Never judge lawyers by their law school
Former chief justice Artemio Panganiban paid tribute to former chief justice Claudio Teehankee who, in Olaguer vs. Military Commission, wrote for the Supreme Court and denounced the unspeakable crimes and atrocities of martial rule under the despicable dictator, Ferdinand E. Marcos (“Teehankee’s heroes,” Opinion, 4/9/17).
Summa cum laude in Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude in Legum Baccalaureus (LLB), both in Ateneo de Manila, Teehankee topped the bar exams in 1940 with a rating of 94.35 percent. The 16th chief justice was said to be a true-blue Atenean in the grandest of Ateneo Law School’s traditions, who lived up to the motto “Lux in Domino” (Light in the Lord).
Compared with the intellectual charlatans that present-day Ateneo Law School has produced, who somehow wormed their way to the Supreme Court—only to render meaningless the Filipinos’ “finest hour” in 1986 when they risked life and limb to occupy Edsa in the millions to put an end to the insatiable kleptocracy and heartless aristocracy of the Marcos family—Teehankee is greatly missed. He was one who really fought for truth and justice against all odds.
That Arturo Brion, Mariano del Castillo and Estella Perlas-Bernabe—prominent Ateneans all—joined their unscrupulous colleagues in the current Supreme Court in belittling Teehankee’s denunciation of Marcos, and bestowing upon the dead tyrant the rarefied “honor” of being immortalized as one among heroes in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, must be making Teehankee toss and turn in his grave. Their conspiracy has just enshrined a “false hero” in perpetuity.
But what do Brion, Del Castillo and Bernabe really care? Chances are, they all had previously worked in lucrative law firms that prostituted their expertise in the service of the dictator and helped conceal his family’s ill-gotten wealth, which the Philippine Commission on Good Government has estimated to be around $10 billion, the bulk of which still intact and legally impregnable.
So, never judge a lawyer by the school that spawned him/her.
ULYSSES B. UY, firstname.lastname@example.org
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