Closing remarks of retired Chief Justice ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN, Chairman of the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity, during the Formal Award Ceremony for the LibPros Scholarship Program at the University of the Philippines new campus at the Bonifacio Global City, Taguig on December 1, 2016
We cannot end this wonderful launching ceremony for our Scholarship Program without thanking the institutions and the people who made it possible.
Thank you, CJ Sereno
First, we thank Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno, who not only chaired our board of judges so ably but also delivered a truly stimulating and challenging speech as our guest of honor just now. She certainly gave us a lot of healthy and digestible food for our cerebral delight and immediate action. She specially addressed the crème of the Philippine legal universe, particularly the deans of the various law schools, and of course, our LibPros scholars who constitute the best of the current breed of third year law students. I am amazed how she can remember so accurately the “give and take” between the candidates and the applicants during the interview.
Truly, CJ Sereno took the responsibility of judging the applicants very seriously because she invited them into the inner sanctum, the sacred epicenter of the highest court of the land. To interview the candidates, she opened the doors of the Court’s three conference rooms that are normally reserved exclusively for sessions of the three Divisions of the Court. When justices convene in these hallowed halls, they meet strictly by themselves, without clerks, stenographers or secretaries. Only the five members of the Division deliberate and decide on the cases. Perhaps unknown to many people, including lawyers, the Court’s three Divisions look into and judge about 85 percent of all cases, while the Court en banc handles only about 15 percent, which of course are the most important cases.
Maraming salamat po again, Madame Chief Justice, for spearheading our scholarship program, for chairing the board of judges for our first batch of scholars, and for inspiring the legal academe in promoting and defending liberty and prosperity under the rule of law. Palakpakan po nating muli si CJ Sereno, the first woman to head our judiciary.
Thank you judges, sponsors
We are equally indebted to the other judges who spent valuable time and effort examining the credentials of our applicants. They have already been introduced earlier, but let me once more acknowledge them, in the alphabetical order: FLP president Evelyn T. Dumdum, former education secretary and former president of the Far Eastern University and of the Asian Institute of Management, Dr. Edilberto C. de Jesus, Tan Yan Kee Foundation legal counsel Maria Cecilia L. Pesayco, and PALS (Philippine Association of Law Schools) president, Dean Maria Soledad D. Mawis of the Lyceum of the Philippines College of Law. We were looking for only 10 scholars but the board of judges was so impressed by the applicants, they recommended 11. The Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity (FLP) happily agreed.
We also thank our co-sponsor, the Tan Yan Kee Foundation, for providing much of the funds for the program. We trust that the TYK Foundation will continue to help us in searching and granting 10 more scholars every school year.
We likewise say thank you to our host, the University of the Philippines-BGC campus, especially to Dean Danny Concepcion, who will be the president of UP starting this coming February.
Special thanks go to the parents of our scholars. They have every reason to smile and be happy because they reared wonderful children who will not only be lawyers, but brilliant and ethical advocates. I envy you because you will soon have lawyers in your family. Unfortunately for me, none of our five children took up law. My only hope to have lawyers in my family is my 10 grandchildren who I am trying to indoctrinate in the noble profession of law.
I also deeply appreciate the effort of our 11 scholars for painstakingly going through the selection process. Your scholarship awards are just the beginning. I expect you to graduate with honors, be among the top 10 in the bar examination of 2018, and most importantly, become competent and ethical lawyers who will safeguard liberty and nurture prosperity under the rule of law.
Let me finally say “Maraming salamat po” to all you nice people in our audience who took time out from your busy schedules to witness these awarding ceremonies.
About the FLP
Now, a few words about our Foundation. The FLP was organized in December 2011 during my 75th birthday to perpetuate the legal philosophy of safeguarding the liberty and nurturing the prosperity of our people under the rule of law.
FLP believes that justice and jobs, freedom and food, ethics and economics, democracy and development, nay, liberty and prosperity must always go together; one is useless without the other. The attainment of this dual goal necessitates a keen understanding and appreciation of the intertwining relationship of law and business, and of regulation and entrepreneurship.
I am happy that our advocacy has merited the support of the business, legal and philanthropic communities. Through generous donations from First Philippine Holdings Corp., Lopez Holdings Corp, PLDT, Meralco, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation and San Miguel Corp. president Ramon S. Ang, FLP was able to acquire over 700 square meters of condominium space in Salcedo Village, Makati. About 90 percent of this space is leased out to support FLP’s administrative needs, and the balance it uses as its headquarters. In this way, it is self-supporting administratively, though it still needs financial assistance for its programs and projects.
Apart from the LibPros scholarships, the FLP – together with the Ayala Group – is also sponsoring a dissertation contest among third and fourth law students. Prizes include P300,000 for the champion, P200,000 for the second place, P100,000 each for three honorable mentions plus P20,000 each for 20 qualifying entries.
This contest is open to law students nationwide, unlike the scholarship program which is limited to qualified applicants from eligible law schools, i.e., those that obtained a passing percentage higher than the overall average passing percentage in the last bar exam. The eligible law schools are listed in the FLP website.
FLP has other projects. With the Metrobank Foundation and the Metro Pacific Investment Corp. as cosponsors, FLP has created 10 professorial chairs that at present are held by the law deans of Ateneo de Manila University, Far Eastern University, University of San Carlos, University of the Philippines, University of Santo Tomas, De La Salle University, Silliman University and University of the Cordilleras plus the chancellor of the Philippine Judicial Academy. Many of them are present in today’s ceremonies. The next professorial lecture will be delivered in Cebu City on December 9 by University of San Carlos Dean of Law Joan Largo.
Come December 20 at 5:30 pm, FLP will sponsor the staging of the “Ageless Passion,” a musical of 18 original songs composed by our country’s foremost musical genius, Ryan Cayabyab. The lyrics were written by Jeff Agustin, who used to work as a clerk in my chambers in the Supreme Court. Now, he is finishing his doctoral degree at the University of Westminster in London. The musical is produced by Donna May Lina and directed by Bart Guingona, with an all-star cast assisted by the Manila Symphony Orchestra. It will be held on December 20, starting at 5:30 pm at the brand new Maybank Performing Arts Theater here also at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. Attendance is by invitation and I am cordially inviting you now. If interested, please contact our FLP secretariat.
I have already said too much for the short time allotted to me, But let me end by inviting all of you to simple merienda at the adjoining room where you can mix freely and maybe ask a question or two from our 11 Libpros scholars. Cheers!
[*] Closing remarks of retired Chief Justice ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN, Chairman of the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity, during the Formal Award Ceremony for the LibPros Scholarship Program at the University of the Philippines new campus at the Bonifacio Global City, Taguig on December 1, 2016