Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr.
Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. reached a new high in his stellar career when both Houses of Congress confirmed his nomination as Vice President of the Philippines by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Born in San Juan, Rizal on July 4, 1928 to Teofisto Guingona, Sr., a former assemblyman, senator, judge and commissioner from Guimaras, Iloilo and Josefa Tayko of Siaton, Negros Oriental, he grew up in Mindanao where he completed his elementary schooling with honors in Ateneo de Cagayan.
He pursued his studies at the Ateneo de Manila University as a working student, teaching history and political science while taking up courses in law and economics. He took up special studies in Public Administration, Economics, Sociology and Audit. After graduation, Tito went into business and became a Governor of the Development Bank of the Philippines and President of the Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.
Tito was a delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention and when Martial Law was declared in 1972, he staunchly resisted the abuses of the regime, serving as a human rights lawyer and defender of the oppressed. He founded SANDATA and became the honorary chairman of BANDILA, two mass-based organizations dedicated to social and economic reforms. Because of his opposition to martial rule he was jailed twice, first in 1972 and then in 1978.
When the dictator was ousted, the new President appointed Tito as Chairman of the Commission on Audit where he gained renown as a no-nonsense graft buster. He did not stay long in the Commission on Audit, however, for he was drafted to run for a Senate seat. In the Senate, Tito was Senate President Pro-tempore and Majority Leader. He also chaired the Blue Ribbon Committee.
Tito’s concern for the welfare of his kababayans in Mindanao is apparent when he served as director and chairman of the Mindanao Development Authority and the Mindanao Labor Management Advisory Council respectively.
When Fidel V. Ramos was elected President, he appointed Tito as Executive Secretary and later as Justice Secretary. Tito's stint at the DOJ was marked with notable accomplishments and significant reforms. He rejuvenated the Witness Protection Program and established the Prosecution Academy. He also beefed up the implementation of the Katarungang Pambarangay and heightened public awareness of the Barangay Justice Program. Before Tito closed out his term as Justice Secretary, he also held, in a concurrent capacity, the chairmanship of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission.
In 1998 Tito was once again elected Senator and was chosen by his peers as the Minority Leader. He boldly spoke out against the anomalies in the Estrada Administration and was the first to call for the resignation of President Joseph Estrada. Tito exposed the graft and corruption, culpable violations of the Constitution, and cronyism in the Estrada Administration that led to the impeachment trial of Estrada by the Senate. When Estrada was ousted by EDSA II, Tito emerged as the logical choice for a successor to Vice President Arroyo.
A writer, Guingona has written six books ranging from legal treatises to a stirring book which celebrates the gallant spirit of the Filipino.
Tito is married to the former Ruthie de Lara with whom he has three children namely Teofisto "Tootsie" Guingona III, the eldest and a successful real estate developer, Rollie Guingona, a musician and classical pianist, and Marie Guingona Lamb, a business management graduate.