2019 FLP Awards Ceremony

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Awarding Ceremony

Bar Exam Topnotchers
New Lawyers and Scholars Who Graduated with Honors
FLP Legal Scholarship Program AY 2018-2019
FLP Dissertation Writing Contest 2018-2019

Auditorium, Ateneo Professional Schools
Rockwell Center, Makati City
May 18, 2018, 5:00 p.m.

Congratulations, Appreciation and Explanation

Closing remarks of retired Chief Justice ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN during the Awarding Ceremonies held on May 18, 2019 at the Ateneo de Manila Professional Schools Auditorium at Rockwell Center in Makati City in honor of the (1) bar exam topnotchers, passers and top graduates, (2) the current 2018-2019 scholars and (3) the winners of the just-concluded Dissertation Writing Contest of the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity.


Your honors, your excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. We are honoring today the cream of Philippine legal education, the topnotchers, honor graduates, scholars and winners of the various Education Programs of the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity, in partnership with the Tan Yan Kee Foundation and the Ayala Corporation. To begin my closing address, may I ask our honorees, a question that is relevant to us, given the just-concluded mid-term elections:

What is the difference between an ordinary robber and a corrupt politician? Answer: The ordinary robber chooses the people he or she will rob. On the other hand, the politician is chosen by the people whom he or she will rob.

Another question: Why do seniors like me love to talk to themselves? Answer: Because they always want to hear an expert’s advice. Another answer: They like to talk to themselves because they cannot get an audience of young, brilliant people to listen to them.

Aha, but today, I got you bright, young people – topnotchers, passers, honor graduates, scholars and winners – to listen to my corny jokes. Now that I have your ears, I would like to talk about three topics: One, words of congratulations; two, words of appreciation and three, words of explanation.

Words of Congratulations

To begin my words of congratulations, please join me in felicitating our number one bar exam topnotcher, Atty. Sean James Borja. He has been our scholar since our scholarship program began in 2016 when he was a junior law student. Since then, he has never disappointed us; in fact, he has always amazed us because he maintained his academic excellence and leadership qualities as well as showed his willingness and ability to internalize and promote the philosophy of liberty and prosperity under the rule of law. Moreover, he graduated as valedictorian of his class here at the Ateneo de Manila (…the best law school… in Rockwell, Makati!) and then proceeded to become number 1 in the last bar examination. As earlier announced by our emcees, he received scholarship grants of P200,000 for his third year law proper, another P200,000 for his fourth year law proper, plus P25,000 for being valedictorian, and now another P200,000 for being numero uno in the last bar exams, or a total of P625,000 in just two years. Cheers!

Please join me also in congratulating Atty. Katrina Monica Gaw for being our scholar during her fourth year law proper for which she received P200,000 and for copping the 5th place in the last bar examination for which we just gave her P100,000, or a total of P300,000. She wanted to be with us today but she had already planned a trip abroad, as her reward to herself, for her magnificent achievements. When I saw her recently, I told her she was better than I because I ranked only No. 6, so she must excel my being only chief justice!

Of course, I also greet our 20 new scholars who received P200,000 each, divided into maximum of P100,000 for tuition, P80,000 in monthly stipends, book allowance of P20,000 and a plaque of appreciation. Like Attys. Borja and Gaw, we expect them to top the bar exams.

As earlier announced, we have 10 finalists in the Dissertation Writing Contest who won P20,000 each, and from these 10, our distinguished Board of Judges selected three third prize winners for an additional cash prize of P100,000 each; one second prize winner, Diana Lou Boado of the Lyceum of the Philippines University, for an additional P200,000; and one first prize winner, Josiah David Quising of the Far Eastern University Institute of Law (the best law school in the Philippines… according to the FEU Law Alumni Association!) for an additional P300,000. Incidentally, Mr. Quising was also our scholar during his junior year in law. We did not forget their faculty advisers who were rewarded P50,000 for each of the third prize winners, P75,000 for the second prize winner and P100,000 for the first prize winner. Hail and congratulations to all of them.

My words of congratulations will not be complete unless I include the parents of our topnotchers, bar passers, scholars and dissertation winners. May I ask all you proud parents to stand up, so we can recognize you? The truth is I envy you because you have sired brilliant children who will all be brilliant lawyers, prosecutors, judges, justices and chief justices someday. In my case, and of course, also of my beloved wife, Professor Leni Panganiban, none of our five children took up law. And therefore, we will not be able to feel the parental joy of having bar exam topnotchers, passers, scholars and dissertation winners.

In their default, I encouraged our ten grandchildren to take up law, promising them full scholarship from my personal retirement benefits in any school of their choice here or abroad. Unfortunately, none has taken up the bait so far. I tried my best to convince our eldest grandson Miguel, when he was still in high school, to take up law. I even showed him my library which I said I would bequeath to him. Ironically, it turned him off. He rushed to his grandmother Leni, saying that he would not take up law because he could not imagine himself reading all the voluminous books in my library. Instead, he took up an industrial management engineering course at UP, and then proceeded to take up a Master in Entrepreneurship at the Babson College in Boston, reputed to be the best entrepreneurship school in the United States. The other day, I got a text from his mother, my eldest daughter Len, who was in Boston attending his graduation, with the good news that Miguel received Magna Cum Laude honors. Well, I said to myself, they also excel pala even if they are not lawyers!

But the better news is that he was admitted, starting next school year, at the Pritzker School of Law at the Northwestern University in Chicago to take up Master of Science in Law, though he did not have a basic law degree. How is that possible? The answer according to his prayerful lola Leni is: for man it is impossible, but for God, all things are possible. The question in my ancient mind now is whether he would be allowed to take the bar exam in any country and thereafter to practice there or anywhere, even without a basic law degree.

Words of Appreciation and Thanks

Let me now turn to my second topic, words of appreciation. First, let me thank our two topnotch Boards of Judges, both chaired by respected justices of the highest court of the land, namely, Senior Justice Antonio T. Carpio for the scholarship competition and Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe for the dissertation writing contest. Both of them sent regrets at their failure to attend today’s program because both are abroad. Justice Bernabe, an Ateneo alumna, wanted to attend because, according to her, she spent a considerable amount of time reading the rather voluminous dissertations submitted to her as chair of the Dissertation Board of Judges. I also invited CJ Lucas P. Bersamin but he is also out of town. Why are they all out of town? Because the Supreme Court is at recess for one month. We could not reschedule the Award Ceremonies because our scholars from various universities nationwide are taking up their final examinations this month, and today, Saturday, is the least disturbing for them.

Both Justices Carpio and Bernabe invited the members of their Boards of Judges to hold the final round of evaluating the applicants at the Division Conference Rooms of the Supreme Court. These rooms constitute the sacred inner sanctum of the temple of justice in our country where, normally, only justices are allowed entry when Division cases are deliberated upon and decided. No secretaries, clerks or aides dare enter these rooms when the justices perform their rituals and duties. This is indeed a great privilege for our scholars and winners, who even before passing the bar examinations were already allowed entry to the Supreme Court’s inner sanctum.

Along with them, may I public thank the other members of the Scholarships Board of Judges, namely former Education Secretary Edilberto C. de Jesus, who is also a former president of and a retired professor at the Asian Institute of Management, where my dear wife Leni taught together with him for 37 years; he was also president of the Far Eastern University; Dean Joan Sarausos-Largo of the University of San Carlos School of Law, which by the way, produced four of the top 10 in the last bar exam; she is the incumbent president of the Philippine Association of Law Schools, and one of the holders of the Chief Justice Panganiban Professorial Chairs on Liberty and Prosperity; Ms. Elizabeth T. Alba, an executive of the Tan Yan Kee Foundation; and Law Professor Tanya Karina A. Lat, a trustee of the FLP.

On the other hand, the four other members of the Board of Judges for the Dissertation Writing Contest are retired Supreme Court Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, Dean Largo, Companero Solomon M. Hermosura, the indefatigable general counsel of Ayala Corporation, and Companero Joel Emerson J. Gregorio, a consultant of the Asian Development Bank and a trustee of the FLP.

May I also publicly thank our partner and co-sponsor, the Tan Yan Kee Foundation for generously funding our Scholarship Program? The foundation is named after the father of tycoon Lucio C. Tan. His group of companies adopted the TYK Foundation as the main outlet of its corporate social responsibility. From a holistic commitment framework, the TYK Foundation targets education, culture and sports, health and social welfare including environmental concerns, research, and manpower development. We invited Dr. Tan to join us today in handing out the cash gifts for our topnotchers and scholars but he had to leave today for an urgent meeting in Hong Kong. In his stead, we thank TYKF trustees Marixi R. Prieto, retired chair of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Amando Tetangco Jr., retired six-star governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for helping us in handing out the said checks. Gov. Say is rated six stars because he has the distinction of being the only BSP governor to serve for two terms of six years each. Had his charming wife Elma not objected because she wanted him to rest and relax, Gov. Say would have been given another term of six more years, without his asking for it.

I extend equal thanks to another partner, the Ayala Corporation, for generously funding and encouraging the FLP to sponsor the Dissertation Contest. When I advised Ayala Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala of this unique contest to provide content and substance to our advocacy for liberty and prosperity under the rule of law, he immediately agreed to fund the project, as an extra addition to Ayala’s normal budget for philanthropy. Unfortunately, Mr. Zobel is also out of the country today and could not attend. But we are happy and grateful Atty. June Lee Navarro, Ayala Corporation’s Deputy General Counsel and Ayala Land’s general counsel came and assisted us in the distribution of the cash rewards for our dissertation contest winners.

Let me also thank the Ateneo de Manila Professional Schools for allowing us to use their facilities, especially the Ateneo Auditorium where we are holding these Awarding Ceremonies. Ateneo has always been kind in opening its facilities to us for our education projects. May I say a special “thank you” to Law Dean Jose Maria G. Hofilena for his Opening Remarks? Incidentally, he is the latest addition to our list of professorial chair holders.

My deep appreciation also goes to the Philippine Daily Inquirer for the full-color, whole back page advertisement that came out today, compliments of its president, Sandy Prieto-Romualdez. The ordinary cost of that back page full color ad is P330,000 plus 12 percent VAT or a total of almost P400,000. Maraming salamat po also to the Philippine Star, through its president, Miguel G. Belmonte, for running also for free the same ad on page 15 of the May 15 issue of that paper.

Furthermore, I say my sincere appreciation to the Honorable Raul C. Pangalangan, a judge of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, The Netherlands for his message. When I learned yesterday that he was in town, I earnestly asked him to deliver a special message today, to which he gamely agreed. Incidentally, Judge Pangalangan’s family is a major member of the larger FLP community because his wife, UP Law Professor Elizabeth Aguiling-Pangalangan, is one of the 15 esteemed holders of the Chief Justice Panganiban Professorial Chairs on Liberty and Prosperity, and their son Raphael was the first place winner in our Dissertation Writing Contest last year.

I cannot end my thanks without mentioning the wonderful, melodious songs of the Friends from the UP College of Music, particularly for their acapella rendition of “Primus Inter Pares,” one of 18 original songs composed by internationally-acclaimed maestro, Ryan Cayabyab, who was recently-proclaimed a national artist of the Philippines. Lyrics for these 18 songs were written by Kristian Jeff Agustin.

Let me give you a little backgrounder on Jeff. To celebrate my 75th birthday seven years ago, my former staff in the Supreme Court met to stage a concert by the Manila Symphony Orchestra featuring the favorite love songs of my wife and me. After the meeting was over, Jeff, who was one of the clerks working in my chamber when I was the incumbent Chief Justice, half-embarrassingly handed to Atty. Jean Manalili, my former chief of staff, several sheets of paper where he wrote my life story in shining poetry. To cut the long story short, these sheets of paper were submitted to Maestro Ryan who found them worthy to be turned into a unique musical depicting my life story. The musical, titled Ageless Passion, was staged at the Meralco Theater in Pasig City in 2011 to celebrate my 75th birthday. At that time, the musical had only seven original compositions. In thanksgiving, I organized the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity during the same year. It was restaged in 2016 at the Maybank Performing Arts Center in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, and this time to mark my 80th birthday. Maestro Ryan and Jeff added another 11 original compositions to make a complete musical of 18 original compositions. Both shows were televised for two hours over GMA NewsTV Channel 11. Notably, the musical was presented by a full complement of professional actors, singers and dancers accompanied by the 60-piece Manila Symphony Orchestra. So, I am amazed and grateful that the Friends from the UP College of Music were able to sing “Primus Inter Pares” acapella, without instrumental accompaniment. Thank you again Friends from the UP College of Music. Incidentally, our only son, Archie, graduated from the UP College of Music, Summa Cum Laude, and proceeded to take up further music studies in Munich, Germany. However, he took another masteral degree in engineering economic system at Stanford University and followed it up with a PhD also on engineering economic systems also at Stanford. Now, he is Executive Director at J.P. Morgan in NYC. Banking is his profession but music is his passion. He is probably following the footsteps of Gov. Tetangco, except that he is still a bachelor!

By the way, I wish to reiterate that Jeff Agustin, the lyrics composer, was just one of the ordinary clerks, not a legal assistant, in the Supreme Court. I did not know that he was such a talented artist. After writing the words of “Ageless Passion,” he got a scholarship from the University of Westminster in London, where he finished his Master in Visual Arts in 2012. Currently, he is finishing his PhD with dual specializations in Communication and Media from the Hong Kong Baptist University, and in Art and Design from the Manchester School of Art in Great Britain. In the country on summer break from his schooling, Jeff is with us today. May I ask him to stand up and be recognized like the other FLP scholars and winners, for he too is a scholar and winner par excellence?

Ladies and gentlemen, permit me to also cite our two emcees, Jose Angelo Tiglao and Mikael Gabrielle Ilao, both FLP scholars, for gamely and smoothly steering today’s program. Gabby correctly recalled that last year, Sean James was the emcee. Will she follow his footsteps and be numero uno in her bar exam?

Words of Explanation from FLP

My third and last topic consists of a short explanation. In ordinary parlance, this is the commercial break for our sponsor, the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity.

My friends, all our scholars and dissertation winners were chosen based on strict merit, on their academic excellence, leadership qualities and ability and willingness to internalize and espouse the philosophy of liberty and prosperity under the rule of law. Only in case of a tie was the candidates’ social status or financial plight considered, with the less-privileged candidates preferred. The main objective of the contests is to augment existing literature on the FLP’s core philosophy of liberty and prosperity under the rule of law.

For this reason, all the honorees are expected to be models, now and later in their professional careers, of the FLP’s advocacy that we all need both justice and jobs, freedom and food, ethics and economics, peace and development, liberty and prosperity; that these twin beacons must always go together for one is useless without the other; and that the best way to conquer poverty, to create wealth and to share prosperity is to unleash the entrepreneurial genius of our people by granting them the freedom and the tools to help themselves and society. I ask them to make a solemn vow to carry on these advocacies during their lifetime, even after I have gone from this world and passed to the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and God.

To help them continue these advocacies, FLP is organizing new programs, including the formation of an FLP Scholars Society to keep alive and burning their enduring bond of friendship and lifetime vow of continuing our advocacies.

After that announcement, that commercial from the sponsor, let me finally hail all of you ladies and gentlemen for attending today’s ceremonies and for your enthusiastic claps and cheers.

To show our appreciation, I invite all of you to a simple merienda at the lobby outside this auditorium. Let us break bread and continue toasting, cheering and congratulating our honorees, even as we wish our fourth year scholars and winners good luck during their graduation and forthcoming bar exams. Mabuhay!

Parents and Children: When Law and Technology Unbundle Traditional Identities

examining the intense aspiration of parents and children to attain both liberty and prosperity and how this affects traditional identities and rights within the family

Professor Elizabeth Aguiling-Pangalangan, Holder of the Chief Justice Panganiban Professorial Chair on Liberty and Prosperity delivered her paper – Parents and Children: When Law and Technology Unbundle Traditional Identities – on March 28, 2019 at the 1st Floor Lecture Room, Bocobo Hall, UP Law Center, University of the Philippines – Diliman, Quezon City.

Professor Pangalangan’s paper explores how civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights impact on women and children in two particular legal situations: adoption and surrogacy. The paper discusses domestic and international laws on adoption and problems that still persist surrounding the adequacy of legal safeguards for the rights of the birth mother, the adopting parents and the child, especially in the context of intercountry adoption. In the subject of surrogacy, there is no Philippine law and international convention regulating it, but neither is there any explicit prohibition against it.

The paper argues that domestic laws did not contemplate the advent of technology that will make assisted reproductive technology possible nor the ease by which people can travel that makes cross border adoption and surrogacy accessible. It seeks to answer the following questions, among others: (1) do Philippine laws defining who are the mother and father of a child applicable in cases of adoption and surrogacy; (2) will a law that allows commercial surrogacy or encourage intercountry adoption not violate the political right to physical integrity of the birth or surrogate mother resulting in the commodification of her womb and her baby, or infringe on the right of every child to a name and nationality; (3) will a law that throws a blanket prohibition on intercountry adoption and international surrogacy agreements not disturb economic and social rights, such as the right to family life of the intending parents, the right to an adequate standard of living and the right to work of the surrogate, and freedom from discrimination of all parties especially the adopted child or the child born of a surrogate; and (4) what changes in the Philippine legal order are necessary to implement the best interest of the child standard, which has animated both legislation and jurisprudence?

The public lecture is the 19th of a series of lectures and debates under the Chief Justice Panganiban Professorial Chairs on Liberty and Prosperity Program. FLP is undertaking this program in partnership with the Metrobank Foundation, Inc. and in cooperation with the Philippine Association of Law Schools. The program aims to encourage educational institutions and law schools to research and propagate at the academe the philosophy of safeguarding the liberty and nurturing the prosperity of our people under the rule of law.

Distinguished guests include retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, Court of Appeals Justice Louis P. Acosta, Sandiganbayan Justice Efren N. De La Cruz, Metrobank Corporate Secretary Antonio V. Viray, Dean Fides C. Cordero-Tan of the UP College of Law, Dean Anna D. Abad of Adamson University, Metrobank Foundation Executive Director Nicanor Torres, and Atty. Jannica Robles-Santos of the Court of Tax Appeals Presiding Justice. Apart from the faculty, students from the UP College of Law and other colleges of UP Diliman, Far Eastern University Institute of Law, Ateneo Law School, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, and Manila Tytana Colleges (former Manila Doctors College) attended the lecture.

Professor Pangalangan’s full lecture can be accessed at www.libpros.com, the official website of the FLP.

Professor Elizabeth Aguiling-Pangalangan and retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban

Opening remarks by Dean Fides Cordero-Tan of UP College of Law 

Professor Elizabeth Aguiling-Pangalangan delivering her lecture

Retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban delivering his closing remarks


28 March 2019
Professor Elizabeth Aguiling-Pangalangan
University of the Philippines-Diliman College of Law
“Parents and Children: When Law and Technology Unbundle Traditional Identities”
(downloadable PDF | presentation)


A Remarkable and Riveting Lecture

* Closing remarks of Retired Chief Justice ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN after the Lecture of UP Professor Elizabeth Aguiling-Pangalangan, a holder of the CJ Panganiban Professorial Chairs on Liberty and Prosperity, held on March 28, 2019 at the First Floor Lecture Room, Bocobo Hall, UP Law Center, UP Diliman, Quezon City on “Parents and Children: When Law and Technology Unbundle Traditional Identities.”



Congratulations to Prof. Beth Pangalangan for her impressive, awesome and absorbing lecture. Scholarly prepared and eloquently delivered, it was indeed one of the best lectures I have ever heard in a long time. It makes me want to be a student again to listen again and again to Professor Beth. Ah, to be young again!

Well-research, Indeed!

Of course, her frequent citation of my decisions and separate opinions reminded me of my over 11 years in the Supreme Court. And what especially amazed me is her research into and many quotes from my books, columns and even my speeches. Wow, really heart-warming.

Let me, at this point, hand to her FLP’s check for P100,000 representing her honorarium, less 5 percent withholding tax imposed by the NIRC as amended by the TRAIN Law, and the Certificate attesting to her enrollment as a distinguished Holder of one of the 15 CJ Panganiban Professorial Chairs on Liberty and Prosperity.

May I also thank Dean Fides Cordero Tan for welcoming us to the UP College of Law. I do not remember having encountered her in the past, but her reputation for academic excellence and administrative expertise preceded her. In testimony thereof, the FLP Board of Trustees has unanimously resolved to invite her to join our corps of professorial chair holder. May I therefore have the honor of personally handing to our esteemed Dean Deng our official letter of invitation?

Ambition to Enroll at UP

My appearance here at the UP Lecture Hall reminds me of my life-long ambition to enroll at the UP. My classmates at Mapa High School in the early 1950s (when most of you in the audience were not yet born) and I used to visit the UP Campus in Diliman. Before the UP Oblation, we promised each other that we would study diligently to be able to obtain UP scholarships. And obtain the scholarships we were able to, except that in my case, my impoverished father – who was a simple government employee – could not afford the then 15-centavo bus ride from our small, rented apartment in Sampaloc, Manila to Diliman, Quezon City.

