Florin Hilbay Biography

Florin Hilbay is a Filipino lawyer and politician. He is a candidate for senator of the Philippines in the next election in May, 2019.

Also known as Pilo, Florin Hilbay was born on March 19, 1974 in Tondo, Manila. His mother, Lydia, finished up to grade six only while his father was a high school graduate and worked as a messenger. He attended Holy Child Catholic School in Manila for his elementary education and the University of Santo Tomas for high school. He went to the same university for college and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics. Later, he finished a law degree from the University of the Philippines and topped the bar in 1999. He continued his studies and gained a Master’s degree in law from Yale University Law School.

In 2001, Florin became a Fulbright Visiting Scholar. Since then, he has been invited to lecture at several universities and institutes including Max Planck Institute in Germany. In 2002, he joined the Office of the Solicitor-General (OSG) under then Solicitor General Simeon Marcelo. Subsequently, he became a consultant of the Commission on Election, director of the Institute of Government and Law Reform of the University of the Philippines Law Center, editor-in-chief of the Philippine Law and Society Review, and editor of IBP Law Journal.

On August 20, 2014, Florin was appointed  by President Benigno Aquino III as acting solicitor-general and the appointment became permanent the following year. One of his most important job was to lead the country’s legal team in the arbitration case against China regarding the West Philippine Sea dispute. Another was his defense of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law before the Supreme Court.

After President Aquino’s term ended in 2016, Florin returned to the academic world as a constitutional law professor at University of the Philippines Diliman. He was also hired as part of the legal team that is defending Senator Leila De Lima in her drug-related case. In 2008, he handled the case of Senator Antonio Trillanes against the the government’s nullification of his amnesty. 

Florin Hilbay authored a book on the Philippine Constitution. It was published by the University of the Philippines Press. He is a staunch critic of the Duterte Administration regarding its policies on drugs, West Philippine Sea dispute with China, and human rights violations.

Florin Hilbay
Florin Hilbay (Credit: Rappler)

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