Noel G. Tijam (born January 5, 1949, San Miguel, Manila) is a Filipino lawyer who was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines by President Rodrigo Duterte on March 8, 2017. Prior to his appointment, he was a Justice of Court of Appeals from 2003 to 2017. Tijam graduated magna cum laude from San Beda College in 1967 with a degree in philosophy and political science. He graduated cum laude and class salutatorian from the San Beda College of Law in 1971 and passed the bar examinations in the same year. He served as legal consultant at the Senate representing Sen. Victor Ziga in the blue ribbon, economic affairs, national defense and security, ways and mean, and ethics and privileges committees. Tijam also served as assistant vice president and deputy corporate secretary of the Government Service Insurance System and as legal counsel and corporate secretary of the Manila Hotel Corp. and the Westin Philippine Plaza.He was also a board director of Comsavings Bank. Tijam was named presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 221 in 1994. He was promoted to the Court of Appeals in 2003. He was a senior member of the appellate court’s 11th division before he was appointed to the Supreme Court. Tijam is a professorial lecturer at the Philippine Judicial Academy where he is part of the Remedial Law Department. He handles subjects on pre-trial and trial skills, legal ethics, oral advocacy, legal writing and remedial law.
Early life and education
Tijam was born on January 5, 1949 in San Miguel, Manila. Tijam graduated magna cum laude from San Beda College in 1967, with a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Philosophy and Political Science. In 1971, he graduated salutatorian from the San Beda College of Law.
At the Philippine Senate, Tijam served as legal consultant who represented Senator Victor Ziga at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, the Senate Economic Affairs Committee, Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Senate Ways and Means Committee, and the Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges. Tijam worked with the Government Service Insurance System as its Assistant Vice President and Deputy Corporate Secretary and later with the Manila Hotel Corporation and the Westin Philippine Plaza as Legal Counsel and Corporate Secretary, and Comsavings Bank as Board Director. He was appointed as the presiding judge of Branch 221 of Quezon City’s Regional Trial Court (RTC) in 1994 and served as President of the Quezon City RTC Judges Association.
Court of Appeals
He was appointed Court of Appeals (CA) associate by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2003 and served until 2017. Among the cases he handled was the Maguindanao massacre case where he penned a CA resolution in 2011 against former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr in the case’s list of respondents. Ampatuan made a petition against two CA resolution that may possibly indict him for the massacre but was junked by the court. The court also affirmed Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Zaldy Ampatuan as one of the suspects in the case. He also handled the case of Reynald Lim, the brother of Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam. Lim and his sister faced charges serious illegal detention for detaining their cousin Benhur Luy which led to Napoles’ conviction in 2015. Lim attempted to stop his indictment and recall an arrest warrant issued against him through a petition but the CA junked the appeal. He authored the CA decision which upheld the closure of the bankrupt Banco de Oro.
On March 8, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Tijam as the 176th Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. He replaced Arturo Brion who retired on December 29, 2016.
At age 20 while pursuing his law studies in San Beda, he is already working with the Philippine School of Business Administration as a lecturer. After becoming a lawyer, he worked with the Phillippine Judicial Academy, Supreme Court where he is assigned to its Remedial Law Department as professorial lecturer. Under the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Program, he taught in seminars organized by the academy, at the University of the Philippines Law Center, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and numerous law firms.
Tijam was named among the finalist for the most outstanding Regional Trial Court Judges Award in 1999 which is conferred by the Foundation for Judicial Excellence. The Philippine Jaycees gave him Most Outstanding JAYCEE Award and was the recipient of the Junior Chamber International Senatorship Award which was given to him in 1997.
Maria Cynthia Cornejo Tijam is the wife of Justice Tijam, with whom they have three children.