Even though I was not able to enter this school, I continued my association with the UP community, especially with activist student leaders like then UP Student Council President Fernando Lagua and then Philippine Collegian Editor Homobono Adaza with whom I cofounded the National Union of Students, the largest student organization in the country then and now. Because of their activism, Lagua was suspended for one year and Adaza expelled from the University. Looking back, I told myself, “Buti na lang hindi ako nakapasok sa UP, baka expelled din ako.”

My ambition to enjoy UP education was achieved by our only son and one of our four daughters. Our son, Archie, was only the 4th student to graduate Summa Cum Laude from the UP Conservatory of Music. While he proceeded to further piano studies in Munich, he eventually finished a PhD in engineering economic system at Stanford and is now a banker in New York City as an Executive Director of JP Morgan. But while banking is his profession, music remains his passion. Once in a while, he would come back home to give piano concerts in UP as well as in the Cultural Center and other familiar concert venues.

But my frustrated love for UP was requited by then UP President Edgardo Angara who gave me a small replica of the UP Oblation in the early 1980s to thank me for getting a donation of a fire truck from Japan. And my undying thirst for UP’s academic excellence was somehow quenched by my enrollment as an honorary member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

A Word About FLP

Before I close, let me say a few words about the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity, which as already explained by the previous speakers, was organized after I retired from the Supreme Court to promote and perpetuate my philosophy of “Liberty and Prosperity Under the Rule of Law.” FLP has three education programs:

First, the Professorial Chairs for Liberty and Prosperity in partnership with the Metrobank Foundation, with 15 holders now, three of them by UP academics, namely, Professor Pangalangan, Dean Tan and President Danilo Concepcion.

Second, the Law Scholarship Program, in partnership with the Tan Yan Kee Foundation, for junior and senior law students at P200,000 each, covering tuition, books and monthly stipend. We award 20 of them yearly since 2017. We also give additional cash rewards to our scholars who graduate as valedictorians and/or with Latin honors, as well as to bar topnotchers. Among them is UP’s Ervin Fredrick Dy who obtained an FLP scholarship starting in the Academic Year 2016-2017. He took the bar examinations last November. If he or any other FLP scholar cops the first place, FLP will reward him with P200,000 cash. If any of them lands in the second to the tenth places, he or she will receive P100,000 cash.

Third, the Dissertation Writing Contest, in partnership with the Ayala Group. The first place winner last year was former UP student Raphael Pangalangan, the illustrious son of the illustrious couple from UP and Harvard, who got the P300,000 prize and a gold plaque. By the way, the contest is still open for this year. The deadline for entries was postponed to April 30, 2019 at the request of Dean Tan.

May I end these Closing Remarks with my fervent hope for FLP’s closer link and cooperation with the academics and students of the UP College of Law, the best law school in the world…according to the UP Law Alumni Association. Maraming salamat po.

FLP receives the PEACE Award from Metrobank Foundation

Metrobank Foundation conferred on the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity the Partner in Empowerment, Advocacy, and Commitment to Excellence (PEACE) Award during its 40th Anniversary Celebration on February 21, 2019. The PEACE Award is a recognition given to a select group of institutions that mirrors the Metrobank Foundation’s commitment to uplifting the lives of the least in society and recognizing the best in society.

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20 Law Students Receive Scholarship Awards



The Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity (FLP) and Tan Yan Kee Foundation (TYKF) are pleased to announce the 20 legal scholarship awardees for the School Year 2018-2019. Each scholar will receive P200,000 divided into P100,000 for tuition, P20,000 for books, and P80,000 for monthly stipends.

Of the 20, 10 are for 3rd year and the other 10 are for 4th year law students as follows: (for third year) Banoar R. Abratique (University of the Cordilleras), Pamela Camille A. Barredo (Far Eastern University-Makati), Angelette C. Bulacan (FEU-Makati), Stephanie Mae B. Domingo (University of the Cordilleras), Maria Carissa C. Guinto (San Beda University-Manila), Patrick Angelo M. Gutierrez (FEU-Makati), Mayumi G. Matsumura (Ateneo de Manila), Juralyn Lilian A. Obra (University of the Cordilleras), Carmella Gaye D. Perez (University of San Carlos), and Edrea Jean V. Ramirez (University of Santo Tomas).

For fourth year: Leo Francis F. Abot (Ateneo de Manila), John Anthony F. Almerino (University of San Carlos), Micah Celine S. Carpio (De La Salle University), Arvin Paolo D. Cortez (Ateneo de Manila), Mikael Gabrielle E. Ilao (University of the Cordilleras), Alimar Mohammad Malabad (San Beda University-Manila), Kenneth Glenn L. Manuel (UST), King Anthony Y. Perez (University of Cebu), Jun Dexter H. Rojas (PUP), and Ma. Vida Malaya M. Villarico (PUP).

The FLP scholars were selected based on their academic merit and their ability to uphold and espouse the FLP’s philosophy of liberty and prosperity under the rule of law. Extra cash prizes are given those who graduate with Latin honors.

Fifteen FLP scholars took the last bar examinations: Karina Mae Badua (UST), Sean James Borja (Ateneo de Manila), Erwin Frederick Dy (UP), Rexlyn Anne Evora (PUP), Kevin Ken Ganchero (FEU), Katrina Monica Gaw (Ateneo de Manila), Jose Noel Hilario (UST), Summerson Macasarte (St. Thomas More), Violeta Najarro (San Beda-Alabang), Ma. Janine Pedernal (UST), Nigel Carmelo Reago (De La Salle U), Tess Marie Tan (U of San Carlos), Jose Angelo Tiglao (De La Salle U), Althea Vergara (U of San Carlos) and Vanessa Gloria Vergara (Ateneo de Manila).

The bar topnotchers among them will get P200,000 for the first place and P100,000 each for the second to the tenth placers.

With a financial grant from the TYKF, the FLP sponsors the program with the assistance of the Philippine Association of Law Schools (PALS).

Supreme Court Senior Justice Antonio T. Carpio headed the Board of Judges which selected the scholars, with the following members: former Education Secretary Edilberto C. de Jesus, TYKF Executive Elizabeth Alba, PALS President and University of San Carlos Law Dean Joan Sarausos-Largo, and Ateneo Law Professor Tanya Karina A. Lat.

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The FLP Legal Scholarship Program is open to all third and fourth year students of law schools that obtained a percentage of passing above the overall average percentage of passing in bar exams based on the statistical data from the Office of the Bar Confidant of the Supreme Court.

To qualify, the grantees must (1) be incumbent 3rd or 4th year students in one of the eligible law schools, (2) be among the top 20 of the batch in their respective schools, (3) have a cumulative average not lower than 85% or 2.25 for the immediately preceding school year, (4) have no dropped subject and no grade lower than 75% or 3.0, and (5) have enrolled and completed the full load for each school year; and submit an essay on the philosophy of liberty and prosperity under the rule of law and how he/she will apply the philosophy in his/her legal career.

The FLP was founded in 2011 to perpetuate the core judicial philosophy of retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban — that jurists and lawyers should safeguard liberty and nurture prosperity under the rule of law. For more information, please visit www.libpros.com.

Its Board of Trustees is composed of retired CJ Panganiban (chairman), Sec. de Jesus, retired Supreme Court Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, Ms. Evelyn T. Dumdum, Asian Development Bank Consultant Joel Emerson J. Gregorio, Prof. Elenita C. Panganiban, Atty. Tanya Karina A. Lat, Rebecca G. Felix, and Ms. Maria Elena P.S. Yaptangco (members).

The Tan Yan Kee Foundation is the corporate social responsibility arm of the Lucio Tan Group of Companies. It approaches corporate social responsibility from a holistic commitment framework targeting education; culture and sports; health and social welfare including environmental concerns; research; and manpower development.

Its Board of Trustees is composed of Dr. Lucio C. Tan (chairman), Harry C. Tan (vice chairman), Joaquin Bernas, Frank Chan, Shirley Chua, Lawrence Chew, Emil Q. Javier, Artemio V. Panganiban, Marixi R. Prieto, Carmen Tan, Tan Eng Chan, Tan Hui Bin, Mariano Tanenglian, Amando M. Tetangco Jr. and Cesar E. A. Virata (members). For details, please visit www.tanyankee.org.


Program co-sponsor:

In cooperation with


Way to a Happy, Free and Prosperous Society

Remarks delivered by Retired Chief Justice ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN in response to the lecture delivered by Joan S. Largo, Dean of the University of San Carlos School of Law and Governance and President of the Philippine Association of Law Schools on October 17, 2018 at the Buttenbruch Hall of the University of San Carlos, Cebu City.


Let me begin by saying how amazed I am that just a few days after Dean Joan S. Largo arrived from, to quote her, “a learning visit on clinical education” in the United States, she was ready with a scholarly and authoritative lecture, backed by a PowerPoint, that she just delivered so eloquently before this appreciative audience of the best and brightest legal minds in Cebu.

I thank her and her colleagues in the Philippine Association of Law Schools (PALS), which she now heads, for their support of my philosophy of liberty and prosperity under the rule of law and of my advocacy for a writ of prosperity. With such display of unity in the academe, I believe, in time, we can successfully craft well-vetted “Rules of the Writ of Prosperity” that we can propose for the promulgation of our Supreme Court.

In her lecture, Dean Largo focused on the constitutional provisions on social justice and human rights which the government, particularly the political branches, have not been able to implement and enforce. She emphasized, and rightly so, on the need to arm the least, the last and the lost: the dirt poor, the marginalized and the powerless with a way to compel our government to uplift their plight. She cited the efforts of the highest courts of other countries, like South Africa, Argentina and Columbia, in using their authority to help alleviate the poor’s angst, pain and suffering.

Simple but profound truth

In my response to Dean Largo, let me also cite other countries to drive to home an analogous point, this time no longer a plea for direct assistance or dole-outs in terms of “conditional transfers” of cash, or cheap rice, or communal housing, or socialized medicine.

Taking off from a speech I delivered before the Asean Law Association a few years ago, let me begin with a famous quotation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “If a man does not have a job or an income, he has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness.” Let me repeat that, “If a man does not have a job or an income, he has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness.”

It may seem ironic that I should be citing an American civil rights icon in this august audience of patriotic Filipinos, but like Dean Largo who cited foreign jurisprudence to buttress her cause, I did so not because of Dr. King’s nationality, color, gender or religion. I quoted him because of the truth he said so simply yet so profoundly.

I cited him because precisely of my belief that truth is eternal and limitless; that truth is not bound by sovereignty, or territory, or ideology, or legality; that what is true in America is also true in the Philippines, in Africa, in South America and in the world. And that that truth is this: humans need both justice and jobs; freedom and food; ethics and economics; peace and development; liberty and prosperity; these twin beacons must always go together; one is useless without the other.

Now, even in retirement, I still continue my advocacy for these twin beacons of liberty and prosperity. Thus in 2011, five years after my retirement from the judiciary, when I celebrated my 75th birthday, I organized the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity, which now sponsors several educational programs, namely, 13 professorial chairs in various law schools, 20 full law scholarships at P200,000 each, in which some USC students are recipients, and a dissertation contest, in which a USC student, Tess Marie Tan, won the second place, second only to Raphael Pangalangan, a Filipino graduate student of the University of Oxford in Great Britain, who copped the first place.

To repeat, there are certain truths that transcend sovereignties, territories, ideologies and legalities. And one of those truths is this: The best way to conquer poverty, to create wealth and to share prosperity is to unleash the entrepreneurial genius of people by granting them the freedom and the tools to help themselves and society.

Saving the fisherman    

Let me push my thesis further by quoting a popular adage from Confucius, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Indeed, to save a fisherman from destitution, we must help him learn how to fish more effectively. We must educate him in the skills needed to catch fish more efficiently, assist him in acquiring a boat, allow him the freedom to sail the vast oceans, and teach him the techniques to market the fish he catches.

Sometimes, some of us fear that the fisherman may get lost and die in the storms that batter the seas; or that he may become selfish and would want to own the entire ocean and its vast resources; or that he may become too rich and powerful and metamorphose into a rival, an enemy, or worse, a master. Such fears of possible misjudgments may indeed happen some of the time. Human arrogance, greed and avarice lurk in all undertakings. But they are the exceptions rather than the rule. We must never stop dreaming for fear that reality may shatter our dreams. We must admit that risks and challenges form part of the interesting reality of being human.

On the other hand, I respectfully believe that the goal of governance and of law is to provide guarantees and incentives to help the fisherman prosper, to create the institutions to support him, and to promulgate minimal regulations to prevent him from appropriating all the fishing grounds, from keeping all the earnings to himself and from forgetting his obligation to pay reasonable taxes to the government. Indeed, government must inspire him to share his consequential wealth with the rest of society.

Validating the truth

Let me take you briefly around the world to validate this simple truth. The United States, the most powerful country in the world and the great promoter of liberal democracy, attained affluence because of the pioneers who defied monarchical tyrannies and started a new nation that unleashed the inventive, innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of people like Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Cornelius Vanderbilt, John Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, J.P. Morgan, and lately of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, as well of great government leaders like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Barack Obama who provided them with the encouragement to attain their dreams and the good governance to contain their greed and share their wealth.

Then, let us go to China, the second most powerful economy in the world and the prime promoter of the communist system. True, Mao Zedong led the masses in a revolt that dislodged the corrupt and inefficient government born of an outdated monarchy. But it was Deng Xiaoping who led this nation to unparalleled economic prosperity by unleashing the entrepreneurial ingenuity of the Chinese under his “One-Country-Two-Systems” philosophy.

Finally, let me bring you to Korea. As a result of World War II, this country was divided into North and South, which unfortunately could not accept their division and engaged in a terrible war that ruined their economies and impoverished their people. Rising from the ruins, South Korea relied on the entrepreneurial spirit of the Korean people and built on their private initiative as well as on the notion that innovation, creativity, freedom and hard work would enable them to conquer their poverty, provide for their family’s well-being and attain affluence.

In contrast, North Korea – despite its technological and military bravado – wallows in abject poverty as a result of its tight grip on creativity and inordinate fear of the entrepreneurship, education, freedom and prosperity of its people.

Entrepreneurship in the Philippines

I believe that given the same climate of free enterprise, our people can rise to the challenges of innovation, creativity and ingenuity and free themselves of extreme poverty, disease, malnutrition and disability. All they need is a government that affords opportunities for education instead of habitual mendicancy, fosters free competition instead of suffocating regulations, and rewards talent and hard work instead of sycophancy and connection.

The best proofs of this assertion are our overseas Filipino workers. Our engineers, technicians and house helps are treasured in Europe and the Middle East. Our professionals, doctors and nurses, succeed much better than many natives in the United States, Canada and Australia. In fact, the average Filipino professionals earn more than the average Caucasians in those countries. Moreover, they are law-abiding, they observe strict traffic rules simply because these rules are enforced evenly and fairly.

Yes, I conclude this response to Dean Largo with the firm belief that if our Filipino brethren are accord liberty, prosperity and the rule of law, they will use their entrepreneurial ingenuity to uplift themselves from destitution, disease and disability. Our responsibility – as leaders of the academe and the legal profession – is how we can harness the rule of law to enable them to form and enjoy a happy, free and prosperous society.

Maraming salamat po.

#FLP #Awards #Opportunities

School Year 2018-2019


Entries for the Dissertation Writing Contest must be submitted on or before 5 pm on April 30, 2019. Download the entry form and guidelines now (click here).


The deadline for the submission of applications for S.Y. 2018-2019 is on September 16, 2018, 5 pm. Download the application form now (click here).

Wanted Writ of Prosperity

* Transcript of the extemporaneous Closing Remarks delivered by retired Chief Justice ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN after the Public Lecture of Polytechnic University of the Philippines Law Dean Gemy Lito L. Festin held on May 12, 2018 at the Bulwagang Bonifacio, A. Mabini Campus, PUP, Anonas Street, Sta. Mesa, Manila.


I have three points to share tonight. First, let me congratulate Dean Gemy Lito L. Festin, our featured chair holder of the Chief Justice Panganiban Professorial Chairs on Liberty and Prosperity, for his innovative and well-researched piece titled “Tutelary Rules Principle as Legal Tool for Easing Economic Rights’ Access to Justice in the Philippines.” I think it is one of best lectures I have heard since the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity (FLP), in cooperation with the Metrobank Foundation (MBF), started this Lecture Series.

Appreciation and Honorarium      

To show our appreciation more concretely and beyond mere words, may I hand over to Dean Festin his honorarium for P100,000, via this check for P90,000; the balance of P10,000 constitute the withholding tax which will be remitted directly to the Bureau of Internal Revenue in accordance with law, and which remittance the good Dean may use when he files and pays for his income tax returns early next year.

So too, may I advise you that Dean Festin’s piece will find a prominent place in the Coffee Table Book that FLP and MBF will be publishing soon to feature our outstanding professorial lectures. This is not an ordinary book. It will be a big multicolored tome that everyone concerned would be happy to place in their living rooms, not just in their libraries.

I also felicitate the three “reactors,” (in the order they spoke) Atty. Rosalie J. De la Cruz-Cada (Deputy Director for Projects of the IBP Center for Legal Aid), Judge Joselito C. Villarosa (of Branch 66, Regional Trial Court of Makati), and Atty. Arnold C. Bayobay (Graft Prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman) for their interesting feedbacks and questions. My admiration too goes to Companero Carlos S. Cao Jr., former Labor Undersecretary and POEA Administrator, for being an insightful and funny Master of Ceremonies.

Truth to tell, this is my first time to hear of the word “Tutelary.” Indeed one is never too old to learn. I may be a retired chief justice now at 81 years, but I think I am not “retarded.” One is never too old to learn new treats.

Political vs Economic Rights 

We have always known in law school that most of our economic rights, even those defined in our Constitution, are not self-executing in nature and cannot, by themselves, be the subject of justiciable controversies. To be enforceable, they need enabling legislation. In several decisions, our Supreme Court – citing the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission – has held that economic and social rights cannot, by themselves, be enforced by the judiciary.

This line of decisions finds support in constitutional history, starting from the United States where we adopted our own Constitution. Remember that the more than two-century-old US Constitution was crafted during the American struggle for freedom and independence from British colonial rule when political and civil liberties were the battle cry. And so it is with us. All our basic laws, starting from the Malolos Constitution to the present 1987 Charter, were also drafted at a time when our people fought for political and civil freedom from foreign conquerors, Spanish and American. This is reflected most specially in the Bill of Rights which centered on political and civil rights.

In the present age, while we still treasure our political and civil liberties, our people’s focus is more on their economic needs and wants. This is clear in many recent credible polls and surveys showing that the most urgent concerns of our people relate to poverty, jobs and high prices. They long for liberation from the bondage of poverty. Of what use indeed is the freedom to travel if we cannot fill our stomachs? Of what use is the freedom of information, if we cannot quench our thirst for potable water?

This is why – since I was a student mired in destitution to my professional life as a lawyer and later as I jurist – I have always advocated for justice and jobs, freedom and food, ethics and economics, nay, liberty and prosperity; one is useless without the other. My major decisions starting from Tanada vs. Angara in 1997 have espoused this doctrine. That is why even in retirement, I organized the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity as a way of celebrating my 75th birthday in 2011.

Writ of Prosperity

In his lecture, Dean Festin ably tackled this jurisprudential difficulty of enforcing economic rights. But he has moved further by proposing a solution – by referring to the “Tutelary Rules” which the Columbian Supreme Court has drawn precisely to enforce economic rights.

I will no longer repeat his many cogent arguments why we must encourage our Supreme Court to follow the Columbian example and promulgate new Rules of Procedure – a power our Constitution has endowed on the Court – to authorize the enforcement of economic rights. But may I add that one good way of doing that is to create the Writ of Prosperity, in the same manner that our Court has promulgated the Writ of Amparo, the Writ of Habeas Data and the Writ of Kalikasan.

The last Writ was issued to provide a legal way to enforce the right to ecology which is arguably an economic right that does not normally find the same traditional constitutional treatment as the self-executing political and civil rights.

May I suggest that Dean Festin take the initiative of bringing this matter to the Philippine Association of Law Schools to the help of his colleagues there in molding this idea and preparing the detailed Rules of Procedure for this new Writ of Prosperity. I am sure PALS President Sedfrey Candelaria of Ateneo would be sympathetic to this proposal.

I am sure also that both the FLP and the Metrobank Foundation will support this endeavor to give birth to the Writ of Prosperity.

May I also suggest that concurrently with the effort to convince the Supreme Court to institute the new Writ, we make a similar endeavor to amend the Constitution to include the right to prosperity and the corollary right against poverty? This would be timely because of the current national effort to amend the Constitution. Again, both the FLP and the MBF, and I personally, would be happy to support this worthwhile venture.

Polytechnic University of the Philippines

The second topic of my closing remarks would be about PUP. I must confess that this is my first time to visit your school. But I do know about it since it was the old Philippine College of Commerce founded in 1901 up to its transformation into a university by a group of avant garde educators led by my activist friend, the late Dr. Nemesio Prudente. PUP is also kind of nostalgic for me, because I located my first law office here in Sta. Mesa, at the Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard very near the vehicular bridge crossing the railroad, less than one kilometer away. Back then, I was intending to run for Congress in this congressional district that includes the University Belt, until the idea was vetoed by my dear wife who did not want any partisan political post for me, or for our children.

