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With Due Respect

Why Tagle called to work 24/7 in Vatican

Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta will chair the board of judges who will select the scholars of the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity (FLP), while Senior Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe will head the board of judges of the FLP dissertation writing contest.

CJ Peralta’s panel will choose 20 law scholars nationwide. In partnership with the Tan Yan Kee Foundation, the FLP will award each scholar P200,000 covering tuition fees, books and monthly stipend. The FLP’s first batch of scholars all passed the bar exams last year, with two landing in the top 10—Sean James Borja, first place, and Katrina Monica Gaw, fifth place.

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The FLP dissertation writing contest aims to encourage more literature on my core philosophy of safeguarding liberty and nurturing prosperity under the rule of law.

In partnership with the Ayala Corporation, FLP will award the first place winner P300,000; the second placer, P200,000; the three third placers, P100,000 each; and the 20 finalists, P20,000 each. Their faculty advisers will also receive cash prizes. For details, log on to www.libpros.com.

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Congratulations to new Supreme Court Justices Mario V. Lopez and Edgardo L. Delos Santos. I remember Justice Lopez quite distinctly because he took his oath as a Court of Appeals magistrate before me, as chief justice, on June 9, 2006. Another incumbent, Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo, also took his oath before me on Jan. 6 of the same year as a Sandiganbayan magistrate. I have followed their careers, and I am happy to say that both have lived up to their oaths.

Justice Delos Santos is the first graduate of the University of San Carlos and the first from the appellate station in Cebu to reach the highest court of the land.

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I felicitate His Eminence, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, for having been named prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, in addition to his current post as president of Caritas International. This elevates him to the Cabinet of the Pope. Under Vatican protocol, he is regarded as one of the top five among the 120 cardinals of the Church. Holders of this post are nicknamed “Red Pope” to show the vastness and delicacy of their work.

After presiding at the Mass at the Manila Cathedral last Dec. 9, he was given a thunderous standing ovation by the faithful (including Ambassador Tita de Villa and me). Emotional and teary, he was torn between his love for the Archdiocese of Manila and his vow of obedience to the Church.

He told me during the private lunch thereafter that he would probably leave in February 2020 to work full-time in the Vatican. I replied that by calling him to be by his side 24/7, the Pope is preparing him to be the next pontiff.

Godspeed to the Papal Nuncio, Gabriele Giordano Caccia, who concelebrated the Mass. He will leave on Dec. 22 to assume his new posting in the United Nations.

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May I also congratulate Don Ramon S. Ang, head honcho of the San Miguel conglomerate, for being the first and only Filipino recognized by Bloomberg, the leading US media organization, as one of the 50 people in the world “who defined 2019.”

I likewise greet Felipe “Henry” L. Gozon, who celebrated his 80th birthday last Dec. 8. I met him 40 years ago when we were active law practitioners. As a sitting Supreme Court justice, I repeatedly invited him to join us. But he opted to lead GMA Network’s phenomenal growth in reach, ratings, revenues, profit and philanthropy.

I also hail National Artist F. Sionil Jose, who marked his 95th birthday on Dec. 3 still healthy, happy and witty. He was one of my favorite clients during my early years as a practicing lawyer.

The counsel of last resort of many government and business leaders, Estelito P. Mendoza, will turn 90 on Jan. 5, 2020. We have been friends for 50 years. When I was in the Supreme Court, he won some and lost some cases with me, but our friendship has remained unperturbed. Even now, he would occasionally visit me and ask me to challenge his legal strategies before finalizing them.

Finally, I felicitate my friend, Amando M. Tetangco Jr., for being the only Bangko Sentral governor to be conferred the “Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star” by the government of Japan. May he remain a singular model of excellence, integrity, probity and humility for all our leaders.

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TAGS: artemio v. panganiban, Diosdado M. Peralta, Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe, Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity, luis Antonio tagle, With Due Respect
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