The FLP: a Backgrounder

The Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity (FLP) aims to perpetuate the core judicial philosophy of Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban (Ret.) that jurists and lawyers should not only safeguard the liberty of our people but must also nurture their prosperity under the rule of law. To him, 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 involves an understanding of the intertwining relationship of law and business; and of regulation and entrepreneurship.

The Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity was formally organized as a juridical person when the Securities and Exchange Commission issued its Certificate of Incorporation on October 27, 2011.

Its founding Board of Trustees is composed of Artemio V. Panganiban (retired Chief Justice) Elenita C. Panganiban (former Associate Dean of the Asian Institute of Management), Hilario G. Davide Jr. (retired Chief Justice ), Washington Z. Sycip (founder of the Asian Institute of Management and Sycip Gorres Velayo and Company), Edilberto C. De Jesus (former Philippine Secretary of Education and President of the Asian Institute of Management), Jennifer J. Manalili (Commissioner at the Professional Regulation Commission of the Philippines), Maria Elena P. Yaptangco (President and Chief Executive of The Baron Travel Corporation), Maria Theresa P. Mañalac (Professor at the Asian Institute of Management), and Joel Emerson J. Gregorio (FLP’s Corporate Secretary).

Elected as its first batch of officers were Artemio V. Panganiban, Chairman of the Board, Maria Elena P. Yaptangco, President; Evelyn T. Dumdum, Executive Vice President; Elenita C. Panganiban, Treasurer; and Joel Emerson J. Gregorio, Corporate Secretary. Elected chair of the various standing committees were Artemio V. Panganiban (Executive Committee), Washington Z. Sycip (Finance), Hilario G. Davide Jr. (Governance), and Edilberto C. De Jesus (Education).

Mr. Chief Justice Panganiban formally and publicly launched the Foundation during his 75th Birthday Celebrations during which an original musical concert titled “Ageless Passion” was staged at the Meralco Theater in Pasig City on December 20, 2011, featuring six original musical compositions (plus an overture) of maestro Ryan Cayabyab and Kristian Jeff Agustin. During his address, he said FLP aims to perpetuate his core judicial philosophy that jurists and lawyers should not only safeguard the liberty of our people but must also nurture their prosperity under the rule of law. To him, justice and jobs; freedom and food; ethics and economics; democracy and development; liberty and prosperity must always go together; one is useless without the other. The attainment of this dual goal involves an understanding of the interlocking relationship of law and business, and of regulation and entrepreneurship.

Mr. Chief Justice Panganiban believes that in litigations involving the civil liberty of our people, the scales of justice should weigh heavily against the government and in favor of the people, pursuant to the doctrine of strict scrutiny. But in matters affecting the economy of the country and the prosperity of our people, courts – in the absence of grave abuse of discretion – must defer to the Executive and Legislative Branches of government, in accordance with the principle of deferential interpretation of laws and executive issuances. The responsibility for promoting and developing the country’s economy rests primarily on its political leaders. Should they fail in this duty, our people can replace them during periodic elections.

He also believes in private enterprise as the engine of economic growth. Thus, government must promote entrepreneurship and encourage private capital. At the same time, the government has the duty of overseeing the fair and equitable distribution of private wealth to all our people, especially the poor and marginalized. The government, likewise, has the responsibility of enlarging the areas of economic growth for the benefit of future generations of Filipinos. Thus, the economic pie must not only be fairly divided but must also be enlarged so that more benefits could be spread to more people under the social justice principle of giving more law to those who have less in life.

Accordingly, to achieve its goals, the Foundation shall organize, undertake and/or support the following projects and activities: (1) legal assistance, legal research and legal aid; (2) seminars, workshops, trainings, classes, debates, moot courts, oratorical jousts, and other forms of instruction; (3) professorial chairs, educational scholarships and fellowships; (4) curricula on liberty and prosperity under the rule of law; and (5) a Center for Liberty and Prosperity.

As first major project, the Foundation is sponsoring 10 Professorial Chairs in nine of the leading law schools in the country and one in the Philippine Judicial Academy. Called the Chief Justice Panganiban Professorial Chairs on Liberty and Prosperity, the program immediately merited co-sponsorships from the Metrobank Foundation and the Metro Pacific Investments Corporation.

The first recipients are Dean Sedfrey Candelaria (Ateneo de Manila Law School), Dean Danilo Concepcion (UP College of Law), Dean Andres Bautista (FEU Institute of Law), Dean Jose Manuel Diokno (De La Salle University College of Law), Dean Nilo Divina (UST Faculty of Civil Law), and Chancellor Adolfo Azcuna (Philippine Judicial Academy), Justice Eduardo Antonio Nachura (Arellano University), Dean Joan Largo (University of San Carlos), Dean Reynaldo Agranzamendez (University of the Cordilleras), and Dean Mikhail Lee Maxino (Silliman University).

The Chief Justice Panganiban Professorial Chairs on Liberty and Prosperity was formally launched on September 18, 2012 at the Metrobank Auditorium, Metrobank Plaza, Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City with Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno as Guest of Honor and Speaker.