To be sure, I am sentimentally attached to PUP, because it was, and still is, the hotbed of activism. Activist student leaders are close to my heart because as you may know, I organized the National Union of Students of the Philippines more than fifty years ago, which was, and still is, the largest student organization in the country. Incidentally, at that time, the Catholic colleges like Ateneo, La Salle, St. Theresa and St. Scholastica did not participate in non-Catholic student organizations. But the NUSP crossed the cloisters and got the collegialas into the mainstream student movements. This historic turn was a bonus for me — it was because of the NUSP that I met the gentle Scholastican, Elenita Carpio, who later became my wife.

I am thus happy that PUP chose to be an active participant in FLP’s programs. Aside from the professorial chair that FLP awarded to Dean Festin, it also awarded full scholarships, including tuition, books and monthly stipends, to three FLP law students, Jun Dexter Rojas, Ma. Vida Malaya Villarico and Rexlyn Anne Evora. They won three of the 21 scholarships awarded for this school year, with only Ateneo de Manila surpassing the count with four. Ms Evora was also chosen as one of the six finalists in the FLP Dissertation Writing Contest.

May I also announce right now that additional cash prizes await them should they graduate with Latin honors? FLP will also award P100,000 to each FLP scholar or dissertation writing contest winner/finalist who make it to the Top Ten in the coming Bar Exam, and double that, or P200,000, for the numero uno.

I have no doubt that PUP graduates are capable of achieving this feat. After all, your bar exam track record is enviable. Your first batch of graduates in 2016 had a 100 percent passing record, while your 2017 grads had an 88.88 passing rate. It is time for you to top Bar Exam this year. I will be there in 2019 to celebrate and hand out FLP’s checks for the Top Ten achievers among our scholars or dissertation winners/finalists.

Why I Am Who I Am

Now, for the third and final topic of my closing remarks. I was very touched by the Invocation that started our program. I was reminded of my speech titled “Why I Am Who I Am Now” delivered in 2007 when I was the guest speaker to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Canossian Sisters (the speech can be accessed in my personal website, cjpanganiban.com).

By way of backgrounder, like many of you in the audience, and yes, like many of PUP students in general, I belonged to a very poor family when I was young. My father finished only high school and was a government clerk. My mother did not finish elementary school. My father supported not only his four children, of whom I was the youngest, but also his seven siblings who were all younger than him, because his own father passed away even before I was born. As the youngest in our impoverished family, nothing was left for me. I had to sell newspapers, peddle cigarettes amongst jeepney passengers, and shined shoes to support myself. In college, I had to maintain my scholarship and sell textbooks to my classmates to be able to own one as my commission.

I studied in public schools, at Juan Luna Elementary School and Mapa High School. I wanted to enroll at the University of the Philippines for college where I was granted a tuition scholarship as an honor graduate of our high school batch of 1,200. But my impoverished father could not afford the then 15-centavo bus fare from our small rented “entresuelo” in Cataluna Street, Sampaloc, Manila to the UP Diliman Campus. He advised me to enroll instead at the then nearby University of Santo Tomas or Far Eastern University.

At UST, I was interviewed by an old Dominican priest. “So, you want a college scholarship. Since you come from a non-Catholic high school, I will ask you three questions. If you can answer them, I will grant you a scholarship. First, how many Gods are there?” “One,” I readily replied.

“How many persons in one God?” he followed up. “Three,” I gamely answered. Then came the final question, “Name them.” Believe it or not, ladies and gentlemen, I did not know the answer, so I muttered, “Susmariosep!” “Wrong,” he boomed with finality, ending my hope of entering the oldest university in the country. At FEU, I was granted a scholarship without any question, but I had to maintain it with high grades throughout my stay.

That incident I considered as a challenge for me to learn more of my faith. At FEU, I met the chaplain, the late Fr. Michael Nolan, who recruited me to the Student Catholic Action. After college, I continued my Catholic learning, attending many seminars and reading the Holy Bible back to back a few times, plus tens of volumes of commentaries on Catholicism. I embraced the Lord Jesus as my savior and master.

In 1991, I was invited to be a lay member of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, where I (together with about 50 Catholic lay leaders) met and dialogued with all the Catholic bishops and leading priests here in forging new regulations to implement the reforms of Vatican II in the Philippines.

My ascent to Catholic leadership was capped by my appointment by the late Pope John Paul II as the only Filipino lay member in 1996-2002 of the Pontifical Council for the Laity based in the Vatican City. This 30-member Council is the highest advisory “dicastery” advising the Pope “on all matters regarding the life of the Catholic faithful worldwide.”

So, from being a Catholic ignoramus who did not know the three persons of the Holy Trinity, I graduated to the highest lay advisory council of the Pope in the Vatican. I relate this story to inspire you, my young friends in the audience, that we should take disappointments and defeats as opportunities and challenges to achieve victory later in life. Poverty and ignorance are not barriers to success. They can be overcome. Looking back, maybe if I were not as poor and as ignorant as I was, I would not have struggled and worked as hard as I did to become “why I am who I am today.”

Maraming salamat po and magandang gabi po sa inyong lahat.

The FLP Awards 21 Law Scholarships and Declares Winners in Dissertation Contest



The Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity awarded recently the winners and finalists of its 2017-2018 Dissertation Writing Contest and 21 scholars under its 2017-2018 Legal Scholarship Program at the Ateneo Professional Schools Auditorium in Rockwell Center, Makati City.

As Guest of Honor and Speaker, Acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio commended all the awardees as “future legal warriors of the Philippines who will defend our national territory and maritime zones, not in the mountains, skies or high seas, but in the courtrooms at The Hague and Hamburg.”

(Full text of his message titled “A Culture of Respect for, and Understanding of, International Law can be downloaded here).

The awards to the dissertation winners and finalists were presented by Retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, Senior Justice Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr. (the chairperson of the Board of Judges), and Atty. Solomon M. Hermosura, Managing Director and General Counsel of Ayala Corporation, which donated the cash prizes.

Raphael Lorenzo A. Pangalangan, a graduate student of the Oxford University and the University of the Philippines, was awarded first prize—with a plaque of recognition and P320,000 cash. Tess Marie Tan, a senior law student of the University of San Carlos in Cebu City, received a plaque of recognition and P220,000 cash for placing second.

The two bested four other finalists: Rexlyn Anne M. Evora (Polytechnic University of the Philippines), Helen May M. Frias (Far Eastern University), Janine Faye A. Napoles (Centro Escolar University), and Joben Mariz T. Odulio (Ateneo de Manila University), who each received P20,000 and a certificate of recognition.

In his acceptance speech on behalf of his fellow winners, Pangalangan thanked the Foundation “for the opportunity to let our voices be heard.” He noted that at “a time where political whim has permeated every sphere of human undertaking, …, the Foundation reminds us that merit still counts for something” and that it “is the challenge to … the lawyers and the lawyers to be, to keep it that way.”

(Pangalangan’s acceptance speech titled “Liberty and Prosperity: In Doctrine, In Practice” can be accessed here).

Each of the 21 scholarship recipients for the school year 2017-2018 received certificates of recognition together with P200,000 cash—divided into P100,000 maximum for tuition, P20,000 for books, and P80,000 for monthly stipends.

Retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, Acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio, and Ms. Elizabeth T. Alba of the Tan Yan Kee Foundation, which donated the cash prizes, officiated the awarding of the scholars.

Of the 21 scholarships, ten (10) were awarded to 3rd year law students as follows: Leo Francis Abot (Ateneo de Manila), John Anthony Almerino (University of San Carlos), Arvin Paolo Cortez (Ateneo de Manila), Mikael Gabrielle Ilao (University of the Cordilleras), Kenneth Glenn Manuel (UST), King Anthony Perez (University of Cebu), Josiah David Quising (FEU), Jun Dexter Rojas (PUP), Julienne Therese Salvacion (San Beda – Manila) and Ma. Vida Malaya Villarico (PUP).

Eleven (11) were awarded to 4th year law students, namely: Karina Mae Badua (UST), Sean James Borja (Ateneo de Manila), Kaycelle Ann Castillo (FEU), Ervin Fredrick Dy (UP), Rexlyn Anne Evora (PUP), Katrina Monica Gaw (Ateneo de Manila), Nigel Carmelo Reago (De La Salle University), Jose Angelo Tiglao (De La Salle University), Summerson Macasarte (St. Thomas More), Althea Vergara (University of San Carlos), and Vanessa Gloria Vergara (Ateneo de Manila).

Tiglao delivered his acceptance speech on behalf of his fellow FLP scholars. He said he was honored to be called an FLP scholar “not because of our social status, but because of our scholastic record and our extra-curricular commitments, which together, show our holistic growth as students of the law and future members of the legal profession” and their “resolve, conviction, and firmness to stand” for what they believe in.

He thanked CJ Panganiban “for allowing us to tell our stories and for inspiring us with his own, for his life work has constantly served as a reminder to us that our first duty as a student is to be an excellent one for we have an obligation not to waste this opportunity.”

And that more than just being excellent students, they “must never forget that we have a duty to give back to this country what we have learned through this scholarship program, as members of our society, because now, more than ever, we must serve as beacons of light for those who struggle to escape the dark.”

(Download a PDF copy of his full speech here.)

CJ Panganiban closed the program with his message titled “Hail to the New FLP Scholars and Winners.” He called on all the scholars and winners “to be models, now and later in their professional careers, of the FLP’s advocacy that we all need both justice and jobs, freedom and food, ethics and economics, peace and development, liberty and prosperity; that these twin beacons must always go together for one is useless without the other; and that the best way to conquer poverty, to create wealth and to share prosperity is to unleash the entrepreneurial genius of our people by granting them the freedom and the tools to help themselves and society.” His speech is also accessible via his personal website, http://www.cjpanganiban.com.

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The FLP Dissertation Contest aims to augment existing literature on the Foundation’s core philosophy of liberty and prosperity under the rule of law. The contest is open to third year and fourth year law students and those taking Master of Laws. The Dissertation Contest is sponsored by FLP with a financial grant from the Ayala Corporation, and co-sponsored by the Philippine Association of Law Schools (PALS).

On the other hand, the FLP Legal Scholarship Program is merit-based and aims to look for the best and the brightest third and fourth year law students in the schools that obtained a percentage of passing above the overall average percentage of passing in bar exams based on the statistical data from the Supreme Court. It is sponsored by FLP with a financial grant from theTan Yan Kee Foundation (TYKF) and co-sponsored by the Philippine Association of Law Schools (PALS).

The FLP was founded in 2011 to perpetuate the core judicial philosophy of CJ Panganiban — that jurists and lawyers should safeguard liberty and nurture prosperity under the rule of law. Its Board of Trustees is composed of CJ Panganiban (chairman), Sec. de Jesus, retired Supreme Court Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, Evelyn T. Dumdum, Asian Development Bank Consultant Joel Emerson J. Gregorio, Atty. Jennifer J. Manalili, Prof. Elenita C. Panganiban and Maria Elena P.S. Yaptangco (members).

Ayala is the country’s long standing partner in the pursuit for progress and nation building, developing businesses that transform industries, challenging the status quo, and bringing innovations in the Philippines and abroad that contribute to the nation’s social and economic agenda. For details, please visit  www.ayala.com.ph.

The Tan Yan Kee Foundation is the corporate social responsibility arm of the Lucio Tan Group of Companies. It approaches corporate social responsibility from a holistic commitment framework targeting education; culture and sports; health and social welfare including environmental concerns; research; and manpower development. For details, please visit www.tanyankee.org.

 .                              In cooperation with

Liabilities of internet intermediaries

First published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:06 AM March 25, 2018

During the last hearing conducted by the Senate committee on public information chaired by Sen. Grace Poe, the liability for fake news of internet intermediaries was taken up.

Active and passive. The discussion reminded me of the treatise of Tess Marie P. Tan, which was adjudged second place (and won P200,000 and a plaque of recognition) in the recent “Dissertation Writing Contest” sponsored by the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity (FLP) with funding from Ayala Corp. and the cooperation of the Philippine Association of Law Schools.

Relevantly, Tan asked: Are active internet intermediaries (which have editorial control over their content, like online news outlets — think Inquirer.net) liable for libel and damages for what are published on their sites? More crucially, are they equally liable for uploaded comments and photos of their readers?

What about the passive internet intermediaries (which do not exercise editorial control over their published content, like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google and Yahoo!)? Are they criminally and civilly liable for what their customers or users upload on their sites?

Specifically, if a user publishes content that infringes on a third person’s intellectual property, should a passive intermediary like Yahoo! be held accountable? If an advertiser buys ad space, may it determine the fitness of the ad? Otherwise stated, may an intermediary privatize censorship?

Tan began with an ode: “Liberty takes on different shades. It is a universal concept with varying peculiar incarnations. To an innocent man accused of wrongdoing, it is exercising his right to be heard; while to the wrongdoer feigning innocence, it is enjoying his right to silence.”

Then, for expanding the frontiers of liberty to heretofore unimaginable height and breadth, she exalted the internet: “Cyberspace is today’s playground. It is where we get our information, ramble about the trivialities of daily life, speak out against oppressive rulers, make friends, even find love … with the mere press of a button. At no other point in time has society been able to exercise its freedom of expression with such ease.”

Finally, she gracefully pirouetted to the subject matter of FLP’s dissertation contest: “In this digital day and age, when liberty and prosperity are so uniquely intertwined in the internet, how does the rule of law safeguard both?” Touché!

To answer the questions she raised, Tan used the “Black Letter Approach.” Consistent with the borderless world of cyberspace, she explored beyond Philippine laws and jurisprudence and went far and wide to multinational treaties and documents, mainly the  United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

She also extensively analyzed international jurisprudence (like decisions and opinions of the International Court of Justice and the highest courts of the United States, European Union, France, Hungary, Estonia, etc.) as well as the published works of internationally recognized publicists and professors.

After extensive search and research, she found that, by and large, in the United States and Europe, intermediaries were held liable only if they exercised “editorial control” over the contents of their websites. In contrast, more restrictive states like China and Thailand penalize intermediaries for the illegal content on their sites, thereby triggering a “repressive effect” on free speech.

As an alternative to the “control test,” Tan posits the “economic interest test” used by the European Court of Human Rights which determined liability on whether the intermediary had a commercial interest in the uploading of the content or in the posting of the comment.

To sum up, Tan believes passive “intermediaries should not be made to assess the lawfulness of content, for that is a judicial question best resolved by a court … [They] should remain neutral platforms … Only upon refusal to comply with a valid order of the courts should they be found liable.”

To enjoy the full flavor of her piece, please visit www.libpros.com.

Constitutionality of joint explorations in WPS

First published by the  / 05:06 AM March 11, 2018

To avoid problems with China in extracting the natural resources of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea, Secretary Harry Roque Jr., proposed “joint exploration agreements” with Chinese-owned companies, as had been done by Vietnam and Brunei, saying these agreements have been upheld in La Bugal-B’laan vs Ramos (Dec. 1, 2004).

Control by the state. Au contraire, Acting Chief Justice (ACJ) Antonio T. Carpio opined in an interview that La Bugal referred only to land extractions, not to those in water. He added that any deal with Chinese companies involving our country’s exclusive economic zones, like the Recto Bank, would be unconstitutional unless these companies recognize Philippine sovereignty.

To be sure, the 246-page La Bugal, passed 10-4 with one abstention, held that all natural resources are owned by the state and their “exploration, development and utilization” (EDU) may be undertaken by the state itself or through 1) coproduction, 2) joint venture, or 3) production-sharing agreements with corporations owned at least 60 percent by Filipino citizens.

Additionally, the President may enter into financial and technical assistance agreements (FTAAs) with foreign-owned companies for the “large-scale” EDU of our “minerals, petroleum and other mineral oils.” Within 30 days, he “shall notify Congress” of every such contract.

FTAAs, the Court said, must always be subject to the “full control” of the state. “Full control” is similar to “that exercised by the board of directors of a private corporation; the performance of managerial, operational, financial, marketing and other functions may be delegated to subordinate officials or given to contractual entities, but the board retains full residual control of the business.”

Though La Bugal involved minerals located on land, nowhere can we find a statement limiting the ruling only to terrestrial minerals. Neither did it say that the President can enter into “joint exploration agreements” with foreign entities.

But, as the ponente of La Bugal, I think ACJ Carpio is right in stressing that “full control” must always remain with the Philippines. Nonetheless, Roque would also be correct if he can show that his proposed “joint exploration agreements” really refer to and will be treated as FTAAs. Then, they could be covered by La Bugal and the President (and not anyone else) can enter into FTAAs even with 100-percent Chinese companies to explore, develop and utilize the minerals and petroleum in the WPS. Understood in this context, Carpio’s and Roque’s positions are not irreconcilable.

Law scholars.

ACJ Carpio will be the guest of honor and speaker at Ateneo de Manila in Rockwell, Makati, on March 23 when the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity and the Tan Yan Kee Foundation Inc. (TYKF), with the cooperation of the Philippine Association of Law Schools (PALS) award 21 law scholarships to:

Third year — Leo Francis Abot (Ateneo de Manila), John Anthony Almerino (U of San Carlos), Arvin Paolo Cortez (Ateneo de Manila), Mikael Gabrielle Ilao (U of  Cordilleras), Kenneth Glenn Manuel (UST), King Anthony Perez (U of Cebu), Josiah David Quising (FEU), Jun Dexter Rojas (Polytechnic U), Julienne Therese Salvacion (San Beda Manila) and Ma. Vida Malaya Villarico (Polytechnic U).

Fourth year — Karina Mae Badua (UST), Sean James Borja (Ateneo de Manila), Kaycelle Anne Castillo (FEU), Ervin Fredrick Dy (UP), Rexlyn Anne Evora (Polytechnic U), Katrina Monica Gaw (Ateneo de Manila), Summerson Macasarte (St. Thomas More), Nigel Carmelo Reago (De La Salle U), Jose Angelo Tiglao (De La Salle U), Althea Vergara (U of San Carlos) and Vanessa Gloria Vergara (Ateneo de Manila).

P200,000 scholarships. Each of them will get a scholarship grant of P200,000 divided into P80,000 for monthly stipends, P20,000 for books and a maximum of P100,000 for tuition, plus a certificate of recognition.

They were selected by a board of judges composed of ACJ Carpio, chair, former education secretary Edilberto C. de Jesus, PALS president Sedfrey M. Candelaria, TYKF executive Elizabeth T. Alba, and Asian Development Bank consultant Joel Emerson J. Gregorio.

Acting Chief Justice Carpio to Award 21 FLP Law Scholars

Acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio will be the guest of honor and speaker during the Awarding Ceremonies of 21 law scholars of the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity (FLP) and the Tan Yan Kee Foundation (TYKF) to be held on March 23, 2018 at the Ateneo de Manila in Rockwell Center, Makati.

Of the 21 scholarships, ten (10) are for 3rd year and eleven (11) are for 4th year law students as follows: (for third year) Leo Francis Abot (Ateneo de Manila), John Anthony Almerino (University of San Carlos), Arvin Paolo Cortez (Ateneo de Manila), Mikael Gabrielle Ilao (University of the Cordilleras), Kenneth Glenn Manuel (UST), King Anthony Perez (University of Cebu), Josiah David Quising (FEU), Jun Dexter Rojas (PUP), Julienne Therese Salvacion (San Beda – Manila) and Ma. Vida Malaya Villarico (PUP).

For fourth year: Karina Mae Badua (UST), Sean James Borja (Ateneo de Manila), Kaycelle Ann Castillo (FEU), Ervin Fredrick Dy (UP), Rexlyn Anne Evora (PUP), Katrina Monica Gaw (Ateneo de Manila), Nigel Carmelo Reago (De La Salle University), Jose Angelo Tiglao (De La Salle University), Summerson Macasarte (St. Thomas More), Althea Vergara (University of San Carlos), and Vanessa Gloria Vergara (Ateneo de Manila).

Each of the scholars will receive P200,000, divided into P100,000 maximum for tuition, P20,000 for books, and P80,000 for monthly stipends. The FLP scholars were selected based on academic merit and their ability to propagate and espouse the FLP’s philosophy of liberty and prosperity under the rule of law.

The Legal Scholarship Program is sponsored by FLP with a financial grant from the TYKF and co-sponsored by the Philippine Association of Law Schools (PALS).

Acting Chief Justice Carpio headed the Board of Judges which selected the scholars. The members were: former Education Secretary Edilberto C. de Jesus, TYKF Executive Elizabeth Alba, PALS President and Ateneo Law Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria, and Atty. Joel J. Gregorio, members.

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The FLP Legal Scholarship Program is merit-based and aims to look for the best and the brightest law students in the country. It is open to all third and fourth year students of law schools that have obtained a percentage of passing above the overall average percentage of passing in bar exams based on the statistical data from the Office of the Bar Confidant of the Supreme Court.

To qualify, the grantees must be (1) incumbent 3rd or 4th year students in one of the eligible law schools, (2) among the top 20 of the batch in their respective schools, (3) have a cumulative average not lower than 85% or 2.25 for the immediately preceding school year, (4) no dropped subject and no grade lower than 75% or 3.0, and (5) have enrolled and completed the full load for each school year. They must also submit an essay on the FLP’s philosophy of liberty and prosperity under the rule of law and how he/she will apply the philosophy in his/her legal career.

The FLP was founded in 2011 to perpetuate the core judicial philosophy of retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban — that jurists and lawyers should safeguard liberty and nurture prosperity under the rule of law.

