Former Silliman President Justice Aldecoa Passes Away at 91

Former Silliman President Justice Aldecoa Passes Away at 91

Silliman University mourns the passing of former University President Justice Venancio D. Aldecoa, Jr. in the morning of December 14. He was the seventh President of Silliman, serving from 1983 to 1986.

Justice Aldecoa was born on March 11, 1926 in Dumaguete City, and graduated from Silliman University with degrees in Associate of Arts (1948), Bachelor of Arts (1950) and Bachelor of Laws (1952). He rose from the ranks in the University, starting as a senior lecturer in the College of Law, where he taught for 20 years. Justice Aldecoa also served the University’s Board of Trustees as Member and Secretary for fifteen years.

In 1983, he assumed the Presidency of Silliman, at a time when the University has heavily indebted during the Martial Law years.

Justice Aldecoa was later elected to the City Council of Dumaguete for four consecutive terms, after which he was appointed to the Judiciary as Presiding Judge of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of Dumaguete and Negros Oriental, then as Regional Trial Court Judge of the National Capital Region in Quezon City, and finally as Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, the first ever from Negros Oriental. He retired from service at the age of 65.

Beyond the practice of law, Justice Aldecoa lived a full life. During World War II, he joined the Resistance Movement at the age of 17, and was assigned to the Intelligence Section of the 75th Infantry Regiment. He participated in the mopping up operations against the Japanese who had retreated to the mountains when the American Liberation Forces landed in the island.

After retiring from the Judiciary, he took an active part in veterans affairs. He also organized the Dumaguete Chapter of the Knights of Rizal, and served as its First Chapter Commander. He likewise organized the Young Men’s Christian Association of the province, and became its first Charter President.

With wife Nelly and their four children, they formed the Aldecoa Family Singers, which won First Place in a prestigious national competition at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and have since then been designated as Philippine Ambassadors of Goodwill in concerts both here and abroad.

Justice Aldecoa’s sense of service has been widely recognized. In 1998, he received the Outstanding Dumagueteño Award for Public Service. In 2004, he was given the Outstanding Oriental Negrense Award in the field of Law in the First Buglasan Awards Ceremonies. A year later, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo presented him with the Presidential Trophy for Meritorious Government Service. And in 2007, he was conferred the Outstanding Sillimanian Award in the field of Government Service.

His love for Silliman has kept Justice Aldecoa close to the campus, attending major events, especially during Founders Day. In his honor, and in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the University, the larger community, and the practice of law, a major academic facility of the College of Law in the Villareal Hall was named the Justice Venancio D. Aldecoa, Jr. Moot Court/Multipurpose Hall.  On February 18, 2017, the Silliman also conferred on him the degree of Juris Doctor (ad eundem).

(Most of the write-up was lifted from the profile of Justice Venancio D. Aldecoa, Jr. for the Outstanding Sillimanian Award in 2007.)