The PSIL was established on 24 May 1961 by Filipino international legal luminaries headed by the late Justice Florentino Feliciano, a well regarded international legal scholar with sterling academic and professional accomplishments.
The Philippine Society, according to its founders (and as reported in the American Journal of International Law):
It soon became a leading professional organization on international law in the Philippines and the Southeast Asian region, especially with its publication of the Philippine Yearbook of International Law in partnership with the University of the Philippines Law Center, which served as its secretariat.
However over time, the PSIL became inactive and its Yearbook also ceased publication. One of its last public activities was a gathering held jointly with the Fulbright Association of the Philippines at the Presidential Palace in 1988, where then President Corazon Aquino was the guest speaker. It was also part of a Policy and Legal Task Force established by then President Fidel V. Ramos for Philippine participation in the proceedings before the International Court of Justice on the question of the threat and use of nuclear weapons.
In 2014,H. Harry L. Roque, Jr., then a professor of international law and constitutional law at the UP College of Law, successfully spearheaded a campaign to revive the PSIL, with the consent of Justice Feliciano.
The first set of trustees of the PSIL at its revival included Prof. Roque (who was also elected President of the Philippine Society), Dean Sedrey Candelaria, Amb. Manuel A.J. Teehanke, ICC Judge Raul C. Pangalangan and Dean Merlin M. Magallona.
The aim was to reestablish a Filipino professional association of academics, lawyers and kindred spirits interested in international law as a practice and as an academic endeavor, and known for excellence in its endeavors.
The revival of the organization was also intended to obtain recognition as the Philippine chapter of the Asian Society of International Law, now the region’s most prestigious professional and academic organization in the field.
Prof. Roque was elected the first President of the revived Philippine Society, which set every third Saturday of the month of May of every year for its Annual Membership Meeting, pursuant to its Constitution and By-Laws.
At the 6th Biennial Conference of AsinSIL in Seoul, Korea, in August 2017, the PSIL was recognized as its Philippine chapter, simultaneous with Prof. Roque’s election as president of the AsianSIL, with a term of two years.
Two other PSIL members, Dean Magallona and International Criminal Court Judge Raul C. Pangalangan, were actually part of the founding Executive Council of the AsianSIL when it was first organized in 2007 at the National University of Singapore School of Law.
In Seoul in 2017, Judge Pangalangan returned as a member of the Executive Council while Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza was elected as Vice President for Southeast Asia of the AsianSIL. Justice Jardeleza serves as a member of the Advisory Council of the PSIL.
Also, at the 6th Biennial, Justice Feliciano and three other Asian giants of international law -Professor R. P. Anand of India, Professor Wang Tieya of China, and Judge Christopher Weeramanty of Sri Lanka — were honored by the AsianSIL with the inaugural Judge Paik Prize for their pioneering work in promoting human rights, the rule of law and the judicial settlement of disputes in Asia.
With the election of Prof. Roque as AsianSIL President, the task of hosting the 7th Biennial Conference of the AsianSIL in 2019 fell on the shoulders of the PSIL New Board of Trustees/Officers The PSIL also envisions the National Conference as a preparatory activity for the Asian Society of International (AsianSIL) 7th Biennial Conference in August next year, which it is co-hosting with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the University of the Philippines College of Law.
On 19 May 2018, the PSIL held its annual membership meeting at the UP Law Center, where a new set of officers/trustees was elected into office, namely, Prof. Elizabeth Aguiling-Pangalangan of the University of the Philippines College of Law (President); Assistant Secretary J. Eduardo Malaya of the Department of Foreign Affairs Office of Legal Affairs (Vice President); Atty. Macel Seno of the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson (Corporate Secretary); and Atty. Romel Regalado Bagares of the Center for International Law-Philippines (Corporate Treasurer) and Dean Myles Bejar of the Silliman University College of Law (Trustee). Prof. Rommel Casis of the UP College of Law was appointed as the PSIL Executive Director by the new Board of Trustees.
This year, the PSIL is re-launching the Philippine Yearbook of International law, in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs Office of Legal Affairs.
It will also hold its first ever National Conference later this year, in September, to be hosted by the University of the Philippines College of Law and the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Office of Legal Affairs, under the theme “Dynamics of International Law in a Time of Transition.”
More details will be provided in this blog about the National Conference soon.
(Photo on this page shows the new trustees of the PSIL, with two members of the Philippine Society’s Advisory Council: Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and Dean Merlin M. Magallona)