Its Board of Trustees is composed of CJ Panganiban (chairman), Sec. de Jesus, retired Supreme Court Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, Evelyn T. Dumdum, Asian Development Bank Consultant Joel Emerson J. Gregorio, Atty. Jennifer J. Manalili, Prof. Elenita C. Panganiban and Maria Elena P.S. Yaptangco (members).

The Tan Yan Kee Foundation is the corporate social responsibility arm of the Lucio Tan Group of Companies. It approaches corporate social responsibility from a holistic commitment framework targeting education; culture and sports; health and social welfare including environmental concerns; research; and manpower development. For details, please visit www.tanyankee.org.

Program co-sponsor:

In cooperation with


FLP Announces the Winners of 2017 Dissertation Contest

The Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity (FLP) is pleased to announce that Raphael Lorenzo A. Pangalangan, a graduate student of the Oxford University and the University of the Philippines (UP), won the first prize in the FLP Dissertation Contest.Raphael Lorenzo Pangalangan

The son of International Criminal Court Judge Raul C. Pangalangan and UP Law Professor Elizabeth A. Pangalangan, he won P300,000 cash and a plaque of recognition for his entry: “Enforcing Liberty and Prosperity through the Courts of Law: A Shift in Legal Thought from Juridification to Judicialization”.

Copping the second place is Tess Marie P. Tan, senior law student of the University of San Carlos in Cebu City. She will receive P200,000 cash plus a plaque of recognition for her entry: “Liberty and Prosperity in the Digital Age: Determining the Proper Treatment of Online Intermediaries in Light of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights”. The papers of the two winners are downloadable from this website.

The two bested four other finalists: Rexlyn Anne M. Evora (Polytechnic University of the Philippines), Helen May M. Frias (Far Eastern University), Janine Faye A. Napoles (Centro Escolar University), and Joben Mariz T. Odulio (Ateneo de Manila University), who will each receive P20,000 and a certificate of recognition.

The awarding ceremonies will be held on March 23, 2018 at the Justitia Hall of the Ateneo Law School in Makati City.

The Dissertation Contest is sponsored by FLP with a financial grant from the Ayala Corporation, and co-sponsored by the Philippine Association of Law Schools (PALS).

The winners were selected by the FLP Board of Judges composed of: Supreme Court Senior Justice Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr., chairman, former Education Secretary Edilberto C. de Jesus, Ayala Corporation General Counsel Solomon M. Hermosura, PALS President and Ateneo Law School Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria, and Law Professor Tanya Lat, members.

The FLP Dissertation Contest aims to augment existing literature on the Foundation’s core philosophy of liberty and prosperity under the rule of law. The contest is open to third year and fourth year law students and those taking Master of Laws.

The FLP was founded in 2011 to perpetuate the core judicial philosophy of retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban — that jurists and lawyers should safeguard liberty and nurture prosperity under the rule of law.

Its Board of Trustees is composed of CJ Panganiban (chairman), Sec. de Jesus, retired Supreme Court Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, Evelyn T. Dumdum, Asian Development Bank Consultant, Joel Emerson J. Gregorio, Jennifer J. Manalili, Prof. Elenita C. Panganiban and Maria Elena P.S. Yaptangco.

Ayala is the country’s long standing partner in the pursuit for progress and nation building, developing businesses that transform industries, challenging the status quo, and bringing innovations in the Philippines and abroad that contribute to the nation’s social and economic agenda. For details, please visit www.ayala.com.ph.

In cooperation with


Wash Sycip, Chito Tagle and the FLP (With Due Respect Column)

By: Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, FLP

Column printed in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 15, 2017


Unknown to many, the business icon Washington SyCip, who passed on last week at 96, cherished a bond with the relatively young (59) archbishop of Manila, Luis Antonio Cardinal “Chito” Tagle.

A mystery and a blessing. Wash whispered to me more than once, “Cardinal Chito Tagle is the most brilliant Catholic I have ever met. He is an intellectual giant, but beyond that, he is humble, prayerful and compassionate. He truly loves and cares for the poor and underprivileged. I fervently hope he will be the next pope, and before that happens, I would become a Catholic so I can affectionately greet him in the Vatican.”

Replying to my SMS advising him of the demise of Wash, the prelate (who was then in Spain) texted back: “I’ll pray for him and his family… Mr. Wash was my ‘quiet’ and ‘hidden’ friend. It remains a mystery but a blessing why he showed me such fondness and respect.”

I do not know if Wash actually converted to Catholicism. But whether he did or not, may I invite my readers, whether Catholic or not, to join me in praying for his eternal repose?

Distant star. During my over 11 years in the Supreme Court and my 35 years as a humble practicing lawyer prior to that, I did not have the privilege of meeting Wash. But I viewed him as a distant star.

From afar, I admired his outstanding career as a certified public accountant, an educator (he cofounded the AIM, the Asian Institute of Management where my wife taught for 36 years till her retirement in 2009), and a much-sought-after guru of the major conglomerates in the country.

However, after I retired from the Court in December 2006, I had the good fortune of forging a close personal friendship with him. We met very often as fellow independent directors/advisers of PLDT, Metro Pacific Investments Corp., First Philippine Holdings Corp., Jollibee Foods Corp., Asian Terminals Inc., and Metropolitan Bank, and as fellow trustees/advisers of the Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Metrobank Foundation, Johann Strauss Society and Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity (FLP).

In between the meetings and activities of these corporations and foundations, we privately percolated ideas on the overriding principles and values to make democracy flourish and on the enduring practices and pursuits to equitably spread wealth and prosperity to our people.

Ice of Wash. He was a man of many-splendored talents and quests. I have space to cite only three: integrity, competence and education. I call them the “Ice of Wash.”

He practiced integrity, and not merely in terms of honesty in dealing with others; it meant intellectual decency and a deep sense of personal honor that transcended public acclaim or recognition, as well as the moral courage to stand for what is right and proper, even when no one else did.

Moreover, to him integrity included active fairness, a sense of giving back more than what is received. He expected his scholars (thousands of them) to give back what was granted them after they finished their studies and became professionals so as to multiply the benefits to new entrants.

He demanded competence and excellence from himself and from all who worked for him and for the organizations he represented. In spite of his advanced age, occasional illness, jet lag, sleeplessness and disabilities, he diligently and promptly attended all meetings of the companies he served.

To him there were no short cuts, no mid-merits, no half-bakes, no compromise with mediocrity, no tolerance for patchiness. He wanted and expected only the best: in Filipino, “Hindi puede ang puede na.”

Finally, he had a consuming passion for education. His range was broad and extensive—from the Synergeia Foundation (of which he was “chairman for life”) in basic schooling to the AIM in graduate work. He viewed education as the poor’s passage to prosperity.

I am glad and grateful that though minor compared to AIM and Synergeia, our endeavors in the FLP merited the same passion from Wash. Though not a lawyer, he actively helped in launching the FLP’s three educational projects: 15 professorial chairs in as many law schools, 21 full scholarships (tuition, books and monthly stipend) for law students, and a unique dissertation contest also for law students.

PCNC Conducts Evaluation Visit for FLP

On 23 August 2016, the Philippine Council for NGO Certification (PCNC), a private organization tasked to certify non-profit organizations that were able to comply with the established minimum requirements and criteria for financial management and accountability, visited the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity (FLP) vis-à-vis our application for renewal of accreditation.  Last year, the Foundation was given a one (1)-year accreditation and we are hoping that this year we will be given a three (3) or five (5)-year accreditation by the PCNC Board.

The evaluators from PCNC were Atty. Emma G. Juralbal (Team Chairperson for Financial Management and Administration), Ms. Noemi L. Villaruz (Head for Program Operations, Networking, Vision, Mission, Goals and Governance) and Ms. Mhel C. Mateo (PCNC Secretariat).  They reviewed various FLP documents, including among others, its financial and administrative policies, program operations manual, financial and program plan and the like.  The evaluation covered the following: governance, networking, vision, mission, goals, program operations, financial management and administration.  The evaluators also interviewed former Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban (Chairman), Evelyn T. Dumdum (President), Atty. Joel Emerson J. Gregorio (Corporate Secretary), Atty. Martin Angelo L. Esguerra (Executive Director & COO), Rebecca G. Felix (Treasurer), Cenona L. Mia (Finance Officer), Dean Nilo T. Divina of University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law (professorial chair holder) and Ateneo law students who participated in the programs of the Foundation.  Thereafter, the evaluators conducted a wrap-up session among themselves to discuss their findings and recommendations to be submitted to the PCNC Board for approval.

The certification from PCNC is a seal of good housekeeping that prospective donors and funding agencies may look for in their selection of NGOs to support.  Once an organization meets the criteria for certification, the PCNC Board offers a 1, 3 or 5-year certification, and endorses the NGO to the Bureau of the Internal Revenue (BIR) for the issuance of a BIR Certificate of Registration as qualified donor institution.

Local NGOs that comply with government requirements are certified by PCNC.  They make sure that the NGOs maintain transparency, since most of them receive donations from individuals and corporations.  For more information please visit their website: http://www.pcnc.com.ph/


Dean Mikhail Maxino

No Right is inherently superior to another Right

Silliman University College of Law Dean Mikhail Lee L. Maxino’s “Right to Life, Liberty, Property: A Seamless Trilogy to Prosperity” public lecture was the first FLP-sponsored event held in Mindanao. A Master of Laws in Environmental Law (Dalhousie University, Canada) graduate and environmental law expert, Dean Maxino organized his lecture on November 26, 2014—a year after the super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda devastated the south of the Philippines.

Dean Maxino’s lecture threshed out the principle of indivisibility of human rights, and put forward the main argument that “no right is inherently superior to another; they are all of equal importance.” In other words, a hierarchy of rights would only lead to “prioritized protections”. Thus, the Silliman Dean offered guiding principles: (1) one must respect the importance of rights involved; (2) one must acknowledge the limitation of rights; (3) one must look at the factor that limits a right (only actual burdens on rights trigger conflict); (4) one must understand that the core of a right is more protected than its periphery; and (5) one must consider rights within the the framework of other principles, such as social justice.

Ultimately, the goal is to curb the risk of enabling a select few— the rich, the powerful, or the privileged—to forcefully invoke their liberty and fundamental rights to legitimize their actions that marginalize the less privileged, especially in terms of socio-economic rights.

Quoting Frederick Bastiat, Dean Maxino pointed out that: “Life, liberty and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was that life, liberty and property that existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”

He capped his lecture with a statement in reference to the book of Genesis: “In the beginning, God created property, then humans, then bestowed upon them the freedom to use and dominate property, then He exhorted them to multiply, be fruitful, be prosperous. Property, Life, Liberty – one seamless Right on the road to Prosperity.”

“It is curious that God created property first before humans” he added, “He designed property to be humanity’s source of food, even source of life. It is also curious to note that of the values that both the constitutions of the United States and the Philippines so sacredly protect, it is only property–the two being life and liberty– that people cannot be deprived of without due process of law and just compensation.”

Among the dignitaries present were Retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban and Mr. Nicanor L. Torres, Jr., Executive Director of the Metrobank Foundation.

Dean Maxino was instrumental in the establishment of the Dr. Jovito Salonga Center for Law and Development, an active social-advocacy arm, of the Silliman University College of Law. He has also been extensively involved in critical development projects in the areas of marine and costal resources and protected areas management, funded by international organizations, such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

26 November 2014
Dean Mikhail Lee L. Maxino
Silliman University College of Law (Dumaguete City)

“Right to Life, Liberty, Property: A Seamless Trilogy to Prosperity” (download PDF)

Dean Mikhail Maxino

Dean Mikhail Lee L. Maxino responds to questions from the audience

Will the ASEAN integration help revitalize our legal system?

Dean Joan Sarausos-Largo weighed into current discussions regarding the ASEAN Integration 2015, and expounded on how this regionalization and collective identity building process can ideally foster liberty and prosperity under the rule of law. Delivering a speech in Cebu City on September 11, 2014 , the University of San Carlos (USC) School of Law and Governance Dean captivated an audience comprised of USC law students and faculty, as well as esteemed guests including FLP Chairman and retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, retired Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr., President Aniceto M. Sobrepeña of the Metrobank Foundation, FLP President Evelyn T. Dumdum, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Representative Glenda Reyes, USC President Fr. Dionisio M. Miranda, SVD, Court of Appeals Cebu Station Executive Justice Gabriel T. Ingles, Mme. Justice Portia Alino- Hormachuelos (newly-elected University of the Visayas Gullas Law School Dean), members of the first and second level courts, officers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), and deans of various law colleges and universities in the Visayas region.

Her lecture entitled “A Glass Half Full: ASEAN Integration 2015 and the Imperative for Reforms in the Legal Profession and the Legal Education in the Philippines” served as a timely reminder that the legal and judicial system must take the opportunities the ASEAN Economic Community will open when its ten member states open their gates in the next 5 years.

Dean Largo highlighted the importance of initiating a national conversation regarding the competencies of the Filipino lawyer, not only in the light of the ASEAN integration but also in keeping up with the global trends of the 21st century. While the changing currents may bring forth new perspectives as well as cross-cultural transformations, Dean Largo strongly emphasized that all the more new policies must remain evidence-based and constantly informed by empirical data and critical thought.

Equally important is the revitalization of the legal education. Her lecture also gave sound insights on how to nurture new lawyers who will ensure that the Filipino nation alongside other Southeast Asian nations will mutually benefit from the ASEAN’s economic and cultural growth.

Named as an Outstanding Graduate of the 500-year old University of San Carlos, Cebu, Dean Largo graduated Class Valedictorian and Magna Cum Laude in Political Science, and Cum Laude in Law, on top of being the Valedictorian of her Law Class. In 2000, she passed the Bar Examinations and was at the top 20 of successful examinees where only sixteen (16%) percent of all candidates passed. At age 28, she was appointed Assistant Law Dean of her Alma Mater’s College of Law. She is the youngest professor in the College to have occupied the administrative post.

Engaged in trial and appellate practice, Dean Largo is a partner at the Florido Largo & Acuña Law Offices.



11 September 2014
Dean Joan Sarausos-Largo
University of San Carlos School of Law and Governance (Cebu)

“ASEAN Integration 2015 and the Imperative for Reforms
in the Legal Profession and the Legal Education in the Philippines”  (download PDF)

FLP President Evelyn Toledo-Dumdum and USC Dean Joan LargoFLP President Ms. Evelyn Toledo-Dumdum and USC Dean Joan Sarausos-Largo

FLP President Evelyn Toledo-Dumdum
FLP President Ms. Evelyn Toledo-Dumdum delivering her remarks on behalf of the foundation 

Ms. Glenda Reyes of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and
USAID Trade-Related Assistance for Development (TRADE) Project

Introducing the Professorial Lecturer

Response from guests

Related article:
Unleashing Entrepreneurial Ingenuity
by Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban (Ret.)

Ateneo School of Law Holds Second Moot Court Competition

To cap his second term as Professorial Chair Holder, Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria organized “The 2014 Chief Justice Artemio V. Paganiban – Liberty & Prosperity Public International Law Moot Court Competition” from March 4 to 5, 2014 at the Justitia Hall of the Ateneo Law School, Rockwell Center. The debate, which centered on “The State of Asioya v. The Kingdom of Raepinosa: Concerning the Events Related to Dereez and Lexseia” as main topic, was conducted in lieu of a public lecture by the esteemed Dean with the active participation of the St. Thomas More: Society of Advocates.

The championship round (March 5, 2014) was judged by a panelist, with Ambassador Manuel A. J. Teehankee as panel chair, and Ateneo Society of International Law (ASIL) alumni Atty. Jose Lorenzo as well as former ASIL presidents Atty. Pia Alvendia and Philip Dabao as panel members.

Lester Flores and Sang Mee Lee, both from 2B, represented Applicant, the State of Asioya, while Abby Castelo and Paolo Gonzales of 2A represented Respondent, the Kingdom of Raepinosa. The competition ended with 2A bagging Best Memorial and Overall Winner. Paolo Gonzales won Best Speaker for the final round and Alyssa Tan, also from 2A, was awarded Best Speaker for the eliminations. Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban and wife Elenita handed the plaques and certificates.

The competition formally closed with Chief Justice Panganiban, FLP Chairman, expressing both his delight over the second round of debates and his hope that more Atenean lawyers will be active in the international law sphere.

Apart from the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity and Metrobank Foundation cohort, the event welcomed various members of the Ateneo Professional Schools Faculty.

Following the event was a symposium on corruption, which concluded the International Law Week.


Public International Law Moot Court Competition at the Ateneo Law School’s Justitia Hall


Mrs. Elenita Panganiban flanked by Chief Justice Panganiban and Dean Candelaria


The panel of judges led by Ambassador Manuel A.J. Teehanke 


Awarding ceremonies


Awarding ceremonies


Awarding ceremonies


Dean Candelaria receiving the FLP honorarium from Chief Justice Panganiban


Chief Justice Panganiban delivering his closing remarks.



The Unpaid Creditor vs The Distressed Debtor

Chair holder Atty. Nilo T. Divina, youngest Dean of the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law and Founder of DivinaLaw, delivered his first lecture on 21 February 2014 at the UST Bar Lecture Room. It was witnessed by retired and incumbent justices and judges, prominent lawyers, bankers and students alike. The event was co-organised by the Philippine Association of Law Schools.

Aptly titled “The Unpaid Creditor vs The Distressed Debtor: Proposals to Balance their Competing Interests”, Dean Divina’s discussion provided the public with insights on banking, lending, and their judicial relevance. His lecture was met with accolades from important guests namely Rev. Fr. Isidro C. Abaño, O.P. (Regent, UST Faculty of Civil Law), Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P. (UST Vice-Rector), former UST Faculty of Civil Law Dean Amado L. Dimayuga (now Dean Emeritus),  Mr. Benjamin C. Sevilla (President, Philippine Asset Growth One), Atty. Jose A. Barcelon (Senior Vice President and Head of Legal Services Group, United Coconut Planters Bank), Hon. Ramon Paul L. Hernando (Justice, Court of Appeals), and Mr. Nicanor Torres (Executive Director, Metrobank Foundation). Dean Divina’s lecture was also commended by retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban (FLP Chairman of the Board).

Dean Divina obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Science (Cum Laude) in 1985 and his Bachelor of Laws (Magna Cum Laude, Valedictorian, Rector’s Awardee for Academic Excellence) in 1989, both from the University of Santo Tomas. He started his career in law as the clerk of court of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City. In 1992, he moved on to become an associate attorney at the Misa Castro & Associates Law Offices. From there, he was appointed as Corporate Secretary of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) where he eventually became its youngest General Manager and Chief Legal Adviser. In 1993, he joined Equitable Bank where he was initially hired as consultant and eventually became Equitable Bank’s youngest Vice President. Upon the merger of Equitable Bank with the Philippine Commercial International Bank (PCIB), the Bank promoted him as its youngest Executive Vice President/Corporate Secretary and General Counsel. Equitable PCI Bank (now Banco De Oro) is the country’s largest bank. In 2006, Dean Divina founded the Divina and Uy Law Offices which is currently the biggest Thomasian law firm in the country with 25 lawyers. Its clientele includes banks, financial institutions, top corporations, various publicly and privately-owned entities, as well as individuals with varied interests.

Dean Divina is the Author of the “Handbook on Commercial Law”.

21 February 2014
Dean Nilo T. Divina
University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law
“The Unpaid Creditor vs The Distressed Debtor:
Proposals to Balance their Competing Interests”  (download PDF)


Singing of the Philippine National Anthem


Mr. Nicanor Torres, Executive Director of the Metrobank Foundation delivering the Welcoming Remarks on behalf of Metrobank Foundation President Mr. Aniceto Sobrepeña


UST Faculty of Civil Law Dean Emeritus Amado L. Dimayuga introducing the lecturer


Dean Divina delivering his lecture


Retired Chief Justice Panganiban delivering the Closing Remarks

Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity

Regulating the Practice of Professions by Foreigners

On 7 February 2014, chair holder Atty. Andres D. Bautista, former Dean of the Far Eastern University Institute of Law and Chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, delivered his first lecture at FEU Makati. His topic entitled “Regulating the Practice of Professions by Foreigners” lengthily weighed the complementary principles of Liberty and Prosperity. According to him, “the ability to practice one’s profession is not only a way to earn a living, it is also a means by which an individual may seek fulfillment, attain self-actualization, and contribute to society.” For foreigners in the country, while they are likewise protected by the country’s bill of rights, “there are certain privileges that can be withheld by the State provided that the exclusion of such privilege is neither unreasonable nor arbitrary”.

The lecture attracted law students from host FEU, as well as from the law schools of Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University. He co-founded the Master of Business Administration-Juris Doctor dual degree program of De La Salle Graduate School of Business and FEU. Bautista earned a Bachelor of Science in Legal management degree from Ateneo de Manila University in 1986, a Bachelor of Laws, (Class Valedictorian) from Ateneo Law School in 1990, and a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School in 1993.

Before his appointment to PCGG, Chairman Andy was the Chief Executive Officer of Kuok Group Philippines. He also previously served as a Chairman and President of the Philippine Association of Law Schools, and a partner in an international law firm. He was also a member of Constitutional Reform Commissions under previous administrations.


