SILLIMAN UNIVERSITY (SU) mourns the passing of its former president, Justice Venancio D. Aldecoa Jr., who died at 91 last Dec. 14 at SU Medical Center.
“We in the Silliman University community extend our deepest sympathies to the family of the late Justice Venancio D. Aldecoa Jr., University President from 1983 to 1986,” said an official statement released by SU.
The memorial service was held last Dec. 17 at the SU Church, attended by Aldecoa’s family, friends and colleagues. He was laid to rest at Dumaguete Memorial park.
Aldecoa served as the seventh president of the university. He also taught in the College of Law for 20 years and was a member of the SU Board of Trustees for 15 years.
In a written testimony by then acting SU President Proceso U. Udarbe, he said Aldecoa saved Silliman from bankruptcy on his first year as president and restored a balanced university budget. The testimony was used for Aldecoa’s nomination for Outstanding Sillimanian Award in 2007.
Justice Aldecoa graduated with a degree of Associate in Arts, magna cum laude, and Bachelor of Laws, cum laude, from SU. He passed the Bar examination with a rating of 90.7%.
After being elected as Dumaguete City councilor for four consecutive terms, he was appointed as Presiding Judge of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of Dumaguete and Negros Oriental. He became RTC Judge of the National Capital Region in Quezon City and the very first from Negros Oriental to be an Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals.
At 17, Aldecoa joined the resistance movement and was assigned to be the leader of intelligence unit nearest to the Japanese lines.
Aldecoa was also active in church. He was a founding member of the National Christian Youth Fellowship of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, as well as the United Church Men, and served as its National President.
He also organized the Dumaguete Chapter of the Knights of Rizal, of which he was the first Chapter Commander. He likewise organized the Young Men’s Christian Association of Negros Oriental, and became its First Charter President.
Together with his wife, the late Nelly Abella Romano, Aldecoa formed the Adlecoa Family Singers which won first place in a national competition at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Among his countless achievements are:
Outstanding Sillimanian Awardee (2007); Centennial Awardee of the Negros Oriental High school; Outstanding SULAW Awardee at the First Awards Ceremony of the SU College of Law; Outstanding Dumagueteño Award for Public Service, during city’s 50th
Charter Day; and Outstanding Oriental Negrense in the Field of Law, at the First Buglasan Awards Ceremony. He was given the Presidential Trophy for Meritorious Government Service by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
“He was kind as a teacher”
One of Aldecoa’s former students at the SU College of Law is Judge Rafael Crescencio C Tan Jr, also Assistant Commandant of SU Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).
According to Tan, Aldecoa had a booming voice that prevented his students from sleeping in class.
“He was kind as a teacher. Never scolded or insulted us his students,” he added.
Aldecoa was Tan’s criminal law professor. Tan said Aldecoa used to inject words from the gospel as he discussed criminal law with them.
“Clearly true to our motto of ‘Law with a Conscience,’” Tan added.
One specific memory of Tan with Aldecoa was when he was given the chance to take a final exam that he missed due to ROTC commandant duties.
Tan said, “By allowing me to take a special exam, he showed his kindness, patience and compassion as a professor. I got a good grade from him.”
On Aldecoa’s being a Court of Appeals Associate Justice, Tan said, “ I have heard of his reputation as a justice; he had independence, integrity, intelligence and industry–the 4 INs of an ideal judge or justice.”
Among all the lessons he learned from Aldecoa, Tan said that to be humble and God-fearing are the most important.
Justice Venancio Aldecoa is survived by daughter Jenny Lind Aldecoa Delorino, deputy court administrator of the Supreme Court, married to a banker Chito; they have a daughter, Jemima Carina.
His son, Michael who is now working in the United States, is married to wife Diolie with daughter Jessica Ann. (with Meilynne Gem C. Sonjaco, News Writer)