PBA’s HOME-GROWN AT THE HELM
President, Philippine Bar Association, 2016-2017
“Atty. Fina”, as she is known to her clients, joined PBA in 1992 during the term of President Teresita Cruz-Sison, PBA’s first woman President. There have been 4 other lady presidents (Rita Linda Jimeno, Maritess Sison-Go, Charito Cruz) after Atty. Sison and Atty. Tantuico is the 5th.
An active member of PBA since 2001, Atty. Tantuico served PBA in various capacities throughout the terms of PBA’s 14 presidents. Along with her father, past President Rolando P. de la Cuesta, she was responsible for setting up PBA’s first MCLE Seminar in 2002. Through her efforts, PBA established ties with the American Bar Association’s Asia Law Initiative and Rule of Law Initiative (ABA-ROLI), paving the way for President Hector Martinez, to hold the first-ever MCLE seminar featuring two foreign experts, Mr. Denis Rice and former Florida Circuit Judge Judith L. Kreeger, both of whom spoke on U.S. Laws and how they impact International Transactions. Since that time, PBA benefited from the ABA’s sponsorship of various lectures during the incumbency of Past Presidents Victor P. Lazatin and Jose A. Feria. Prior to her election as President of PBA, Atty. Tantuico was Chairperson of PBA’s Committee on Legal Education, Lawyer’s Rights and Legal Ethics, a position she held for many years apart from being a Trustee.
Atty. Tantuico is an alumna of the University of the Philippines where she obtained her A.B. English degree (cum laude) in 1982 and Bachelor of Laws degree (Llb) in 1988. She was a member of the Editorial Board of the Philippine Law Journal. She holds a Certificat de Langue et de la Civilisation Francaise (Niveau Moyen) from the Sorbonne University in Paris which she obtained in 1982. She attended the Program of Instruction for Lawyers at the Harvard Law School in 1996.
Her law career began at the Supreme Court of the Philippines, as law clerk of then Senior Associate Justice Ameurfina Melencio–Herrera, her idol and mentor. She became Justice Herrera’s Private Secretary and Judicial Staff Head until Justice Herrera’s retirement in 1992. With Attys. Midas Marquez and Ricardo Dira, Atty. Fina co-edited and co-annotated a compilation of Justice Herrera’s Selected Opinions, published by the Supreme Court.
In 1995, she was appointed member of the Presidential Fact-Finding and Policy Advisory Commission for the Protection of Overseas Filipinos headed by then retired Justice Emilio A. Gancayco (the “Gancayco Commission”). This Commission was tasked by President Ramos to investigate the culpability of government officials in the case of Flor Contemplacion, an OFW sentenced to death in Singapore. After the Commission’s term ended, she joined the Legal Department of the then Westmont Bank upon the invitation of its President, Edgardo B. Espiritu. She rose to become the bank’s Assistant Vice President, Corporate Secretary and Head of Legal when the bank became known as United Overseas Bank Philippines, a subsidiary of UOB Singapore.
In 2001, she joined De La Cuesta De Las Alas & Tantuico focusing her practice on Corporate Law and Family Law litigation. Atty. Fina is Past President of the U.P. Women Lawyers’ Circle, Trustee and Corporate Secretary of the U.P. Law Alumni Foundation Inc. (UPLAF) and the Justice George A. Malcolm Memorial Foundation Inc. She is also currently a Professorial Lecturer at the College of Law of the University of the Philippines teaching Legal Bibliography and Legal Profession, as well as the College of Law of the Lyceum of the Philippines University where she teaches Communication Skills for Lawyers. She is married to Kenny Tantuico, a Senior Partner of Quasha Ancheta Pena & Nolasco. They have four children and a granddaughter.