7 February 2014
Dean Andres D. Bautista
Far Eastern University Institute of Law
“Regulating the Practice of Professions by Foreigners”  (download PDF)


FLP Education Committee Chair and Former Education Secretary
Dr. Edilberto de Jesus delivering a welcoming message


Dean Andres Bautista delivering his lecture aided by a detailed powerpoint presentation


Mr. Aniceto M. Sobrepeña (Metrobank Foundation President) conversing with
Retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban (FLP Chairman of the Board)


A student posing questions during the open forum


Awarding of honorarium

Comparative Analysis of the MOA on Ancestral Domain and the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro

On his new term as FLP professorial chair holder, Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria of the Ateneo Law School delivered his second public lecture on November 29, 2013. Presenting a “Comparative Analysis of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain and the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro” (view PDF file), Dean Candelaria followed-through the earlier public lecture delivered by Dean Reynaldo U. Agranzamendez (University of the Cordilleras), who focused on indigenous peoples’ rights, ancestral domain claims, and their economic implications.

His lecture attracted a large group of Public International Law students, among others. Demonstrating how his chosen topic is relevant to International law, Dean Candelaria opined that the implications of the two agreements engender not only political repercussions, but economic interests as well. He concluded noting how principles of liberty and prosperity are fundamental in the drafting of the said proposals, affecting not only select communities but the nation as a whole.

The open forum welcomed insightful comments and additional discussions from FLP Education Committee Chair Dr. Edilberto C. de Jesus (also former Philippine Department of Education Secretary and Deputy Commissioner of the Presidential Office of the Peace Commission) and Ateneo Law Professor Atty. Camilo Miguel M. Montesa (also former head of the Peacemaking and Peacekeeping Group in the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process or OPAPP).

Apart from Ateneo Law faculty and students, the event was also attended by guests from Metrobank Foundation and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Dean Candelaria delivered his first lecture entitled “Finance & Law: Understanding the Institutional and Functional Role of the International Monetary Fund During Sovereign Debt Crisis Situations”  on September 21, 2012. This was commended by the FLP for “setting a high standard” in the FLP professorial lecture series.

Dean Candelaria has an undergraduate degree in Political Science at the Ateneo de Manila University in 1980. In 1984, he graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law and ranked among the top 20% of the law school graduating batch and received a grade of 83.2% in the 1984 Bar Examinations. In 1986, he left for graduate studies in law at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) as a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar and was conferred the degree of Master of Laws in the field of Public International Law.

In 2004, Dean Candelaria was appointed by the President of the Republic of the Philippines as a Member of the Negotiating Panel for the Peace Talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New Peoples’ Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP/NPA/NDF). He also chairs the Government of the Republic of the Philippines Monitoring Committee on the Comprehensive Agreement in Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

Dean Candelaria was recently invited to teach at the Master of Laws Program jointly administered by the Supreme Court Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) and the San Beda College Graduate Program in Law.

29 November 2013
Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria
Ateneo de Manila University School of Law
Comparative Analysis of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain
and the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro” (download PDF)

FLP Education Committee Chair and Former Education Secretary
Dr. Edilberto de Jesus delivering a welcoming message.

Dean Sedfrey Candelaria introducing his second public lecture

A slide presentation on the areas in Mindanao covered by the topic

Ateneo Law students and Dean Sedfrey Candelaria

A law student asking further questions during the open forum

Dean Sedfrey Candelaria awarded by Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban and
wife Elenita C. Panganiban, together with Dr. Edilberto de Jesus
and Mr. Nicanor Torres (Executive Director, Metrobank Foundation)

Retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban
closing the program with a lighthearted message

– –

29 November 2013
Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria
Ateneo de Manila University School of Law
Comparative Analysis of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain
and the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro” (PDF)

photoby _ kristian jeff agustin

The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act: A Vehicle for Liberty & Prosperity

A successful lecture was delivered by Atty. Reynaldo U. Agranzamendez, Dean of the University of the Cordilleras College of Law on October 3, 2013 at the UC Theater, Baguio City. Aside from attracting a number of lawyers, academics and students, his discussion on “The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA): A Vehicle for Liberty & Prosperity“ was also witnessed by guests from local government units, NGOs, and indigenous communities, who all gathered and filled the 700-capacity auditorium to standing-room-only, the biggest audience to attend a FLP-sponsored public event since the professorial chairs launching ceremonies held at the Metrobank Auditorium (Metrobank Plaza, Makati City).

His public lecture argued that the essence of Republic Act No. 8371, also known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997, was being eroded by the sale of ancestral lands for which a number of Baguio Ibaloi families now hold CALTs (or certificates of ancestral land titles).

Dean Agranzamendez is the appointed holder of the “Chief Justice Panganiban Professorial Chair on Liberty and Prosperity” for Luzon. A trial lawyer since 1975, Atty. Agranzamendez has handled several cases, among which is the case involving the death of American Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell in 2007. He has been the dean of the UC College of Law since 2000 and is a member of the National Conference for the Revision of the Rules of Civil Procedure. He was conferred the Master of Laws degree by San Beda College in June 2013.

A leading law school in the country, the University of the Cordilleras has produced at least 18 Bar topnotchers to date, including the two first-placers (Janet Abuel and Noel Neil Malimban). It is the only law school outside Metro Manila that boasts of producing two Bar first-placers.

Launched on December 20, 2011, the FLP was founded by retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban along with fellow retired Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr., business icon Washington Sycip, and former UC President and Education Secretary Edilberto C. de Jesus. The FLP aims to “perpetuate the core judicial philosophy of Chief Justice Panganiban that jurists and lawyers should not only safeguard the liberty of the people but must also nurture their prosperity under the rule of law.”

As its first project, 10 professorial chairs were appointed to “conduct original research and delivery of scholarly outputs to advocate the promotion, appreciation, application and protection of the intertwining relationship of liberty and prosperity.” One each from the nine leading law schools in the country and one from the Philippine Judicial Academy were designated and will receive stipends from FLP and co-sponsor Metrobank Foundation.

3 October 2013
Dean Reynaldo U. Agranzamendez
University of the Cordilleras College of Law (Baguio City)
The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA): A Vehicle for Liberty & Prosperity” (download PDF)



Dean Agranzamendez delivering his lecture.


Snapshot of the powerpoint presentation by Dean Agranzamendez


Closing remarks by Dr. Edilberto de Jesus, former University of the Cordilleras President
and incumbent Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity Trustee (and Education Committee Chair)


Dr. Edilberto de Jesus also served as  former Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd).


Interviews after the program

3 October 2013
Dean Reynaldo U. Agranzamendez
College of Law, University of the Cordilleras
The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA): A Vehicle for Liberty & Prosperity“ (PDF)

Should the Economic Provisions of the 1987 Constitution be Amended?

USC versus UST Grand Debate

The University of San Carlos (USC) School of Law and Governance and the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Faculty of Civil Law engaged in a formal debate in Cebu on August 20, 2013. The event was spearheaded by FLP chair holder Atty. Joan Sarausos-Largo, Dean of the USC School of Law and Governance and hosted by the USC, at its CAFA Theatre. With the goal of arguing for or against the amending or removal of the economic restrictions held by the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the main argument tackled House Bill No. 1, which “seeks to revise the pertinent economic provisions of 1987 Philippine Constitution”, as proposed by Feliciano Belmonte, Speaker of the House of Representatives. This House Bill adds the statement “unless otherwise provided by law” as it recognizes the subjectivity of the economy. (Lifted from a related article by Lesley Delos Santos).

The panel from the USC consisted of Mr. Vince Joseph Cesista (speaker on necessity), Mr. Glen Sotto (speaker on beneficiality), Mr. Alvin Clyde Gregorio (speaker on practicability), and Atty. Daryll Bretch Largo (coach). The team argued against the amending of the 1987 Constitution; click to read the Position Paper in PDF.

Arriving safely in Cebu amidst the pounding typhoon Maring and massive flight cancellations in Manila on the same day, the UST was represented by Kim Apple Carvajal (speaker on practicability), Ron Robbie Rosales (speaker on beneficiality), Rolando Asuncion (speaker on necessity), and Ricky De la Cruz (coach). Their group affirmed the proposed revisions to the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution: click to read the Position Paper in PDF.

Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., a Cebuano, witnessed the success of the debate. He delivered the closing remarks on behalf of the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity, where he serves as an esteemed trustee and chairman of its Governance committee.

President of USC Fr. Dionisio Miranda also graced the event.



Front row (left to right):
USC President Fr. Dionisio Miranda, Retired Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr.,
and USC Dean Joan Sarausos-Largo.


Mr. Alvin Clyde Gregorio (USC Debate Team) arguing against the proposition


UST Debate Team:
Kim Apple Carvajal (practicability speaker), Ron Robbie Rosales (beneficiality speaker),
and Rolando Asuncion (necessity speaker)

Read More: “UST, USC engages in friendly debate”
(20 August 2013 Today’s Carolinian article written by Lesley Cara P. Delos Santos)

CJ Panganiban Awarded by the Teehankee Center For The Rule of Law


The Claudio Teehankee Center for the Rule of Law conferred the 2013 Rule of Law Award to retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban on 18 April 2013—same day as the public lecture of PhilJA’s Chancellor Adolfo S. Azcuna—at the Ateneo Professional Schools in Rockwell. Retired Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. presented the award, while Ambassador Manuel A.J. Teehankee delivered a short thank-you message.


Given on the 95th birth anniversary of Chief Justice Teehankee, the  21st  Chief Justice was cited  for his exemplary public service culminating in his leadership of the whole Philippine Judiciary, for his lifelong commitment and service to a judicial philosophy that is based on Liberty and Prosperity, for his continued advocacy of the need to have a judiciary with independence, integrity, industry and intelligence, a revitalization of the legal profession in the tradition of its noble roots, and promoting the twin goals of safeguarding liberty while assuring the prosperity of all citizens, as liberty is an empty vessel without economic equity, all of which contributes towards a more stable and lasting Rule of Law.

The Teehankee Center honored Retired Justice Ameurfina A. Melencio-Herrera, Chancellor Emeritus of the Philippine Judicial Academy, with the 2013 Rule of Law Award on the same occasion.

The awarding ceremonies was followed by the blessing and opening of the Advanced Legal Studies Research Offices located at the Integritas Room, Ateneo Center for the Rule of Law.

More information on the ceremonies here:
“Proud Moment”



 Gratitude and Appreciation*



After witnessing the blessed and heartwarming events this afternoon, which featured not only the enlightening lecture of Justice Adolf Azcuna titled “Supreme Court Decisions on the Economic Provisions of the Constitution” but also the presentation of the Teehankee Center Rule of Law awards to Justice Ameurfina Aguinaldo Melencio-Herrera and me, what can I really say but to express my sincere “Thank you” to all the good institutions and people who have made these blessed events possible.

At the outset, let me say “Thank you” to the Chief Justice Teehankee Rule of Law Center, especially to its Chairman, Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr and its Executive Director, Ambassador Manuel A.J. Teehankee, for selecting me (together with Justice Amor) as the 2013 Recipient of the Claudio Teehankee Rule of Law Award. Though I feel thoroughly inadequate and unworthy of this distinction, I humbly accept it as a duty to work even more fervently and diligently for the promotion of the rule of law in our country. I also thank them for inviting me to join the Claudio Teehankee Foundation as one its trustees. Although I have made it a personal policy to refrain from accepting any more responsibilities now that I have retired from active public life and although I am already loaded with several private endeavors, I am making an exception to this personal policy, in deference to Chief Justice Teehankee whom I admire, to Chief Justice Davide whom I esteem and of course to Ambassador Dondi Teehankee.

I have many reasons to thank our honored lecturer today, Justice Adolf S. Azcuna, first, for his scholarly and incisive presentation of some decisions of the Supreme Court on the economic provisions of the Constitution.

          Let me at this point respond briefly to some of the cases discussed by Justice Adolf. As he said, the Manila Hotel case (Manila Prince Hotel vs GSIS, Feb. 3, 1997) was quite contentious. Chief Justice Davide and I were with the minority. I wrote a dissent saying in brief that Manila Hotel was not a one of the “rights, privileges, and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony” that Section 10 of Article XII gives “preference to Filipino citizens.”

Also, to give undue advantage to Filipinos over a clearly superior Malaysian bid for the Manila Hotel violates basic fairness encapsulated in the principle of “leveling the playing field.” Nonetheless, we should still congratulate Justice Azcuna who was counsel for the winning petitioner. He was not yet a member of the Court at that time. He won fair and square, and under the rule of law, we accept his victory.

As Justice Azcuna pointed out, I was the ponente of the second case he discussed, La Bugal-B’laan vs Ramos (Dec. 1, 2004), which upheld the constitutionality of the Mining Law of 1995 by vote of 10-4 with Justice Adolf inhibiting because his former law firm was counsel for the private respondents. In the original decision promulgated on Jan. 27, 2004, which was voted 8-5, I was the leader of the minority. However, the Court had a yearlong deliberation on the Motion for Reconsideration, which I won at 10-4. I am happy that CJ Davide voted with me. You, my dear audience, admire great and persuasive lawyers during oral arguments in the Supreme Court. But I tell you, the arguments during the internal deliberations of the Court, which are confidential and are never known by the public, are at times more passionate and more telling than those in the open hearings.

The PLDT case (Gamboa vs Teves) discussed by Justice Adolf was promulgated on June 28, 2011 when both CJ Davide and I have already retired. Before talking any further, let me disclose that I am an Independent Adviser of PLDT. As summed up by our distinguished lecturer, the Court – through Justice Antonio T. Carpio – ruled that in determining the 40 percent maximum equity that foreigners may hold in public utilities, only the voting shares should be taken into account, not the entire capital stock that includes the non-voting shares.

In several speeches, I have discussed this controversial decision, but for today, let me just say that this is the first time the Supreme Court has spoken on the subject. Since 1936, when this nationalistic provision was included in the Constitution and onwards till the present Constitution, the Executive Department, particularly the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, have interpreted the constitutional provision to refer to the entire capital stock, not just to the voting shares.

On this basis, many foreign investors have brought equities here. I think it would not be fair and to penalize them or to deprive them of their investments now under the new ruling. They have relied in good faith on the representation of the authorities that they were not violating the Constitution and the law in making their investments, which are now found to be irregular under the new ruling. I think the decision should be made prospective, and investors should be given time to divest or to adjust to the new decision.

Because of the need to attract investors, there have been proposals to amend the Constitution. But some believe Charter Change is unnecessary. Only a more progressive interpretation is needed. The question is, in view of the changed and changing circumstances and requirements of our country, do we need to amend the Constitution, or just to interpret it more progressively to meet these new challenges?

As I wrote in my Inquirer column last Sunday, there are at least two ways of interpreting constitutions and laws, and I quote, “Should they be read according ‘to the letter that killeth or to the spirit that giveth life.’ Should they be construed on the basis of their text and words, or on their underlying rationale and philosophy? Should the Constitution be understood strictly on what its framers originally intended, or liberally taking into account the ever changing economic, social and political milieu?

“The textualists or originalists interpret according to the original intent of the framers, regardless of the dire consequences on current and future events. They rely on ‘dura lex sed lex.’ Their self-imposed duty is ‘to apply laws faithfully and desist from engaging in socio-economic or political experimentations,’ which they denounce as ‘judicial legislation.’

“On the other hand, the liberals or progressives believe in a living Constitution; one that grows with time, solves the vagaries of the present and anticipates the needs of the future. Chief Justices Davide, Puno, Sereno and I belong to this latter group who believe that jurists are not mere social technicians and legal automatons. Rather, they are social engineers who courageously fix their gaze on the underlying principles and overarching aspirations of the Constitution to nurture a free and prosperous nation.”

The United States Supreme Court has been struggling for a long time on these differing schools of thought of constitutional and statutory construction. During my term as Chief Justice, I visited US Justice Antonin Scalia, said to be the leader of the originalists in the US Court. I was inviting him to speak before the Global Forum on Liberty and Prosperity that our Supreme Court was sponsoring on October 18-20, 2006 just prior my retirement. He smiled and said, “Mr. Chief Justice, you do not really want me there. I would be useless in the Forum because I do not believe in international law. When I joined the US Supreme Court, I swore to defend and implement the US Constitution and nothing else. And I interpret it according to the original intent of our framers, which did not include international law. Please see my friend, Justice Anthony Kennedy. I am sure he will welcome an opportunity to expound on his international philosophies and ideas.”

True enough, when I saw Justice Kennedy later, he agreed to speak at our Global Forum even if via teleconferencing only, because he had already committed to be in another venue on those dates.

I mention this incident with Justices Scalia and Kennedy to show that we are not unique in our differences of interpretation. Even the US Supreme Court in divided on that issue.

May I further thank Justice Azcuna for being a leading member of the Panganiban Court and for espousing my philosophy of “liberty and prosperity under the rule of law.” He expressly wrote on this philosophy in his sterling ponencia in Bayan vs Ermita (April 25, 2006), in which our Supreme Court unanimously struck down the so-called “Calibrated Preemptive Response” or CPR policy of the Macapagal-Arroyo government and reiterated the maximum tolerance dictum in allowing public assemblies, rallies and demos as parts of the right of free speech. And beyond that, Justice Adolf’s decision decreed the creation and establishment of at least one freedom park in every city and municipality in our country.

Let me further thank Justice Azcuna for overseeing the completion, inauguration and full operation of the Philippine Judicial Academy Training Center in Tagaytay which was started by Justice Amor as the first Chancellor of PHILJA. I am sorry that I overlooked mentioning his name in my Inquirer column two weeks ago when I wrote on this topic.

The PHILJA Training Center was funded by a P300 million no-strings grant given by the Japanese government during my term as Chief Justice even if at that time, we did not have any architectural plans and specifications. Then Japanese Ambassador Ryuichiro Yamazaki handed me the check for P300 million on January 26, 2006 without any condition, not even the usual grant requirement to hire Japanese consultants and to use Japanese equipment in the project. Instead, my good friend, the ambassador, relied on my verbal assurance that the Center would be built and competed at the best terms and at the earliest time possible.

May likewise I thank Metrobank Foundation, especially its energetic president, former Cabinet Secretary Aniceto Sobrepena, not only for co-sponsoring the Professorial Chairs Program of the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity, but also for hosting today’s merienda.

Finally, may I express my appreciation and gratitude to all the participants in this afternoon’s event, especially Dean Sedfrey Candelaria, himself one of the ten holders of the “Chief Justice Panganiban Professorial Chair on Liberty and Prosperity,” and the Ateneo de Manila for never tiring host activities of the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity here at the Ateneo Professional Schools.

Maraming, maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat.


Chief Justice Panganiban Photo

The 21st Chief Justice of the Philippines, Hon. Artemio  Panganiban receives the CJ Teehankee Rule of Law Award, 2013 from former Chief Justice and Foundation Chairman, Hilario G. Davide. Looking on are Mrs. Elenita Carpio Panganiban, Amb. Manuel A.J. Teehankee and Dean of  Ateneo Law School, Sedfrey M. Candelaria. 


JBC Member Mitoy Fernan Cayosa, Trustee of the Foundation cutting the ribbon for the blessing and opening of Integritas Research Offices


Left to right: Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria (Ateneo Law School), Mr. Jose G. Araullo (Founding Partner, Punongbayan & Araullo and Treasurer, Teehankee Foundation), Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. (Ret.), Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban (Ret.), Justice Adolfo S. Azcuna (Chancellor, PhilJA), Mr Simeon Cua (Trustee, Teehandkee Foundation), and Ambassador Manuel A. J. Teehankee


* Transcript of the extemporaneous Closing Remarks of retired Chief Justice ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN during the Public Lecture of retired Justice Adolfo S. Azcuna, Chancellor of the Philippine Judicial Academy, held on April 18, 2013 at the Justitia Room, Ateneo Professional Schools, Rockwell Center, Makati, sponsored by the Philippine Judicial Academy of the Supreme Court and the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity.

Supreme Court Decisions on the Economic Provisions of the Constitution

Incumbent Chancellor of the Philippine Judicial Academy (PhilJA) and retired Supreme Court Justice Adolfo S. Azcuna fulfilled his first commitment to the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity as a professorial chair holder by delivering his lecture on Thursday, 18 April 2013. Aptly titled “Supreme Court Decisions on the Economic Provisions of the Constitution“, Chancellor Azcuna’s lecture contributed to the Foundation’s goal of trailblazing discussions and debates on the role of the judiciary in economic progress—especially in terms of businesses, investments, jobs, and livelihood. The PhilJA Chancellor was the fourth to deliver the Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban Professorial Chairs on Liberty and Prosperity, and the first and only to deliver outside a law school setting. Apart from former Chief Justices Hilario G. Davide, Jr. and Artemio V. Panganiban, the event was attended by retired Supreme Court justices, judges, government officials, lawyers, law school deans, professors, and students alike.

The event was successfully organized by the Philippine Judicial Academy in partnership with the Metrobank Foundation and the Claudio Teehankee Foundation, in cooperation with the Ateneo School of Law in its Rockwell Campus.

