MESSAGE of Senior Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe

* Message delivered by Supreme Court Senior Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe,  Chairman, Board of Judges, FLP Dissertation Writing Contest 2019-2020, during the Awarding Ceremonies of the Bar Topnotchers and other Bar Exam Passers, Honor Graduates, Scholarship Awardees, Dissertation Writing Contest Winners and Finalists held via Zoom videoconferencing at 10:00 am on June 12, 2020.


Our esteemed Chief Justice, Diosdado Peralta; former Chief Justice and Chairman of the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity (FLP) Artemio Panganiban; FLP Board of Trustees and Judges of the Scholarship Program and Dissertation Writing Contest; today’s honorees and awardees; distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

First off, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all the ten FLP scholars who passed the 2019 Bar Examinations, of which I was Chairperson, and especially to the two who landed in the top 10.  I understand that the first batch of FLP scholars who took the 2018 Bar Examinations also registered a 100% passing percentage with two topnotchers as well. Indeed, these accolades only reinforce the fact that the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity only rears the best and the brightest.

But more than nurturing academic excellence, what I find admirable is the FLP’s commitment to instill in our next generation of lawyers a greater awareness of how the ideals of liberty and prosperity can effectively advance our legal system. This commitment gains utmost significance especially during these trying times, which demand more innovative solutions for society to cope and move forward.

There is an old proverb which goes, “to bend a bamboo, start when it is still a shoot.” With simple elegance, this saying poetically evokes the wisdom of cultivating values while one is young. It is also a perfect depiction of what the FLP strives to pursue. It amazes me that FLP Chairman, and my good friend, CJ Art, and the rest of the founding members of the FLP, continue to take an active interest in the molding of the next generation of lawyers.  Their desire to cultivate a passion for excellence among younger lawyers is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

In the spirit of this laudable mission, I therefore take this opportunity to pose a challenge to our FLP scholars and dissertation entrants.  Take a proactive stance and be mindful of the bigger picture – that is, to always contribute for the greater good.  In this way, the greater and farther will be your reach in giving to those who have less in life, more in law. I also implore all of you to consistently lead by example, not just now but also in the future. Never forget your FLP roots even as you go along with your professional careers and pursue your own endeavors.

Truly, it has been a great pleasure on my part to be the Chairperson of the Board of Judges of the Dissertation Writing Contest for two years in a row now. Both times, we were presented with an equally impressive selection of propositions expanding on the precept:  protection of liberty and nurturing of prosperity under the rule of law.  Of the 31 entries submitted this year, the Screening Committee shortlisted 9 entries, from which the Board selected 5 works deserving of the top prizes.

On behalf of the Board, I congratulate not just the winners but all the participants. You had all given your best, and the quality of your work has strengthened the judges’ faith and hope in the future of our country.  May you never cease to explore the vast possibilities and stoke the fire of creativity even beyond the accepted canon. With your help, our country may well be on its way to the kind of economic growth and expansion that the greater majority can genuinely enjoy.

And finally, to CJ Art, and the trustees of the FLP Board, I express my sincere gratitude for this great honor to partner with you in this worthwhile endeavor of recognizing these young and promising legal minds. It is my prayer that the energy and enthusiasm of our youth will continue to fuel your own passion, so that many more will follow in your footsteps in taking up the FLP’s noble cause.

Thank you, and may God bless us all.