To teach law in the grand manner
“Kung hindi tayo kikibo, sino ang kikibo? Kung hindi tayo kikilos, sino ang kikilos? Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?”
A slogan lifted from the editorial column by Abraham “Ditto” Sarmiento, Jr. who was the Philippine Collegian editor-in-chief in 1975-1976 and appeared in its most famous front page.
During Martial Law, Kule defied the media blackout by going underground, served as voice of defiance and became part of the “mosquito press.”
The same slogan was quoted by our professor and Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Marvic Leonen during his speech at the UP College of Law homecoming last November 17, 2023 at Dusit Thani Hotel. The event was hosted by our Batch 1998 as the silver jubilarian with the theme “Pa98alik-tanaw”.
“I hope you reflect on how you as individuals and as a community responded to advocate for what is right and just. Acknowledging the many gaps in our country: the growing inequality and poverty, the lack of access to justice for the marginalized, and the existing imbalance across all sectors, including the justice system, which unfairly favors the rich and powerful,” Leonen said in his message.
As one enters UP College of Law, the imposing words of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. welcomed us to Malcolm Hall: “The business of a law school is not sufficiently described when you merely say that it is to teach law or make lawyers. It is to teach law in a grand manner, and to make great lawyers.”
The UP Law was among the first seven Colleges established after the foundation of UP on June 18, 1908 through Act No.1870.
UP Law has its fine share in Philippine history as it produced four presidents. Fourteen out of the 27 Supreme Court chief justices are from UP Law.
“Pa98alik-tanaw” is an invitation to do the nostalgic stroll down memory lane and remember our fond experiences in the College.
Reunions are the best time to rekindle old friendships, to renew ties that bind us, and to reminisce about school days.
Law school years were indeed difficult moments, but the best and memorable times were spent with those who shared the experience. Those years were full of vivid memories that still bring smiles and funny thoughts to each one, many years hence.
With excitement and trepidation, we pursued the dream of becoming (great) lawyers.
Traversing the path of legal education was hard to the exponential power, as we immersed ourselves in law books and cases, faced terror professors, pore through volumes and pages of SCRAs, lined up for photocopying at the law library, hurried through classes, reviewed and crammed through lessons, and survived recitations.
Encounters with law professors during the dreaded recitations involved answers that range from direct lifting from the SCRAs “in the original,” for those who studied, to inventions through guess work for those who didn’t. Despite the torture, most of the memorable moments in law school were funny blunders during class recitations.
Passing the bar exams is obviously not that easy and seems to be the crowning glory of a student’s life.
With 39.63 percent or 1,465 of the 3,697 examinees passers that year, three members of the batch landed as topnotchers for the 1998 bar exam : Norge Patacsil (2nd), Franchette Acosta (3rd) and Raj Palacios (5th).
People attend law school with a vast array of interests and experiences and go on to pursue an equally wide variety of careers.
Batch 1998 produced academicians, judges, arbiters, private and public sector lawyers, government officials, politicians and all types of business professionals across industries.
I belong to two batches 1996 and 1998 as I entered UP Law in 1992 but I took the bar in 1998 instead of 1996.
I chose to be a working student under the evening classes program. As a reporter for a major news outfits, I would make my coverage starting 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. then rush to UP for my evening classes. I would read my cases while inside the moving bus from Diliman to Las Pinas under the strongest light source.
“Act with courage and serve well with meaningful resolve. Be always on the side of integrity and speak up against any form of injustice and discrimination,” Leonen said. “Show compassion and use the law to empower others. These should be your tasks as lawyers. These are what the people of this country need from you.”
The homecoming is an opportunity to celebrate the way the UP spirit continues to be lived out in our lecture halls, classrooms, and offices, and indeed around the world – “may giting at tapang.
Lawyers, as professionals, are expected to uphold the ethical and moral values that are said to be essential to the fabric that holds society together.
“You have come a long way from your days in Malcolm Hall, and I hope you can face each other and say you have served this country with the honor and excellence expected of an Iskolar ng Bayan,” Leonen said.
Passion for the law is dedication to do what is right.
(Peyups is the moniker of University of the Philippines. Atty. Dennis R. Gorecho heads the seafarers’ division of the Sapalo Velez Bundang Bulilan law offices. For comments, e-mail [email protected], or call 0917-5025808 or 0908-8665786.)
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