Supreme Court Decisions on the Economic Provisions of the Constitution

By Justice Adolfo S. Azcuna
Chancellor, Philippine Judicial Academy

April 18, 2013
Justitia, 4th Floor, Ateneo Professional Schools

Kindly view PDF file:
 Supreme Court Decisions on the Economic Provisions of the Constitution


FLP’s Trustees Chief Justices Artemio V. Panganiban and Hilario G. Davide, Jr.
with Justice Adolfo S. Azcuna, PhilJA Chancellor and FLP Professorial Chair holder


Retired Justices Ameurfina A. Melencio-Herrera (PhilJA’s Founding Chancellor)
and Bernardo P. Pardo (MCLE Office Chairperson) gracing the event 


Retired Justice Pardo delivering the Opening Remarks


Metrobank Foundation’s President and former Cabinet Secretary
Mr. Aniceto M. Sobrepeña delivering his message of support


The Ateneo Law School’s Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria
introducing the lecturer and professorial chair holder


Retired Justice Azcuna delivering his lecture “Supreme Court Decisions on the
Economic Provisions of the Constitution” and answering engaging questions from the audience


Acceptance of endowment and token of appreciation (left to right):
Dr. Edilberto De Jesus (Committee Chair and Trustee, FLP), Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban (Chairman and Trustee, FLP), Justice Adolfo Azcuna (Chancellor, PhilJA), Mr. Aniceto M. Sobrepeña (President and Trustee, Metrobank Foundation), and 
Dr. Placido L. Mapa, Jr.(Vice Chairman and Trustee, Metrobank Foundation)

Ateneo School of Law Holds Debate


Spearheaded by Professorial Chair Holder Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria, the Ateneo Law School held the first ever Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban Liberty & Prosperity Debate (Finals) on March 13, 2013 at the Justitia Hall of the Ateneo Law School, Rockwell Center. The debate was conducted in lieu of a formal lecture by Dean Candelaria, and served as an engaging follow-through of his lecture—this time letting the students take the lead in understanding the judicial philosophy of Liberty and Prosperity under the Rule of Law.

The purpose of the debate finals was to thresh out the constitutionality of the  Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport (APECO)  by arguing for or against the proposition to amend R.A. 9490 otherwise known as the Aurora Special Economic Zone Act of 2007 (Republic Act No. 10083). Debate teams impressed the diverse audience and earned accolades from the Chief Justice himself.

The teams consisted of Block 1-B’s Christopher Reyes, Leo Arman Galang, and Kenneth Varona (Affirmative Side: click to read the Position Paper in PDF); and Block 1-A’s Ponce Lopez, Abby Castelo, and Steffi Sales (Negative Side: click to read the Position Paper in PDF). The former argued the unconstitutionality of R.A. 10083, stressing the negative implications on social justice and human rights, while the latter weighed on the difference between implementation issues as questions of fact and enduring questions of law and justiciable controversies. After more than an hour of energetic exchanges and witty quips between the teams, the judges hailed the negative panel as champion.

The debate was successfully organized in partnership with the St. Thomas More: Society of Advocates of the Ateneo Law School.


Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban Constitutional Law Debate (Finals)
at the Ateneo Law School’s Justitia Hall


Affirmative opening speaker Mr. Leo Galang of Block 1-B 


Block 1-A’s Ms. Steffi Sales speaks for the Negative panel


The Affirmative side listening to the points raised by Ms. Steffi Sales of Block 1-A


The  panel of judges with ANC Debates champions Mr. Michael Victoriano and Ms. Kristel Tiu


CJ Panganiban and Dean Candelaria in an engaging conversation during intermission


Chief Justice Panganiban with wife Elenita C. Panganiban, and Dean Candelaria
awarding “Best Debater” to Ms. Abby Castelo (Negative side)


Negative panel accepts trophy for championing
the Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban Constitutional Law Debate Finals


The Affirmative side accepts trophy for placing second

(Watch this video introduction courtesy of the St. Thomas More: Society of Advocates)


ATENEO DEBATE Re APECO Position Paper (Affirmative) – PDF

ATENEO DEBATE Re APECO Position Paper (Negative) – PDF


The Powerful Judiciary and the Concept of Rule of Law in the Philippines

Dean Joan Largo, University of San Carlos CebuDean Joan Sarausos-Largo of the University of San Carlos, Cebu School of Law and Governance is the youngest and only lady recipient of the Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban Professorial Chair on Liberty and Prosperity. On 6 March 2013, she delivered her first lecture to a big audience composed of students, faculty, legal minds, and businessmen of Cebu at the Albert van Gansewinkel Hall, in fulfillment of her commitment to conduct original research that may help promote the judicial philosophy of Liberty and Prosperity under the Rule of Law.

Aptly titled “The Powerful Judiciary and the Concept of Rule of Law in the Philippines: Correlations, Consequences and Implications”, Dean Largo’s discussion probed highly relevant topics such as (1) Rule of Law in Developed Countries and in Asia; (2) Rule of Law in the Philippines, (3) Judicial Review and Rule of Law; (4) The Expanded Certiorari Jurisdiction of Philippine Courts under the 1987 Constitution; and (5) the Powerful Philippine Court, which opened up a brave discussion on the Supreme Court’s duty to solely decide matters that encompass “grave abuse of discretion”.

Her lecture was warmly commended by former Chief Justices Artemio V. Panganiban, now the FLP Chairman of the Board, and former Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. Mr. Anecito Sobrepena, President of the Metrobank Foundation; Mr. Gordon Alan Joseph, President of Cebu Business Club; Mr. Philip Tan, President of Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Mr. Efrain Pelaez, Jr., President of Mactan Chamber of Commerce and Industry also expressed their warm remarks and appreciation. The event was also witnessed by the President of IBP Cebu City Chapter Atty. Earl Bonachita, the President of the IBP Cebu Chapter Atty. Ferdinand Pepito,  USC President Fr. Dionisio Miranda, SVD, and USC Vice President for Academic Affairs Fr. Anthony Salas, SVD, as well as CA Justices and Judges of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu.

For the coming semester, Dean Largo will be organizing a debate that will thresh out the issue of “how powerful Philippine courts should be in upholding the Rule of Law in the country.” KJCA


The Powerful Judiciary and the Concept of Rule of Law in the Philippines:
Correlations, Consequences and Implications

By Dean Joan S. Largo

March 6, 2013
Albert van Gansewinkel Hall, University of San Carlos, Cebu

Kindly view PDF file:
The Powerful Judiciary and Rule of Law in the Philippines


Outline of Dean Joan Largo’s Lecture and Presentation


Left to Right:   Mr. Gordon Alan Joseph (President, Cebu Business Club), Mr. Anecito Sobrepena (President, Metrobank Foundation), Fr. Dionisio Miranda, SVD (President, University of San Carlos, Cebu), Retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban (Chairman, FLP), Retired Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. (Head, Governance Committee and Trustee, FLP), and Atty. Daryl Bretch M. Largo (Professor, USC and Dean Joan Largo’s husband).

Retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban gives his closing remarks during the Professorial Lecture of Dean Joan Largo at the University of San Carlos, Cebu on 6 March 2013.

Global Forum on Liberty and Prosperity

How the Judiciary Can Help the Economy

* Address delivered by retired Chief Justice ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN during the “2012 ACCRA LAW-MAP BUSINESS LAW FORUM” held on November 29, 2012 at the Manila Golf Club, Makati City.

I thank my esteemed compañero, Atty. Avelino V. Cruz, Chairman of the ACCRA Law Office, for inviting me to speak during this wholeday forum commemorating the 40th Anniversary of his venerable law firm. I have known Ave and his wife Helen for many decades.

After the EDSA people power revolution in 1986, President Corazon Aquino offered him a seat in the Supreme Court. However, he respectfully declined, preferring to remain in his job as then Deputy Prime Minister, second in command to then Vice-President Salvador Laurel, who was named concurrent Prime Minister.

If you will remember, the government at that time was organized according to the 1973 Constitution, which instituted a semi-parliamentary government. This was the form of government inherited by Mrs. Aquino, to which she conformed her government when it began in February 1986. However, a year later, the 1987 Constitution was crafted. It restored the presidential system and abolished the Offices of the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister.

That’s the saga of how Ave lost his stratospheric government job. Had he accepted the offer for him to be an associate justice, he could have been Chief Justice a decade later. And there would have been no Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr and Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban because, though younger in years than both Chief Justice Davide and me, he would have been more senior to us in the totem pole of the Supreme Court. And I would not have been invited here as a retired Chief Justice!

I am glad to meet the members of the Management Association of the Philippines, especially BPI President and CEO Aurelio R. Montinola, whom I congratulate for having been just named MAP Management Man of the Year 2012. Prior to my Supreme Court stint, I was active in the MAP and, in fact, was at one time the Chairman of the Management Man of the Year Committee. I therefore know how stringent the standards are for this award. And having known Gigi for many years now, and being an independent director of BPI, I also know that the award is well deserved and, in fact, long overdue. Palakpakan po natin si Gigi.


Liberty and Prosperity Under the Rule of Law

In inviting me here, Ave Cruz asked me to speak on the interdependence between law and the economy, and specifically to discuss landmark Supreme Court decisions affecting the economy and business. I am glad to do so because my own legal and judicial philosophy, “liberty and prosperity under the rule of law,” calls for a symbiotic calibration of the relationship of law and business, and of good governance and good economics.

I recall that to close my term as Chief Justice, I convened a Global Forum on Liberty and Prosperity on October 18-20, 2006. More than 300 jurists and lawyers from all over the world, including several chief justices, came. The Chief Justice of Canada, the Honorable Beverley McLachlin so enjoyed her visit here that she and her husband stayed for three more days after the Forum. In fact, she said that my legal philosophy works best “under the rule of law” which she spouses as her own philosophy. Hence, I agreed to label my legal philosophy in its complete form as “liberty and prosperity under the rule of law.”

Global Forum on Liberty and Prosperity

The academe added flavor to the Forum by awarding honorary doctoral degrees in law to three notables, Chief Justice McLachlin by the Ateneo de Manila, Russian Chief Justice Vyacheslav Levedev by the University of Santo Tomas and French Chief Justice Guy Canivet by the Far Eastern University. McLachlin and Levedev are still sitting but Canivet, like me, has retired.

Ladies and gentlemen, amid the serious economic crisis engulfing the developed world, the Philippines has shown remarkable resilience. This year, our economy grew 6.3 percent in the first quarter, 5.9 percent in the second, and a fantastic 7.1 percent in the third, for an over-all 6.5 percent growth for the first nine months of the year, making the Philippines the best performer in the ASEAN Region and the second best in Asia – second only to China. Small wonder, Christine Legarde, the first woman Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, hailed the Philippines for being “probably the only country in which (the IMF) increased the growth forecast as opposed to other places in the world where (the IMF) actually decreased (its) forecast.”

Concededly, the responsibility for propelling our economy and alleviating poverty rests primarily with our President and Congress, together with the private business sector, which is the recognized engine of economic growth in our democratic free enterprise system.

Nonetheless, the question frequently asked is how the judiciary can help the economy. My stock answer is that, in judging controversies involving the economy, the judiciary must defer as much as possible to the political branches of government, the President and Congress in collaboration with the private sector.

In my humble view, jurists and lawyers should not only safeguard the liberty of our people but must also nurture their prosperity under the rule of law. Thus, their objective should be two-fold: 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.

During my term as a jurist, I tried to implement this legal philosophy by interpreting the Constitution and the laws in this manner: In litigations involving political and civil liberties, the scales of justice should weigh heavily against the government and in favor of the people, pursuant to the doctrine of strict scrutiny. However, in matters affecting the economy of the country and the prosperity of our people, courts – in the absence of grave abuse of discretion and a blatant violation of our Constitution – must defer to the Executive and Legislative branches of government, in accordance with the principle of deferential interpretation of laws and executive issuances.

The first part of the philosophy – the safeguarding of liberty – is a long-held tradition of the legal profession and the judiciary, both here and abroad. The primacy of liberty is universal. It is enshrined in the Magna Charta of the British; the Bill of Rights of the Americans and in the struggle for freedom of our own people, from Lapu-Lapu to Andres Bonifacio to Jose Rizal and to Ninoy Aquino. It is reflected in many Supreme Court decisions that uphold the rights to free speech, to peaceful assembly, to liberty of abode, to due process, and to travel freely.

The second part of the philosophy– the nurturing of prosperity under the rule of law – is fairly new. Not given enough emphasis in the past are the economic freedoms of our people, like the right to own and enjoy property, to the pursuit of happiness, to adequate social services, to a rising standard of living, to an improved quality of life, to economic well-being and to be free from poverty, disease, disability and destitution. In this morning’s session, I will concentrate on this part of my legal philosophy by discussing three landmark decisions of our Supreme Court, (1) Tañada vs Angara, (2) La Bugal B’laan vs Ramos and (3) Gamboa vs Teves.

Let me preface my discussion by saying that the judiciary is a passive branch of government and is not required or expected to initiate or espouse actions or programs to improve the economy or to upgrade the living conditions of our people. On the other hand, the political branches of government, namely, the President and Congress, are actively mandated to develop the economy and to promote the well being of our nation. In the fulfilment of this duty, our people shall judge them. And if they fail in fulfilling such duty, our people can replace them during periodic elections. Consequently, on matters involving the economy and prosperity, judges should defer to our political leaders.

To promote this legal philosophy, I formed last year, with the help of several friends like retired Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr., business icon Washington Sycip and former Education Secretary Edilberto C. de Jesus, the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity. Last September 18, 2012, the FLP with the co-sponsorship of the Metrobank Foundation and the Metro Pacific Investments Corporation launched, as its initial project, 10 professorial chairs on liberty and prosperity in nine leading law schools and one in the Philippine Judicial Academy.

Parenthetically, let me add that it is not easy to convince the judiciary to embrace the economy and business. In its March 16, 2008 issue, the New York Times Magazine reported that it took the US Chamber of Commerce more than 30 years to make the US Supreme Court understand and “be receptive to business.” We have yet to do that in our country.

Globalization, Deregulation, Privatization, Liberalization

Let me now discuss the three decisions I earlier mentioned. For many decades since World War II till the early 1990’s, the protection of native goods and local services was the popular policy here and in many other countries. Pursuant thereto, Congress barred the importations of foreign goods and services, and set up high tariff walls and taxes to bar them. In this way, local manufactures and service products were protected, promoted and patronized.

Later, however, nations became more interdependent, and protectionism became obsolete. The World Trade Organization (WTO) was organized to tear down tariffs, duties, import quotas and other trade barriers. Economic paradigms shifted from government control to deregulation, from government ownership to privatization, from national sovereignty to globalization and liberalization of trade. Joining this worldwide trend, our Senate ratified the Philippine adherence to WTO.

Citing the provisions of our Constitution mandating “economic nationalism,” some minority senators challenged the constitutionality of the Senate ratification of the WTO Treaty. Using deferential interpretation in Tañada vs. Angara (May 2, 1997), the Supreme Court, in a decision I had the honor of authoring, unanimously upheld the ratification, ruling in this wise:

“While the Constitution has a bias in favor of Filipino goods, services, labor and enterprises, at the same time, it recognizes the need for business exchange with the rest of the world on the bases of equality and reciprocity, and limits the protection of Philippine enterprises only against foreign competition and trade practices that are unfair.”

Exercising judicial restraint, the Court refused to pass upon the wisdom or viability of deregulation and globalization. It said, “Ineludibly, what the Senate did (in ratifying the WTO Treaty) was a valid exercise of its authority. As to whether such exercise was wise, beneficial or viable is outside the realm of judicial inquiry and review. That is a matter between the elected policymakers and the people.”

Looking back, let me reminisce that initially, I had some difficulty explaining to my Supreme Court colleagues the meaning of the new buzzwords of globalization, deregulation, privatization and liberalization detailed in the WTO Treaty, which was contained in 36 book-size volumes. The justices were schooled and believed in protectionism as the road to economic prosperity. Further, the petitioners indeed had struck a familiar argument that the Constitution, which was crafted in 1987, was protective of homegrown products and services. However, I had to point out that the Charter also recognized and adopted the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land.

At the start, there were dissenting and doubting voices; later however they all concurred. But when I circulated the decision I crafted for their signatures, only four fully concurred while 10 concurred only “in the result,” meaning they agreed to dismiss the petition but not necessarily with my reasons. I felt it was a disservice to the nation to do that, because our people will not know the collective reasons for our judgment.

So, I asked for a re-deliberation and challenged the unbelievers to write their own positions. But in the end, 13 of the 15 justices (including me) concurred in full, with only two retaining their “in the result” agreement, thereby unanimously enshrining in our jurisprudence the doctrine of deferential interpretation on issues involving the economy and prosperity.

At bottom, the case could have been decided either way by the citation of the proper parts of the Constitution that supported one’s legal philosophy. What carried the day was my call for deference to the political branches, to Congress and to the President whom our people mandated to save them from destitution, disease and disability.

Constitutionality of the Mining Law

Let me now move to another major decision affecting business, La Bugal-B’laan Tribal Association vs Ramos, involving the constitutionality of the Mining Law of 1995 (RA 7942), the Implementing Rules and Regulations or IRR of that law (namely, DENR Administrative Order or DAO 96-40 issued December 20, 1996), and the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) entered into by President Fidel V. Ramos with the Western Mining Corporation, a foreign company. The original decision of the Supreme Court issued on January 27, 2004, by vote of 8-5 (with one justice taking no part and one seat vacant) struck down as unconstitutional the major provisions of the Mining Law, the IRR and the FTAA.

However, on reconsideration, the Court on December 1, 2004 reversed itself by a more definitive vote of 10-4 (with one justice still abstaining). It vigorously and fully upheld the constitutionality of the Mining Law, the IRR and the FTAA. The issues revolved around the proper interpretation of the word “control” in the exploration, development and utilization of natural resources, particularly as they related to FTAAs. As the ponente or writer of that decision, I relied once more on my legal philosophy of deferring the political branches of government in resolving controversies affecting the economy, Thus, I roped the Decision on this anchor:

“The Constitution should be read in broad, life-giving strokes. It should not be used to strangulate economic growth or to serve narrow, parochial interests. Rather, it should be construed to grant Congress and the President sufficient discretion and reasonable leeway to enable them to attract foreign investments and expertise, as well as to secure for our people and our posterity the blessings of prosperity and peace.”

However, the four dissenters led by Justice Antonio T. Carpio, wanted the Court to restrict the President’s discretion in defining the specific terms and condition of FTAAs, especially the grant of management prerogatives and financial benefits to foreign entities entering into FTAAs with the government.

Given however the nature and complexity of FTAAs, the humongous capital required, the complicated technology needed, and the intricacies of international trade, the Court gave a wide degree of discretion to the President who had the advantage of getting the needed technical expertise to enable him to discharge his mandate to eradicate “the grinding poverty of our people.”


Interpreting the 60-40 Rule in Public Utilities

Finally, let me discuss a very recent decision, Gamboa vs Teves, promulgated by the Supreme Court on June 28, 2011, that involved also the interpretation of the word “control,” this time as it applies to public utilities in general and to the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company in particular.

Inasmuch as this case involves PLDT, let me formally disclose what is already contained in my personal website that I have been sitting as an independent member of the board of advisers (not board of directors) of PLDT since mid-2009. That was well after I had retired from the Supreme Court in 2006. In that independent capacity, I do not represent PLDT’s management or any stockholder. So the views I express are mine, and not necessarily those of PLDT.  Having clarified that, let me now go back to the main subject of my discourse.

Section 11 of Article XII of the Constitution states that (1) only Filipino citizens or “corporations… at least 60 per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens” may operate a public utility such as a telephone company; (2) “the participation of foreign investors in the (board of directors) of any public utility enterprise shall be limited to their proportionate share in its capital,” and (3) “all the executive and managing officers of such corporations must be citizens of the Philippines.”

As we all know, the capital stock of a corporation may be divided into (a) “voting” or “common” and (b) “non-voting” or “preferred” shares. Only voting or common shares can be used to elect members of the board of directors. Non-voting or preferred shares cannot; but they may legally be used in voting on eight very important issues, like in disposing of all or substantially all of the corporate assets; in incurring or increasing bonded indebtedness; or in merging the corporation with another; or in dissolving the corporation; etc.

The Supreme Court disposed, by vote of 10-3 with two seats vacant and with Justice Carpio as ponente, that the word “capital” in the cited Charter provision “refers only to shares of stock entitled to vote in the election of directors and thus in the present case only to the common shares, and not to the total outstanding capital stock (common and non-voting preferred shares).”  Hence, according to this Decision, foreign investments in public utilities, like PLDT, should be limited to only 40 per cent of the voting shares. The Decision said that this interpretation will ensure that Filipinos will “effectively control” public utilities because “it is the board of directors that controls or manages a corporation.”

To assure such control, the dispositive portion of the Decision directed the chairperson of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) “to apply this definition of the term ‘capital’ in determining the extent of allowable foreign ownership in respondent Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, and if there is a violation of… the Constitution, to impose the appropriate sanctions under the law.” Parenthetically, while the dispositive portion of the Decision alluded to “respondent” PLDT, the petitioner did not implead the telephone company in his petition.

The dissenters, led by Justice Presbitero J. Velasco Jr., argued that the word “capital” should include not only the voting but also the preferred and all other shares because this was the interpretation given by the framers of the current and previous Constitutions since 1935.

