Hon. Estela Perlas-Bernabe

Supreme Court

San Juan City, Philippines

Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe is the Regional Director for Asia of the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ). She has served in the judiciary of the Philippines for 20 uninterrupted years, starting as Metropolitan Trial Court Judge from March 1996 to January 2000, then as Regional Trial Court Judge until March 2004 when she was appointed as Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals. After more than 7 years in the appellate court, she was promoted as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in September 2011. She holds the distinction of being installed by 4 different Philippine presidents over the course of her meteoric rise up the judicial ladder.
Justice Bernabe earned her degree in Bachelor of Science in Commerce major in Banking and Finance in 1972 from St. Paul College of Manila finishing magna cum laude. She then obtained her law degree from the prestigious Ateneo Law School graduating Class Salutatorian in 1976. Justice Bernabe was the Examiner in Mercantile Law for the Philippine Bar of 2007. She also taught Practice Court and Evidence at the Ateneo College of Law from 2009 to 2011.
Justice Bernabe has extensive experience in Commercial Law. As a judge, she handled a Special Commercial Court, which exercises jurisdiction over violations of intellectual property rights, as well as intra-corporate disputes. She is currently the Chairperson of the Supreme Court Sub-Committee on Commercial Courts, which was responsible in formulating the 2013 Financial Rehabilitation Rules of Procedure and the 2015 Financial Liquidation and Suspension of Payments Rules of Procedure for Insolvent Debtors. She is now educating judges all over the Philippines on these procedural rules, in collaboration with the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA). She previously served the PHILJA as Vice-Chairman of the Commercial Law Department, and conducted lectures as Professor II. Before joining the judiciary, she worked at various corporations, namely, China Banking Corporation, Paramount Finance Corporation and the National Home Mortgage & Finance Corporation.