The President

Elected to the presidency of Wesleyan University-Philippines (WU-P), Judge Benjamin D. Turgano (Ret.) brings with him his faithful witness, as a United Methodist lay person, to Jesus Christ and His church.

From a Christian Family

Born in Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur on October 21, 1954 to a local preacher, Samuel M. Turgano and Hildegarda Dumlao Turgano, Judge Turgano seeks to uphold and promote the values of the Wesleyan legacy of education.

Scholastics and Professional Background

His academic performance is noteworthy. He studied in the University of the Philippines, Baguio, and Baguio Colleges Foundation, and earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 1976. He acquired his Bachelor of Laws degree in the University of the Philippines in 1980. As a student, he received scholarships like Christian Social Action Scholarship, Ecumenical Scholarship Grant from Evangeliche Kirche in Deutschland and the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church.

He was a student assistant from 1977-1979 to a legal luminary, outstanding senator and candidate to the Philippine presidency, the late Honorable Senator Jovito R. Salonga. On May 4, 1981 he was admitted to the Philippine Bar.

Judge Turgano served in various capacities in both government and private sectors. He was the University Legal Counsel of the University of the Philippines during the term of President Eduardo J. Angara in 1981 and 1982. He worked with the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) as a Resident Representative and Fiscal Agent for the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, and La Union during the Chairmanship of Senator Jovito R. Salonga. He was the Head Executive Assistant for Legal Affairs in the office of Senator Heherson T. Alvarez.

He went into private practice for twelve (12) years, and had extensive experience in litigation, involving civil, criminal, labor, and admiralty cases. In 1996 he was appointed as Regional Trial Courd Judge with general jurisdiction.

When the task of the Securities and Exchange Commission to try and decide intra-corporate controversies was transfer to Regional Trial Courts, and Commercial Courts were established, he was designated to preside over the Commercial Court of Laoag City and Ilocos Norte. It was in this field that he received intensive training from the Philippine Judicial Academy, in cooperation with other agencies, such as USAID, the American Bar Association-Rule of Law Initiative and the European Union.

From 2004-2006 he was designated by the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines to serve in concurrent capacity as Acting Presiding Judge of the Special Commercial Court of Manila, RTC Branch 46, and Acting Presiding Judge of the Special Commercial Court of the Cities of Angeles and San Fernando, and the province of Pampanga. Another designation of the Supreme Court upon him was to be the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court for Ilocos Norte and Laoag City from 2011 to 2014. And then, form 2015 until the time of his retirement on January 31, 2018, he served as the Acting Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 28 in San Fernando City, La Union.

Judge Turgano also has intensive immersion in institutional planning and governace in faith-based organizations. He served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Bethany Hospital in San Fernando City, La Union from the time he was a student in the University of the Philippines up to the present. For more than ten years, he served of the Board of Trustees of Union Christian College in San Fernando City, La Union. He was the Vice Chairman (1998-2002) and later the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (2002-2008) of Mary Johnston Hospital in Manila. He has been a Trustee and Secretary of Northern Christian College from 2002 up to the present. He also provided assistance in the organization and incorporation of the board of Pension of the Philippine Central Conference of the United Methodist Church. He authored the Clergy Retirement Pension Program, as well as its implementing rules and regulation. He chairs the National Bible Quiz, a biennial program jointly sponsored by the Philippine Central Conference Board of Christian Education and Discipleship (BCED) and the Philippine Bible Society. He also heads the Ilokano Hymnal Committee of the BCED. Aside from these, he is a member of numerous civic and fraternal groups.

Life in the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ

Judge Turgano is a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ and a committed and active member of the United Methodist Church. His spirituality permeates like leaven in all secular activities.

As a young Christian Leader, Judge Turgano was chairperson of the Division (later Commission) on Youth and Student Ministry of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines in 1977-1981.

He became a member of McGill Memorial United Methodist Church in Sevilla, Sta Cruz, Ilocos Sur where he was the Lay Leader in 1991-1996. He became its delegate to the Northwest Annual Philippine Conference (NWPAC) of the United Methodist Church in 1994-1997. He was elected Chancellor of this Conference in 1996-2000. He was consecrated a Diaconal Minister of this Conference on June 4, 1997. He served in other capacities at NWPAC: such as being a member of its Board of Trustees in 1996-2000; and member, Board of Ordained Ministry in 1998-2000.

He joined Fairview Park UMC as an affiliate member in 1996 and served in various capacities till now.

He became a delegate to the 20th Session of The Philippine Central Conference of the United Methodist Church (PCC-UMC) in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya in 2012, when he was elected as the first Lay Leader of the Philippine Central Conference for the Quadrennium 2013-2016 as well as its Chairperson of the Committee of Episcopacy.

The procedures for the making of the PCC-UMC Quadrennial Pension Plan as a regular item in the PCC agenda was one of many actions instituted in 2012 when he was the Chair of the Committee on Plan of Organization and Rules of Order (CPORO) and led its implementation.

The Challenge of WU-P Presidency

With his new role as the President of Wesleyan University-Philippines, Judge Turgano vows to upgrade the academic performance of the University to address the fast-changing phases of the digital age and to prepare the students to meet of the future Philippine society, like the automation of systems, the care of the environment and the challenges of climate change. He will institute measures for a more efficient and transparent governance. On top of these, he will endeavor to unite piety and learning in the University, and heal the tension plaguing the University community.

Judge Turgano is married to the former Rose Mary Lou J. Javillonar, a registered nurse, their union was blessed with three children: Maria Estrella J. Turgano, a lawyer; Samuel Rufino J. Turgano, a lawyer, and Lois Kathleen Mary J. Turgano, a registered nurse. He was a father-in-law to Princess C. Pasana-Turgano (Mrs. Samuel Rufino J. Turgano) who is also a practicing lawyer. He is a caring grandfather to Samuelle Rose Regina P. Turgano.

The commitment to live a Christ-like life that emphasizes servant leadership, humility, honesty and integrity which sustained him in everything he has done is the inspiring, sustaining, and enabling spirit that constrains him as he embarks on his new role as the President of Wesleyan University-Philippines. With his election by the Board of Trustees on January 24, 2019, Judge Benjamin Dumlao Turgano became the twelfth president of the University.

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