The Velasco dissent further said that the Constitution already assures Filipino control of public utilities because, in electing directors, foreigners can use only 40 percent of the common shares they hold, even if they owned more than that percentage. Hence, “they will never be in a position to elect majority of the members of the Board of Directors… although they (may) actually own more than 50 % of the common shares.” Consequently, Filipinos will always control the board. Also, only Filipinos may be “executive and managing officers” of public utilities, thus doubly ensuring Filipino control. In point of fact, of the 13 directors of PLDT, only two are foreigners (Japanese) while the rest, or to be exact, 11 are Filipinos.

I will discuss later in this speech the main ruling of the Court that only the voting shares should be considered in computing the 40 percent maximum equity that foreigners may own in partly nationalized corporations like public utilities.

In the meantime, let me take up, with due respect, some egregious errors of facts in the Court’s Decision and its misconception of business principles. The Decision observed that the par value of PLDT’s voting or common shares is only P5.00, yet they each earned P70 in cash dividends in 2009. (Parenthetically, this is erroneous because cash dividends declared in 2009 were double that amount. But for purposes of our discussion, let us assume the Court’s findings of fact are correct.) In contrast, the non-voting or preferred shares have a par value of P10.00, but their cash dividends was “a measly P1.00 per share… In other words, preferred shares have twice the par value of common shares but they cannot elect directors and have only 1/70 of the dividends of common shares.”

Then, it concluded, “This undeniably shows that beneficial interest in PLDT is not with the non-voting preferred shares (mostly owned by Filipinos) but with the common shares (mostly owned by aliens), blatantly violating the constitutional requirement of 60 percent…  Filipino beneficial ownership in a public utility… In short, Filipinos hold less than 60 percent of the voting stock, and earn less than 60 percent of the dividends of PLDT.” (bold types in original)

The pure legalists and the uninitiated in business may find logical the foregoing disquisition in the Decision. But I respectfully submit that it is neither legal nor logical. It is not legal because the Constitution does not speak of dividends. Nowhere does it talk of how much each kind of shares should earn. The Charter speaks only of the ownership or “effective control” of the “capital” of a corporation engaged in public utilities, not of “benefits.”

It is not logical because it ignored the market value of the shares and their rates of returns. The decision itself noted that “the PLDT common shares with a par value of P5.00 have a current stock market value of P2,328 per share, while PLDT preferred shares with a par value of P10.00 per share have a current stock market value ranging from… P10.92 to P11.06 per share.”

However, the Decision failed to use this critical information in computing the actual and real financial benefits. Clearly, on the basis of the facts given by the majority, an investor needs about P11.00 to buy a PLDT preferred share, which would earn P1.00. Here, the rate of return on the investment is nine percent. On the other hand, to acquire a common share, an investor must pay P2,328 yet earn only P70 or only about three percent (the correct figure is P140 which yields a rate of return on investment of six percent).

On this basis, preferred shares, which are mostly held by Filipinos, earn three times more than the common shares. So, it is neither logical nor correct to say that “beneficial ownership” in PLDT rests with foreigners just because they hold more common shares than Filipinos.

Clearly, the par values of shares are not determinative of their real worth or earning potential. Investors buy shares from the company or from the stock market, depending on their appetite for risks, not on the shares’ par values. Conservatives invest in preferred shares because they are less risky and their earnings, like bank deposits, are fixed. The adventurous choose common shares because they could potentially be worth much more. Or much less, if the company flops.

While common shares may yield smaller dividends, they can – in time – increase their market value. Sometimes, a company strikes oil, or perfects its high tech products. When this happens, the market value of common shares exponentially grows while the yields of preferred shares remain fixed.

A classic example of exponential growth is Microsoft, which made Bill Gates the richest American almost overnight. Another example. In 2001, PLDT’s net income was about P3.4 billion; its common shares had a market price of P417. Then, it expanded into the high-risk but high-reward wireless digital cell phone technology. In just four years, in 2005, its net income exponentially soared ten times to P34 billion. And kept on growing since then. In 2010, its net income was P40 billion and its common shares’ market price rose to P2,554.

Of course, in bad times, common shares could collapse and reduce billionaires to paupers, as has happened in the Philippines in 1997, and in the US in 2008. To recall, in 1997, the Asian financial crisis hit Thailand first and then spread everywhere. Because of this, the real estate business in the Philippines collapsed. The foray of Metro Pacific Holdings into Fort Bonifacio failed and almost bankrupted the company. We are also familiar with the financial crisis in 2008 that started in the United States and resulted in the collapse of several heretofore financial untouchables like Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, American International Group (AIG) and Washington Mutual, the largest savings and loan association in the United States.

But then, that’s what business is all about. It is about taking and managing risks, not about legislating profits or promulgating decisions awarding economic benefits. It is not for the faint-hearted or for jurists to intrude into unnecessarily and imprudently.

In sum, the Decision’s theoretical requirement that 60 percent of all financial benefits in a public utility must go to Filipinos regardless of how much they invested is totally unfair and blatantly ignores the most fundamental tenets of investments. Under this absurd thesis, no foreigner will invest in our country. For the most basic rule in a free market economy is that investors share in the profits and other benefits of an enterprise based on the amount they invested and the risks they assumed.


Applicable to All Kinds of Shares?

The Court’s ruling on the 60-40 capital stock sharing did not end with the Decision. On October 9, 2012, it issued a Resolution – again by vote of 10-3, with one justice taking no part, with one seat vacant – that not only denied the motions for reconsideration with finality but also expanded the coverage of the original Decision dated June 28, 2011.

This original Decision held that “Mere legal title is insufficient to meet the 60 percent Filipino-owned “capital” required in the Constitution. Full beneficial ownership of 60 percent of the outstanding capital stock, coupled with 60 percent of the voting rights, is required. The legal and beneficial ownership of the 60 percent of the outstanding capital stock must rest in the hands of Filipino nationals.”

This statement was expanded in the subsequent Resolution of October 9, 2012 to mean that “such requirement appl(ies) uniformly and across the board to all classes of shares, regardless of nomenclature and category, comprising the capital of a corporation.” Hence, even preferred shares, which have no voting rights for directors, should be owned at least 60 percent by Filipinos because such preferred shares may still vote in eight instances, like in the amendment of the articles of incorporation and in the increase or decrease of the capital stock.

“Thus,” the Court said, “if a corporation, engaged in a partially nationalized industry, issues a mixture of common and preferred non-voting shares, at least 60 percent of the common shares and at least 60 percent of the preferred non-voting shares must be owned by Filipinos… In short, the 60-40 ownership requirement in favor of Filipino citizens must apply separately to each class of shares, whether common, preferred non-voting, preferred voting or any other class of shares.”

This expansion means that the present practice of issuing preferred voting shares to cover the shortfall in common shares might no longer be deemed compliant with the 60-40 constitutional requirement. For example, let us say that a public utility corporation has 1,000 common shares, 1,000 voting preferred shares and 1,000 non-voting preferred shares.

Let us further assume that foreigners owned 600 of the common shares, but none of the voting preferred and none of the non-voting preferred. Under the expanded ruling, the corporation would still be in violation of the Constitution because, even if all the voting preferred and non-voting preferred are Filipino owned, still 60 per cent of the common are owned by foreigners.

Note that of the 2,000 voting shares composed of 1,000 common and 1,000 voting preferred, foreigners own only 600 or only 30 percent of all voting shares, yet the Decision would still consider the corporation to be in violation of the Constitution despite the plain fact that, under this example, foreigners cannot, repeat cannot, be in control of the corporation.

One more point, corporations in the Philippines, in the United States and elsewhere issue what are called Deposit Receipts, which are bought and sold in the stock markets. Under this program, Filipino corporations purchase shares of stock and then sells Philippine Deposit Receipts or PDRs corresponding to each of the shares, with the buyers of the PDR receiving the dividends and other benefits due the underlying shares but the Filipino sellers remain the owners and exercise the voting rights of the underlying shares. Subject to nationality requirements, PDRs could even be exchanged with the underlying shares.

PDRs were not tackled by the Supreme Court, neither in the original Decision or in the subsequent Resolution, giving rise to the conclusion that the PDR program remains constitutional and legal even under the strict interpretation given in the Gamboa case, and may be a way by which foreigners who are interested only in reaping the economic benefits may participate when the 40 percent foreign equity limit in partly nationalized corporations is reached.

Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission has issued draft “Guidelines, Rules and Regulations” to comply with the order of the Supreme Court to apply the newly minted definition of the term “capital.”

Prudently, the SEC has called for a public hearing and for position papers by various stakeholders before finalizing these guidelines. I believe, it is not just the SEC that should be at work here but also the entire Executive Branch because ultimately, the Rules will reflect the entire Philippine government’s economic policy, especially vis-à-vis foreign investments.

The Supreme Court, it seems to me, has revived the old debate on the whether the Constitution of the Philippines should be interpreted to focus on economic protectionism, or whether economic protectionism should be balanced with the world reality that no nation can isolate itself in these times of liberalization and globalization, as was done in Tanada vs Angara.

Otherwise stated, should the Court impose upon itself the responsibility of propelling the economy, of creating jobs, of alleviating poverty, of creating wealth and enhancing prosperity? In short, should the Supreme Court clothe itself with the prerogative to choose which economic paradigm is more beneficial or wise for our people: protectionism or globalization and liberalization. Or, should it continue to use self-restraint and deference to the political branches of government on matters involving the economy?

As I said at the beginning, our economy has shown resilience amid the gloom shrouding the traditional bulwarks of prosperity, the Eurozone and the United States. How our government handles this most recent Supreme Court Decision involving the interpretation of the 60-40 ownership structure in the key businesses and industries, especially those engaged in public utilities, transportation, and natural resources, will certainly affect our momentum of growth that is the envy of many countries and economists. My own position should be clear to everyone by this time: In matters affecting the prosperity of our people, the judiciary can help the economy by deferring to the political branches of the government and to the private business sector which, to stress, is the recognized engine of growth in a regime of free enterprise.


Maraming salamat po.

“Katarungan” as the Filipino Concept of Justice


Dean Jose Manuel I. Diokno, holder of the “Chief Justice Panganiban Professorial Chair on Liberty and Prosperity” delivered his first lecture entitled “The Philippine Judiciary- Problems and Prospects” on November 5, 2012 at the Natividad Fajardo Hall of the Bro. Andrew Gonzalez Building at the De La Salle University College of Law.

Dean Diokno Discussed the Filipino concept of justice or “katarungan.” From there, he moved into what ails our judicial system and his proposed solutions. Basically, he said that our Rules of Court are based on the American system, which in turn is anchored on jury trial. This latter mode places high wall on trial proceedings so as not to unduly influence the jury members who are not lawyers. In the Philippines however, trials are conducted and decided by judges who are knowledgeable in the law and need not be protected from media hype.

The lecture program included Welcome Remarks by La Salle Vice Law Dean Jocelyn Cruz, a Message from Metrobank Foundation President Aniceto Sobrepeña and Closing Remarks from FLP Chairman and retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban.


Enthusiastic Law students at the registration booth


Welcome remarks by Atty. Jocelyn Cruz, Vice Dean of DLSU College of Law 


Closing remarks by  retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban


Special guests with tokens of appreciation from Dean Diokno and the DLSU College of Law

5 November 2012
Dean Jose Manuel I. Diokno
De La Salle University College of Law
“The Philippine Judiciary: Problems and Prospects” (PDF)

What is the Role of the IMF During Sovereign Debt Crisis Situations?

Finance & Law: Understanding the Institutional and Functional Role
of the International Monetary Fund During Sovereign Debt Crisis Situations

CJ Panganiban Professorial Chair on Liberty and Prosperity

By Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria

September 19, 2012
Justitia Room, 4th Floor, Ateneo Law School

The Honorable Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, Mrs. Panganiban, the Honorable Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., Mr. Aniceto M. Sobrepeña, whom I call with an endearment term Sangko Chito, you’ll have to inquire later on, the two very distinguished Deans and Co-Chairholders Dean Nilo Divina and Dean Andy Bautista, Atty. Vannie Vallente, my very loyal Associate Dean, whom I call my “Sweeper”, my co-faculty and co-workers in the linear of learning, Mrs. Cecil Mejia and Mr. Bulaon, my law students, Ladies and Gentlemen and Friends.

I take this opportunity first of course to congratulate the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity including Metrobank Foundation for taking up this opportunity to engage the Law Schools. It’s a very timely opportunity for us because it is a time when I think legal education in this country is fast developing. Last year, we had a convocation in legal education where an invitation was sent to various law schools around the country where we discussed the developments in legal education and, in preparation for that convocation sometime last year, we found out that it was almost 30 years ago that the last convocation in legal education was done at the UP Law Center. Thirty years, that made a lot of difference. Today we have a JD Program and most law schools are encouraged in fact, mandated to go to a JD Program. The JD Program was introduced in the Ateneo Law School in 1991. It was a leap of faith, a lit in the dark for us, then Dean Recuardo delos Angeles tried to embark the program within the same cut as the JD Program in the United States. But the JD Program in the Philippines will take a different complexion altogether because of the legal culture, the history and experience of this country. And this is what is very important to define, the legal education and the culture that we need to bring into this conference.

The conference of Liberty and Prosperity is one that perhaps comes close to the experience of citizens right now. As we have listened to Chief Justice Davide’s introduction on Chief Justice Panganiban’s philosophy, it is very much imbedded in our Constitution.

When the subject matter was actually raised to us at the breakfast meeting at the house of Chief Justice Panganiban, that they will launch or do a road show on Liberty and Prosperity, I did not hesitate to volunteer immediately. It is a subject matter that I think that will put this whole discussion into a framework. And I take into account, of course, a standard position of the Supreme Court, “Tañada versus Angara” as a starting point for us Constitutional Law and now on review by the Court here. It’s a landmark decision, not only because it was penned by then Justice Panganiban of course, but it gives us a framework on where our lives are now, in a sense, put into the hands of international economic institutions. Our first initiation, of course into international economic institutions, is the World Trade Organization. And that is where Tañada begins, to initiate us into the set of rules that governs states today, on law governing international finance, trade and even development. The WTO case is very important from the point of view of international law. It affirms a principle that defines automatic application or incorporation if you have probably been answering in exams, the doctrine of incorporation related to Facta Sunta ________.  That obligations must be complied with in good faith.

And that is where I’d like to begin my discussions because it is not very easy to appreciate in a sense the so called role of most of the international organizations today. For one I’ll show you a picture here that says “No to EU Austerity”, “Yes to Democracy”, “No to Privatization”. This is a scene, somewhere in Europe and for anyone who does not perhaps understand the topic in the very first place, we always say it sounds great to me. And this is exactly where I would like to bring you today.

To bring you back towards the cycle of Sovereign Debt Crisis that began. It began in the doors of Europe at one time because it was in fact where the dealing nations began and it took a cycle when the developing country borrowers and today lands back into the heart of the Eurozone. We have countries now in the Eurozone like Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, and mind you Spain, our former Columbian _____ in sovereign debt.

How does this relate in a way to liberty and prosperity? My entry point is a subject matter that’s again very close to my heart. I must admit, Mr. Chief Justice Panganiban that, when I took this lecture assignment, I said, “You have given me an opportunity to refresh what I have, in a way, embarked on more than 25 years ago when I did the graduate research on the sovereign debt problem of developing country borrowers”. But that was the scenario at that time. You had several sovereign debt crisis, financial crisis in Asia in the 90s then you had the slump in the United States that triggered in a way the Eurozone crisis in 2009 to 2011. For a while I’ve had some reflection on this I said “when will I have the opportunity to write another chapter in this original research that I think I may have to circle, put a dot on” and you just gave me the opportunity Mr. Chief Justice and now I am more tempted to embark on a book after this.

So I’d like to begin by giving you a short outline of what  I plan to do. This will now be the start of a more legalish language. Pardon to non-lawyers but I think it’s something I’ll try to put down on the level of a ________ person’s knowledge. Economists would be very very much at home anyway with the language and I’m sure Chito would be comfortable with this.  He will have a lot, in fact, to share on matters of national economic policy making. I’ll try to this understanding the constitutional functional growth of International Monetary Fund during sovereign debt crisis situations.

I’ll begin doing just a little survey of how sovereign debt crisis had actually been with us since time immemorial until we say the Conference of ___________.  It’s been there with us, it will be there to stay. The question is, how do we cope with it? It’s like the floods in Manila, the floods in the regions. And if I may change to say, adaptation. How do we adapt to certain situations. Other  immediable rules right now that can actually be put in place that will deal with the ravages that save on economic disaster or financial crisis. How do we protect people in that context? How do we adapt to the situation? So the second major discussion is where I’d like to spend a little more time working through the history of IMF involvement on sovereign debt renegotiations. I will look at the parallels from the early stages of state insolvency and reaction of the International community to how debtor countries are actually “made to behave”.

In the free World War and the post World War, where the IMF, together with the three grand Breton Woods Institutions that played the role trying to keep the world economy today. And then move towards the new era of crisis. And how I have now would have to actually dealing with certain countries that are very very protective of the sovereign rights such as the Asian Tiger economies, including, of course now Eurozone where you have one of the most sophisticated regional organizations that have reached its pinnacle of integration through a common currency or monetary unit. That perhaps is the heart of any integration of any economy once you reach that level. We have been trying to do that in Asia, an Asian currency unit. We don’t know whether we will see the day when that will come.

The last point will be some conclusions that will make some reference to human rights standards and how we can actually achieve in the context of what we call adjustment progress, respect for fundamental economic rights of people without having to sacrifice civil political rights. The picture I showed you is typical of a reaction of a body politic that will have to undergo austerity programs that is experience of many developing countries in the past. When adjustment programs had to be required for purposes of actually reconstructing economies that are emerging out of what we might call deep financial crisis. It hurts, it hurts to rebuild an economy especially in other situations like transition societies. We have countries, and fortunately, of this for us, we have countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, in Latin America, that experience a string of authoritarian rules, strife, and the question has often been raised or question has often been raised “if a new government emerges, a new state emerges, can that  state actually run out of its obligation, walk away, a bad debtor? You know that for me is very private perspective, from a very personal perspective, that will be very very difficult. You have to be a good debtor, you will no longer get infusion of new funds in the end. And that applies not just on a personal level but even on a state-to-state level. But the temptations are very real for a government that wants to survive for example. Governments rise and fall sometimes in the context of deep economic crisis. And this is what happened to Greece as you know. In an effort to implement certain austerity measures, the first government that had handled it did not survive, a new government have to rise. We have other examples in other parts of the world. So this is what I’d like to begin with.

As a very young lawyer after the bar exam in 1984, I told myself there is something I’d like to really study when I go out there do graduate course. And I said “I want to make sense of what the activists at that time during the Marcos era were saying ‘Down with IMF, down with World Bank, down with WTO, ITO at that time. And I said you know as a lawyer if I want to be engaged in a very fruitful discussion on this matter, I really will feel inadequate unless I really study very well the consequences and the roots of this. I am not an economist by background but the nature of the issue that I had to deal with at that time was very much economic based in United States and for a lawyer, of course, getting into this ground, is like going into the lion’s den, it’s like mathematics. That’s why most of the lawyers they say would want to go to the law school to avoid one plus one. But I said no, I think I will get up anyway. I have the benefit of an economist that, adviser at the time public international law adviser also and a whole set of hopefully disciplinary exposure. And that is the right thing I got my own orientation that when you study law, you just cannot be confined with the technical rules of law. You have to look at the foundation of the law, you have to look at the rationale behind it. And that is where law becomes more meaningful, that is where law actually makes sense in the lives of people, in the lives of the states. Because law is an evolving __________. With that, I now would like to proceed with the introduction of the history of insolvency.

If one were to look at the history of international relations, there are at least very interesting models that we can look at on how the international community have dealt with insolvencies in the past. Very often, people ask can this state really govern? Can a state in a very theoretical and legal sense go broke? We say no, because a state has all the grand powers, it has a power to task, it has to power to generate revenue. However the impact of the citizens is what will make a government think about using such kind of power. For that power has to be reasonably applied. And therefore can a state really go broke? Well, we say yes in the end. That there are countries who are unable to service, for example, its debts, its indeed balance of payment, deficit, then that’s perhaps the situation which we call “getting broke” when you are no longer able to pay your financial obligations.

There was a time in the international communities’ history that the use of force was in fact use to exact contractual debts. Some of the bigger countries at that time had to send their forces. The U.S. would send their marines to actually exact contractual debts of some of the smaller Latin American countries. But the Hague’s Conferences at the turn of the 19th to the 20th Century, banned the use of force to exact contractual debts. And even the United Nations charter already bans the use of force for aggressive purposes. So that was the precise, what was the model during the post-World War I and before World War II. Well, we have Bondholders at that time. And what they did was to negotiate. There were negotiations that happened between the debtor and the private Bondholders at that time. Then of course perhaps the closest you can find that will be equated with a model that will develop after the second World War under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund.

We also have another template that dealt with non-contractual debts but more oblique, obligation like the German model when it had to pay certain debts after the first World War, and it was based on a Treaty. So there was a multilateral arrangement determined to pay its debts through a multilateral model. That again will ring a bell looking at the post World War II situation where a group of creditors for the Paris Club group of creditors would deal on a multilateral level.

And then came the post World War II, and this were ____________ as I said a little more time looking at how the International Monetary Fund had put together a framework to deal with sovereign debtors  particularly developing country borrowers.

