L to R: Belhurvier Ricablanca, Carlos Padrigo, Raphael Chua, Marco Pantaleon, Miguel Rillorta, Isaac Tambunting, Hon. Hiromichi Matsuo, Atty. Oliver Tuazon, JP Socrates, Alfonso David, Paul Uy, Robby de Guzman, and Botan Belen

Following what has become a yearly tradition for Inquies Pro Lege since its inception in 2014, the midterm program concluded with a graduation ceremony last July 21 at Samar Study Center. Like previous IPL graduations, this year’s culminating ceremony served as an opportunity for the staff and participants to celebrate the program’s finale with their family and friends, and to express their gratitude for everyone who contributed in its success.

Mr. Isaac Tammbunting giving the opening remarks

In his welcoming remarks, Course Director Isaac Tambunting thanked the people who made the success of the course possible, especially Divina Law, through its Managing Partner, Dean Nilo Divina of the UST Faculty of Civil Law. The law firm has generously given financial support to IPL since its inception in 2014. Mr. Tambunting  also stressed in his speech the IPL’s goal “of instilling in [its] participants, the desire to never stop learning and exploring the breadth and depth, the majesty and the beauty of the law.” He further noted that “[though] there is no substitute for the hard work which inevitably comes with being a law student, Inquies Pro Lege hopes to supplement your learnings while allowing you to enjoy the study of law at the same time.”

Hon. Hiromichi Matsuo delivering his graduation speech

The evening was graced with the presence of the guest of honor and keynote speaker Hiromichi Matsuo, the First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines. Mr. Matsuo gave an inspiring speech about the Philippines’ necessity for leaders who are morally upright, and how the Inquies Pro Lege’s emphasis on values & character formation addresses this need. He also challenged the graduates to become righteous lawyers in the future. (Read more)

Chosen to give a response on behalf of the graduates, Paul Uy, an incoming freshman at the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) School of Law and Governance, delivered a speech centering on his experience as a participant. Mr. Uy mentioned how IPL was, for him, an eye-opening experience. He related his encounters with the different speakers such as Atty. Nonoy Tanchuling, Atty. Raymond Fortun, and Vice President Leni Robredo, and how their stories enriched his knowledge of the reality about the Philipppines and its problems that need to be solved.

“In the last three weekends, I can definitely say that we have all grown to become more restless. Not because we’re not used to waking up a bit earlier or because we had to listen to three-hour lectures in the morning and the afternoon in the middle of our summer breaks. We’ve grown more restless because our eyes have been opened to the reality of the plight of our country and we realized that we are the ones who have to fix it.”

Mr. Paul Uy giving the Response from the Graduates

Mr. Uy further noted that not only did IPL give him a preview of the subjects he will be taking as he enters law school this August. More than that, he and his fellow participants–to quote the words in his speech– “were able to learn that just because the system encourages that we conform to its malpractices for the sake of self-interest and tradition doesn’t mean that we should bend over for fear of failure. [Our] mentors have proven that we can succeed without compromising our integrity, and the knowledge that this existing system will do its best to make us bend should definitely make us restless, but I would say that it is a restlessness that we should gladly embrace.”

Atty. Tuazon giving his message

Finally, the Universitas Foundation, Inc. President and CEO Atty. Oliver M. Tuazon, MSc, thanked and congratulated this year’s staff–which is entirely composed of IPL alumni–for their efforts in organizing the IPL 2018. Having founded the course and actively taken part in organizing it for the past four years, Atty. Tuazon gladly noted that the participants this year are composed of students from different universities. Whereas, previously, most of the participants came from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Faculty of Civil Law, IPL this year has participants from the University of the Philippines, San Sebastián College, UST, and UA&P. He expressed his hope that more students from other Philippine universities would join IPL in the succeeding years.

The IPL staff, participants, and their guests.

NOTA BENE: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and the speakers mentioned in the article, and not necessarily to the Foundation.

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