-Buena and children Susan, Arturo Jr., Benjamin and Carlo, and his grandchildren.

Buena, from Guiuan, Eastern Samar, earned his pre-law and law degrees at the University of Santo Tomas and engaged in private practice after passing the 1954 Bar examinations with a grade of 89.55 percent.

He first joined the public service in 1956 with the then Department of Commerce.

Buena has also worked as liaison officer in the Office of the Speaker at the House of Representatives and as legal and technical assistant at the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET).

He became an assistant to then Justice Jose Bengzon in the turnover of the supervision of the lower courts to the SC and served as acting deputy court administrator, deputy court administrator and acting court administrator.

He was appointed to the Court of Appeals (CA) as an associate justice in 1986 and appointed to the SC on Jan. 5, 1999. He retired after reaching the mandatory retirement age on March 25, 2002.

During his stint in the High Court, Buena penned more than 200 significant decisions, including the one on VFA.