Beyond Performance in Bar Examinations

Address: Golden Jubilee of the ADDU Law School

On the occasion of of the Golden Jubilee Celebration of our Ateneo de Davao Law School it is a pleasure for me to extend the congratulations and gratitude of the Ateneo de Davao University Community to the administration, faculty, staff, studentry, and friends of the Law School.

I greet you with a deep sense of joy and gratitude. It was Ateneo de Davao Rector Fr. Hudson Mitchell, S.J. who founded the Law School in June, 1961. Since then, under the leadership of such stalwarts as Atty. Leon Garcia, Atty. Epiphanio E. Estrellado, Atty. Hildegardo Iñigo, and our present Dean Atty Manuel Quibod, the Law School has become one of the outstanding centers of law education not only in Mindanao but in the Philippines. We rejoice in the fact that this year the Law Education Board of the Supreme Court is conferring an Award for Legal Education on the ADDU Law School as among the “ten best performing law schools in the bar examination in the past 10 years.” It is also awarding our Dean Quibod a Plaque for Outstanding Law Dean.

In this context I also rejoice in all of our alumni and alumnae who have become outstanding legal professionals.

On this day, I add to my joy and gratitude for you the challenge of the newly reformulated vision-mission statement of the Ateneo de Davao University, asking that you incorporate this in the manner in which law is taught here. We must continue to do excellently at the bar, produce outstanding legal professionals in logical analysis, eristics, litigation, counseling, negotiations and the like.

But we must also subject our teaching of law and the conduct of our professional lives to the aspiration of our nation and of our Church for a more just and more humane society. We do not teach nor practice law in a vacuum.

The Law School must also appropriate for itself the Mission of the University “to form leaders for the Philippine Church and society, especially for Mindanao.” We are not in the business of just forming mindless employees, lackeys to the interests of the wealthy, local and the foreign, shrugging their shoulders to the damage done to the poor and defenseless in their thoughtless service of fees-paying clients.

Even our legal education must excel “in the promotion of the faith that does justice, in cultural sensitivity and transformation, and in inter-religious dialogue, particularly with Muslim and Lumad communities in Mindanao.” It must contribute to the promotion of “communities touched and transformed by the faith, communities of peace and human well-being, culturally resilient yet able to adapt to the modern world.” It must promote “social justice, gender equality, good governance, the creation of wealth and its equitable distribution” and “engage in environmental protection, the preservation of bio-diversity, and the promotion of renewable energy.” It must also promote “educational reform.”

Our mission as a law school of a Jesuit University is therefore not just about outstanding performance in bar examinations. It is about the formation of Filipino leaders legally equipped to contribute thoughtfully and compassionately to a better Filipino society in a harsh global world. Let our Law School therefore equip our students and graduates not only to pass the bar and serve bad laws, but to pass the bar and create good laws. Let them, for instance, help people to understand from our Mindanao experience how urgently the 1995 Law on Mining needs to be replaced by a Minerals Management Act that is more pro-Filipino, more pro-environment, and more sensitive to the integral development – and not the shameless exploitation – of the Lumads. Let them contribute to the passage of laws that better protect the environment and the rights of our Indigenous Peoples. Let our graduates choose to use their professional skills not only in the service of clients, but in the service of the common good, sensitive also to the legal needs of the poor and disadvantaged.

Congratulations on 50 years of outstanding legal education! May your next 50 years create outstanding lawyers obedient to the Christian moral imperative to create a society and culture reconciled with God, with humanity and with creation.

About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
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2 Responses to Beyond Performance in Bar Examinations

  1. Atty. Riza Racho-Baldovino says:

    May we live up to this, Father.

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