Shortly before retired Supreme Court Justice Isagani A. Cruz died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday at the age of 88, he called his wife Salvacion to his bedside and held her hand.
She had breakfast with him and a little later, she went back to bed to lie beside him as she used to do.
But then when the 81-year-old wife turned to her husband and checked his pulse she learned that he had died. This was at 7:10 a.m. yesterday, Cruz’s only daughter, Cynthia “Candy” Cruz-Datu, told the Inquirer.
“My mother did not realize it. He had gone very peacefully,” Datu said of her father, who was appointed to the high court by then President Corazon Aquino in 1986.
The couple were to mark their 61st wedding anniversary on May 3.
Series of strokes
Datu said her father had been weakened by a series of strokes since 2004, prompting him to give up writing his Inquirer column, “Separate Opinion,” in 2010 after 15 years.
In 2011, another stroke left Cruz bedridden, said the 45-year-old Datu, who added that her father still managed to go out once in a while in a wheelchair. But on Jan. 1, he had a mild stroke and never recovered from it. He had lost his appetite for food and consequently lost weight.
Datu shared with the Inquirer what her father wrote in his last will and testament.
“Love our country despite its faults and always remain Filipinos,” he wrote. “Remember me only in private pages and not rituals. Talk to me when you need my advice and you will get it somewhere wherever I may be.”
In keeping with her father’s wish not to remember him in rituals, Datu said the family would hold a memorial vigil starting Thursday night and ending on March 23 at Memorial Chapels of Our Lady of Beautiful Love Parish Church, Washington Street, Merville Park, Parañaque City.
Cruz’s remains were cremated Thursday.
He is survived by his wife, Salvacion, children Cesar, Claro, Celso, Carlo, Isagani and Cynthia and their spouses and grandchildren.
Cruz served as associate justice in the high court for eight years until his retirement on Oct. 11, 1994, according to a statement released by the Supreme Court’s public information office.
Law dean, bar reviewer
A native of Manila, Cruz graduated cum laude from the Manuel L. Quezon School of Law in 1951. He placed eighth in the bar examinations in 1951 with a rating of 90.12 percent.
Before his appointment to the high court, Cruz served as chairman of the Code of Commission of the Department of Justice (1966-72); senior partner of the Laurel law office; and dean of the Lyceum School of Law (1963-68).
From 1975 to 1986, he served as a bar reviewer on political law and international law at the University of the East, San Beda College, Ateneo de Manila University and University of Manila.
Datu said her father published several books, including several editions on Constitutional Law, International Law and Philippine Political Law, Decisions and Dissents of Justice Isagani Cruz, among others. Father and daughter co-authored Res Gestae: A Brief History of the Supreme Court.
Among the significant decisions he wrote for the high court was the court ruling that favored Evelio Javier who questioned Arturo Pacificador’s proclamation as assemblyman by the Commission on Elections in the 1984 election.
Devotion to wife
In her tribute to her parents and their 60 years of marriage, Datu wrote in an Inquirer article last year on her father’s deep devotion to her mother: “He cannot bear to be without her for more than an hour. Even now he calls her hija, delights in her beauty and tells her “mahal na mahal kita,” somehow forgetting that his darling is an octogenarian like him.”—With Tetch Torres-Tupas, INQUIRER.net
Originally posted at 08:21 pm | Thursday, March 21, 2013