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Riesenfeld Symposium Special: Profile of El Cid Butuyan

Article by Karin Bashir

El Cid Butuyan’s journey, from his hometown in the northern province of Ramon, Isabela in the Philippines to serving as the former Head of a Unit at the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency (INTVP), is an inspiring story of determination and passion for public interest. Butuyan received his Bachelors in Political Science in 1994 from the University of the Philippines and went on to pursue a law degree at the University of the Philippines College of Law graduating with distinction in 1999. After completing his law degree, Butuyan, driven by his passion for public interest, forewent lucrative opportunities in the private sector to clerk for the Supreme Court of the Philippines. And, in 2001, though only in his 20s, Butuyan served as a member of the Private Prosecution Panel contributing to the landmark impeachment of the former Philippine President Joseph Estrada for reasons of grand corruption.

Butuyan’s commitment to fighting injustice and corruption did not go unnoticed. In 2003, Harvard Law School offered Butuyan an East Asian Legal Studies and Graduate Program Scholarship to pursue a Master degree in law (LLM). After graduating with his LLM in 2004, driven by his desire for international good governance and public accountability, Butuyan joined the World Bank at its headquarters in Washington DC. He began as Counsel in the Legal Department and played a critical role in the World Bank’s anti-corruption efforts and good governance reforms working on whistleblower protection and sanctioning of World Bank projects throughout the world. He then transitioned into a role as a senior litigation specialist at the World Bank, Integrity Vice Presidency (INTVP) and in 2014, he was appointed as Head of Investigations for East Asia and Pacific at the World Bank, INTVP. Butuyan continued his work investigating and prosecuting fraud and corruption in World Bank projects and after three years as Head of EAP, he entered into his current position as Head of the CDU division at the World Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency.

In addition to his transformative anti-corruption work at the World Bank, Butuyan has also assistedAfrican states in their anti-corruption efforts and Central Asian and Eastern European countries in advancing procurement reform. And, in 2016, Butuyan was appointed by the former President of the Philippines to be Competition Commissioner and help develop the newly established Philippine antitrust agency.

Awards and Leadership

In 2007, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan awarded  Butuyan’s Harvard’s Wasserstein Fellowship in recognition of his inspiring impact in the anti-corruption space and outstanding contribution and dedication to public interest. The award honors legal professionals who have used their education to advance social justice and invites the fellow to deliver lectures on public interest and mentor Harvard students.

Butuyan also serves as Co-Chair of the ABA International Committee- Criminal Justice Section and is a law lecturer specializing in Transnational Corruption at Harvard Law and the University of Hawaii. Additionally, he is a founding Advisory Board Member of the Harvard Law and International Development Society (LIDS).



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