“AMBROSIO BIBBY PADILLA was born in Lingayen, Pangasinan on December 7, 1910, the eighth of 11 children to Dr. Nicanor Padilla and Ysabel Bibby. On May 4, 1941, he married the beautiful Lourdes “Lily” de las Alas, the eldest daughter of Don Antonio de las Alas who served as Secretary of Finance under President Manuel L. Quezon. They were blessed with 10 children: 6 boys and 4 girls.
“Paddy (as he would be fondly remembered) was an exemplary and gifted student, possessing an outstanding scholastic record. He graduated summa cum laude from the Ateneo de Manila University with a degree of Bachelor of Arts; finished his Bachelor of Laws as salutatorian at the University of the Philippines; and placed third overall in the 1934 bar examinations. He earned his Doctorate Degree in Civil Laws (D.C.L.) meritissimus at the University of Sto. Tomas.
“An accomplished and well-rounded athlete and sportsman, in particular as a basketball player, Paddy was captain and playing coach of the national basketball team that placed fifth in the 1936 Berlin World Olympic Games, the best finish ever achieved by the country, losing only once to the United States. He immeasurably promoted and contributed to the development of sports by serving with distinction a number of positions, among them as President of the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation (PAAF), President Emeritus of the Asean Basketball Confederation (ABC), and Chairman of the National Olympic Committee (NOC).
“Paddy had a brilliant career as law practitioner, professor, reviewer and prolific author of books in political and constitutional law, public international law and civil and criminal law, earning for himself not only the respect and admiration of the people who are knowledgeable on law and his clients, but also even his adversaries. He was a professor and educator with a passion to serve truth and justice.
“He had a distinguished, untainted and exemplary career in public service. Guided by his tenet of “Morality in public life, Morality in private life”, he ably and with integrity served the government in various positions. His first stint in government was when he was personally chosen by President Ramon Magsaysay to serve simultaneously as Solicitor General and Government Corporate Counsel, from 1954-1957. Later, he became an outstanding senator of the Republic for three consecutive terms – 1957, 1963 and 1969, the last term interrupted by the advent of martial law.
“Notwithstanding his stature and brushing aside the dangers arising from his opposition to the martial law regime, he vigorously fought the dictatorship with his legal prowess and belief in freedom.
“With the consequent return to democratic rule in the country, and in recognition of his unrelenting contribution to public service, he was appointed in 1986 by President Corazon C. Aquino as member and eventually elected as vice chairman of the historic Constitutional Commission which drafted the 1987 Constitution which was overwhelming ratified by the people.
“Together with his ever-loving wife Lily, they nurtured a closely knit family founded on love, unity, respect and devotion to each other.