The Asian Financial Crisis again is of interest simply because it deal what we call tiger economies this time. Tiger economies in Asia would count Malaysia, you have Thailand, you also have Philippines and Korea, has been one of the fast developing economies in East Asia. Again, we will see how the nations reacted on the let’s say participation in having to settle their properties. And finally, we will end with Europe where I think the latest model we will find in sovereign debt crisis had adapted in a way what the IMF began after the Second World War. But of course with much caution because Europe is a continent that is very proud of its tradition of its independence, as an integrated community. And it will have a bearing on how a model in the Eurozone will actually develop.

So this is what I just want to wrap-up – the first and in the pre-19th Century. These are at least the points that I’d like to deal you with. There is a term for a re-adjustment plan. A debtor state is given an opportunity rather than walking out of its obligation to readjust.

Diplomatic protection, of course, is always made available to private Bondholders. In international law the debts, for example, or obligations of a private citizen for a theoretical entity that actually are owing from the let’s say the state party would actually resort to what we call diplomatic protection. So if you’re a bank, you would want your country to raise that up as an issue with a government that owes you certain obligations. But that is because on an international claim, you are talking of an arrangement that does not have the status of a treaty between two parties.  And therefore, your resort would probably be less of an international remedy. That’s why you will have to resort to diplomatic protection.

As I mentioned, the closest I will find for there might be a so called legal consequence for state for non-compliance with a multilateral financial obligation is to a Treaty Model. Because if you ask the state to sign this settlement in the context of a Treaty, then you will have consequences pursuant to Treaty Law. And if the party fails to comply with that then you can bring that party before the International Tribunal. But this was because during that time, before the Second World War, we did not have, let’s say an integrated world economy where you have institutions like WTO, or World Bank, or IMF, that will actually offer opportunities for dispute settlements before going to an International Tribunal.

Let me move more particularly into the International Monetary Fund including the other economic institutions. Just before the end of the second World War, there were two major countries of course dealing a meeting in Bretonwoods in New Hampshire, that is the United States and England at that time. They led the allied countries to deliberate on how to reconstruct the World Economy after the Second World War. That was a major concern for the two countries. And we will see where the United States on one hand and Britain on the other hand differed on approaches when it came for example, to the use of the International Monetary Fund resources in dealing with deep financial crisis of their members.

Just by background or in deference to “Tañada versus Angara”, it’s good to know that one of the three grand institutions at that time that was intended to govern trade, in the states that’s the exchange of goods and services by providing a set of rules was the International Trade Organization. That did not materialize as we know. The Agreement that govern it, was the general Agreement in Paris and Trade and because at one time the United States did not also favor an ITO at that time. What happened was Secretariat remains to be the governing body for purposes of implementing the general Agreement on Paris and Trade. Later on in the Machist Treaty in the ‘90s, the WTO would enter into Court and you now have a world trade body that has a dispute settlement mechanism.

The other institution that was created during the Second World was the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). The IBRD at that time was really intended to provide assistance to countries rising out of the war and they would need infrastructure development. So World Bank was really conceived as a development institution that will deal in infrastructure, deal with damaged bridges. But World Bank has evolved instead. It even went into matters like the restructure of adjustment loans, and also governance issues has evolved to that time on.  But the International Monetary Fund, in a way, remains stable, and focused in its mandate. It is one that was ________  to govern courts, deregulation of exchange, and money for example would have been the basis of the mandate. It is like a central bank of all central bank this day. That became the function of International Monetary Fund. But when we talk about trade and money, there are two sides of the same coin. Whatever you do on the trade side, will affect the monetary side and vice-versa. So it is very important for WTO and International Monetary Fund, including the World Bank, to coordinate more or less if you want to have a sound global economy. Now the whole intention of the so called Breton woods Institutions was really to provide a set of rules this time that will govern the behavior of states in regards to money and trade. Why? Because they saw that before the Second World War the excesses of nation states without the regulatory framework on an international _________________ that even cause the war. And they said you provide a venue for competition for countries around the world to develop and eventually you would have countries that will be stable and eventually conflict hopefully will not thrive. And in a way if you look at that in the context of financial setting that exactly is the direction that you would want in a country.

When talking about frameworks, what is the economic framework here? That I think is a given at that time. It’s a free-market based economy. But that will become more and more flexible as the national economies developed.  There are certain specifities on a ground level that we have to adapt to a purely free-market based set of principles. So you now have paradigms or models that will talk about developments. How do you pursue development in a market-based situation that will also look at the impact in the most marginalized sectors of a society.

From an international law perspective, and a more legal in approach, we now have a set of rules, treaty-based rules in regard to exchange of goods and services or even your currencies. And so there are things that we just cannot do on a domestic level without having to take into account the impact on other states.

So this is I think one of the most interesting contributions from the point of view of international law and practice. And this is where I’d like to emphasize a little bit more. Now, just looking at the IMF mandate, you look at the paragraph under Article 1, it says and I quote “To facilitate the expansion and balance growth of international trade, and to contribute thereby to the promotion and maintenance of high levels of employment and real income and to the development of the productive resources of all members as primary objectives of economic policy.” That is a provision and I’d like to focus on two very relevant mandates of the IMF that had something to do with the financial obligations of states. There are two provisions I’d like to give emphasis to:  that’s the freedom for payments and external debt service and the use of the Fund’s resources or what we call balance of payments financing in the context of the IMF.

Just a little explanation on a member’s obligation in the IMF. When you become a member of the IMF, you actually contribute a certain sum of money. And, in principle, I may contribute One Peso. Later on, if I would need what we might call balance of payments financing, I maybe allowed to freely draw on an equivalent amounts that I have contributed to the Funds. And, to that extent, a Peso to a Peso there will be no conditions for it. But oftentimes countries would need more than what they have initially contributed and that is where what we call conditionalities come in. And therefore you have to abide by that. I will explain that very technical arrangement later on.

In the case of the mandate of the IMF also, I’d like to mention this very important provision in Article 1 that says “It has the mandate to establish a multilateral system of payments in respect of current transactions between members and the elimination of foreign exchange restrictions which hamper the growth of world trade. Again, if you look at the mandate of the IMF in light of WTO also, the principle is that the lesser government is in, or at least the less restrictions you have to allow the free exchange of goods and services, or in this case the free movements of payments across border, then the better for the world economy.

The other provision it says “To give confidence to members by making the Fund’s resources temporarily available to them under adequate safeguards, thus providing them with opportunity to correct maladjustments in their balance of payments without resorting to measures destructive of national or international prosperity.” Now, as I said it’s very tempting for a state that is experiencing economic crisis to adopt very popular, very popular policies but of course may be economically damaging in the end. So economists would understand this better of course. It hurts, it hurts to recover. There are bitter pills that you have to take on a short term but, hopefully with a long term gain for the economy. And so when you need that breathing space, you are given what we might call a “facility”. You are allowed access to IMF resources, and in very very basic Civil Law of Ireland, that’s a loan anyway, but it’s called a purchase of currency. It’s a very technical again procedure but it really gives a loan and you’re given that window to be able to use up the Funds for a certain period of time, hopefully, to be able to clear your balance of payments deficit within a certain period.

Freedom for Payments and External Debt Service. Now I’d like to follow through on that particular provision on current transactions because there is also a very important provision in Section 2(a), Article VIII of the amended provision of Articles of Agreement where it says “no member shall, without  the approval of the Fund, impose restrictions on the making of payments and transfers for current international transactions.”  And what does the phrase ‘current international transactions’ actually mean? Well, before I move to that I just want to mention that that may refer even your debts, your loans to, in the case of some of the most indebted countries before, to private commercial banks that was the phenomena at one time. So, you cannot impose some of these restrictions you must allow continuous payments.

Now in the case of the Philippines, I just want to flag a case to “Guingona v. Carague’, ‘Senator Guingona and Pimentel’ which challenged the Foreign Borrowing Act of the Philippines at that time which is a carry over from the Marcos administration. It dealt with the automatic debt service. As you know, in every government budget, every year, there is almost always a fraction of the budget that automatically goes to debt service. That has been there for a while and it is not there without any purpose. And it has a lot of bearing to the point of view of external debt service. But the challenge that was made of course on Guingona v. Carague were almost 2, 3-fold. Let me focus on one that said we cannot actually set aside money without a very specific appropriation intended for this. So you have to have some specific sum of money for a particular purpose. Now the automatic debt service according to them is undetermined. For each year, it is almost undetermined because it is not appearing there unless, and if you compute, of course the interest for that year, you will be able to determine. But, until such time, it automatically gets into the Budget.

What was the argument of Senator Guingona and Senator Pimentel? Very interesting, because they referred to another provision of the Constitution that says “highest budgetary priority must be given to education. So in the file, this is what they said. In the file, every year the biggest must be given to education. And so when you have a very high, let’s say percentage of debt service appropriated, that violates the principle of Constitution. Of interest is cap almost by the the Constitution of the Supreme Court. I think it was Justice Limcaoco? at that time where he says “as to whether or not the country should honor its international debt, more specially the enormous amount that has been incurred by the past administration, which appears to be the ultimate objective of the petition, is not an issue that is presented or proposed to be addressed by the Court. Indeed, it is more of a political decision of Congress and the Executive to determine in the exercise of their wisdom and sound discretion.”  This does not refer to the deference to the other government on this matter because they are most in tune with how the international community actually would react to a very radical unilateral decision that say government to just put a peg on debt service or just not pay. So in that sense they gave due respect to the decision of Congress in the Executive actually to allow the operation of the automatic debt service. After this case, there were attempts almost always from the Floor to actually veto the automatic debt service provision. And that has, almost always, not benn allowed.  It has always remain that time, and to a certain extent one may ask “What is the Philippine attitude then with regard to international financial obligation?”  I think there’s respect on the part of Philippine government and while there’s also great temptation to distinguish certain debts as they said, and for example the ___________Nuclear Power Plant that has been the subject of a lot of I think progressive thinking to just walk away from our obligation. In fact we have paid it almost full. In fact already, because we have fully paid. If one were to look back, however, did we behave in a manner that was consistent with the norm at that time to respect financial obligations.  I have not, in fact, tacled the issue of  odious debts because the odious debts in International Law had been actually applied in certain situations where countries did not want to pay obligations of previous governments or previous states. Because they did not _________ to the benefit of the citizens. I’m not tackling that in that perspective. Although there’s a World Bank study now that perhaps there might be situations that debts did not definitely _______ to the citizens because of an authoritarian government and corruption, for example, were actually be allowed to forgive those debts, under certain conditions. In the case of the Philippines, and I remember this very clearly, one of the announcements made by then President Cory Aquino before the U.S. Congress was respect the international financial obligations. It was, probably, from a point of view of the progressive groups at that time, something that she should not have said. But there are others who have said perhaps that was also a message that says we are going to honor financial obligations because we respect our commitments. It’s a very strong commitment to say that we are part of an international community and they know the expectation of the international community. There are still, of course, challenges at this point on how we will deal with those.

If you now look at the way the economies also coping, one time during the financial crisis, we are one of those that are very very much stable economy even during the Asian Financial Crisis. Then we do the right thing, for years. And I think it’s a message that successions of administrations have, to a certain extent, been reading quite well how the international community expects us to cope with crisis. So the term “current international transactions”, as I have mentioned, would perhaps pertain to all payments during the financial foreign trade or other current business including services, normal short term banking and credit facilities, payments due as interest on loans, and net income from other investments, payments of moderate amount for amortizations of loans, or depreciation of their investments, etc.

Let me move to balance of payments financing in relation to the doctrine of conditionality and the development of what I call, it’s a very contentious instrument called “stand-by arrangements”. When one would like to avail of the resources of a government, of the Fund, the International Monetary Fund because the government is in deep balance of payments deficit, you are allowed to enter into an arrangement that is called the stand-by arrangement. It may run for one year, two years, three years. The Philippines, I think, has been through a lot of SBAs. We keep on renewing SBAs simply because we continue to have need for an assistance for a long time. But now I think we’ve graduated from that. We don’t have an existing SBA anymore.  And that goes well for the economy of the government. If you are “off” the arrangement, that means you’ve been able to cope with your balance of payment problems. Now, what is interesting here is that tenor by which the International Monetary Fund would treat a stand-by arrangement. Now from basic International Law, if a government enters into an agreement with a state that from the point of the International Law would be a Treaty. If you enter into an arrangement with an inter-governmental organization, like the International Monetary Fund, what is theoretically the status of that Agreement? Would that have the flavor of an International Treaty? Now, there is decision of the Supreme Court for recently in the  “Bayan v. Romulo that says that “when the parties enter into agreements like to states, it’s also up to the parties to characterize the nature of the agreement on whether or not they would want it to go through concurrence by the Senate, for example as in the United States and the Philippines. So there are certain agreements that may not necessarily have the structure of a treaty but perhaps executive agreements, lesser of a Treaty, but still would have international legal consequence for non-compliance. In the case of the IMF, they say stand-by arrangements are not international agreements that comes from that. We will try to understand why does the IMF want this characterized as a non-international agreement? The Fund also says “the Fund will pay due regard to the domestic, social, and political objectives, the economic policies and the circumstances of the members”. The reason for that is for some time IMF has been criticized saying that the economic policies or prescriptions that the International Monetary Fund missions would normally recommend, within a short term, even affect human rights and even social protection measures of a government. And, therefore, in order to avoid that implication to the IMF on having to impose certain measures that will undermine sovereignty or even human rights principles, the Fund makes it a point to say that it will pay due regard to the specific situation of the country. And, therefore, as much as possible, the design of an economic policy for purposes of addressing balance of payments issues will be specific by country. But, again, most of the literature will show that it appears that for several countries in the past, especially in the ‘70s and the ‘80s, there has been a consistent “straight jacket”, “one size”, “fits for all” approach or attitude in the part of IMF. And there will be some flexibility that will happen later on because of the reactions of some countries anyway. But this is very clear from the document of the IMF that it will pay due regard to the domestic and social and political objectives of a country.

Now let me go closer to home. This is where I’d like to look at stand-by arrangement in the context of the Constitutions of Ireland and the Philippines. You know Ireland very recently also had deep financial problems and they had to go through an arrangement with the IMF. And I got into a very good discourse or literature that actually tackles the predicament of Ireland. When you approach the International Monetary Fund for balance of payments financing, there are two stages to this. The first is the government will write a letter of intent. They will say we are in need of your financing for the following purpose, explain. And then the IMF now Governing Board will respond to you and say “Yes, we will allow you for an arrangement of one, two or three years depending on the need of the country.” That’s the first stage to it. Now for you to be able to give the money, you must have a set of economic policies in place. So you come and say “this is my plan on how the economy will be addressed for the next one to three years”. And only after you’ve done that, that there will be approval on the part of the Fund. Now when you have to get the money, that is when the transaction begins. The transaction actually is not a lump sum. It will not be given to you in a lump sum. It will be given in ‘tranches’. We call it a ‘tranche’. For every tranche, on a periodic basis, there are monitoring tools for the IMF to actually look at the compliance per stage. So, could you imagine that, a state is submitting itself to an international organization to be monitored when it comes to compliance with economic policies. Where is the difficulty here? What if this state is unable to comply with the economic policies? Then the drawdowns, the tranches will be stopped for some reason. So we’ll almost always have periodic monitoring for that, because that is the economic discipline required as a country.

Now in the case of Ireland, the second set of transactions where you now have to draw, you have to purchase from the Fund, let’s say currencies that will now be the subject of a constitutional issue. As far as stand-by arrangement is concerned, I think Ireland would not consider it consistent with, let’s say, the Fund’s position that stand-by arrangement is not an international agreement. Therefore, it does not have to go through what we call concurrence. But what one observer had said that “Perhaps in Article 29.5.2 of the Irish Constitution, the second level of transactions is really what will be applicable because the Constitution in Ireland says “The State shall not be bound by any international agreement involving a charge upon public funds unless the terms of the agreement shall have been approved by Dail Eireann.” I think this is their lower house but the principal chamber. So it has the equivalent of our concurrence by a senate.

Now there was an argument explained by one writer that says “As long as the Irish State did not assume any legal obligations whatsoever, there was no international agreement put in place, and therefore Article 29.5.2 was not applicable. But, at the next stage, and that is when you now begin to transact as for your tranches or drawdowns the Government here would actually be entering into actual purchase transactions and therefore it would be assuming certain obligations on behalf of the State, which will turn out to be in need of prior approval.” Now how does this ring a bell when it comes to our own Constitution? If for example the Philippine Government itself would now have to get into a stand-by arrangement, I think we have consistently practiced almost the same way that the Irish Government had done in a way. In the past, I cannot recall of any stand-by arrangement that had run through the concurrence of the Senate. Never have I seen such. So that confirms in a way our admission that the Fund considers it as not an international agreement. However, under Article 7 Section 20, the provision before Article 7 Section 21 on Treaty concurrence, it says that “the President may enter into loans or guaranty international financial obligations in that regard only with the concurrence of the Monetary Board. But my dilemma there has always been, if the President, on behalf of the Philippine Government and the State, enters into a Loan Agreement with another State or, in this case, with International Monetary Fund, from the point of view of the Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties, and under the definition of what a Treaty constitutes there, is there a written agreement entered into between two States governed by International Law. It fits Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties. And, therefore, I would think from the point of view of International Law, that is an International Agreement. But the procedure domestically differs and we have made a distinction between loans on one hand and treaties in other international agreements on the other hand. So there are two provisions. But from the point of view of International Law, I think that will have anyway an International Agreement status. But domestically the process is different. Much the same way here, even if the Irish Constitution says that “It is not an International Agreement but you interpret the second set of transactions when you begin to have to purchase or actually borrow specific tranches that will create a binding legal obligation. But is it a treaty or not? Perhaps from their point of view it is not a treaty domestically but it will have an international treaty status as far as the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaty is concerned.

So here is a summary of what I have so far been discussing for you. And if you look at the framework here, this was applied some time in the 1980s and 1970s when you had many sub-Saharan African countries, we also have Latin American countries into this framework.

Now let me introduce a number of characters. One is the Paris Club Group of Creditors and the London Club Group of Creditors. We go to the Paris Club Group of Creditors which is really composed of your creditor governments. Most governments, I remember, is almost given concessional loans given interest rates. It is almost like an aid but the commercial facts that were exposed many developing country borrowers especially the 70s at the height of the quadrupling of oil prices, decided to bond together just like what we have seen in the private Bondholders in the early stages of sovereign debt negotiation for the Second World War. They bonded together and they called themselves London Club. Now there are two distinct agreements here. On one hand is the Paris Club Scheduling Agreement where you just basically schedule. That’s all that they do. Anyway it does not entail much interest, it’s almost zero interest. But when you talk about the private commercial banks, they are most exposed and they have depositors in their own countries and therefore when you begin to write off debts, that’s a no-no from the marketing industry. So how do you prevent that situation? You look at the clubs. The clubs only are among the creditors, they are not among the debtors. And they said, “You know if at one time Argentina, Brazil, Mexico come together, and form a debtors club, you could imagine the impact on the world economy”. But this is how they deal with the debtor. So the debtor goes to Paris at a meeting where they tell the Paris Club group of creditors for purposes of rescheduling, this is what we need to do. But before they can even do that or before they can even restructure their debts with the private group of creditors, you have to have already your IMF stand-by arrangement, because that is the zeal of good housekeeping. That this country has already talked to the IMF, presented a set of economic policies that eventually will translate to legislation. And that’s the only time we will have confidence, that you are going to recover within a certain period of time.

Now where is the difficulty here? Legislation may mean increases in taxes. It may mean liberalization, opening your economy, it may also mean budget cuts on certain factors that you would not have a quick return on your investment. So this is where the difficulty begins. And this is where national governments will now have to determine “how will our citizens cope with this?”  If our Constitution talks about social justice, fundamental rights of our people, protection to the most vulnerable sectors of society, and we have such Constitutional mandate, how do we now use this as a set of standards now to look at economic policies that will have a bearing, on a short time, painful but there have to be a long term gain. Now that’s the most difficult for a government. And if the government is not popular enough, it might fall overnight.  And there’s a literature by a group of German sociologists that I have seen one time, really very very interesting to study the so called Vicious Tangled Indebtedness where you might, at one time, have a communist government, or you might have a junta depending on the capacity of a government to be able to implement what we call austerity measures. So there is a very fragile, very fragile situation in the implementation of such adjustment policies and this is where ______ come in. There are stories that in sub-Saharan Africa, some of the poorest countries then, IMF missions actually become Secretaries of Finance or even Central Bank governors simply because the country does not have the capacity to even run those economies. That’s, of course, if you would look at it from the point of view of intervention, that’s a fraud, but what can you do if you want to save the economy? So that has been the other side.

So this is the model, this is the model that has been going on for a long time. I’ll just run through some of the basic principles, just like in ordinary contract, debts. You have to have respect for the rights of creditors. So even among the creditors, you have to be assured  that it will be paid. So they almost always want good behavior on the part of the government. And that means again referring to a program that the IMF already has seen with the debtor country. You also take into account the legitimate interest of creditors, you have to treat them equally. So among the Paris Club Group of Creditors, you also have to treat them almost equally.

For debts that are actually owed to private creditors, there is entirely different sets of norms. And this is where I’d like to bring you with. Well, again, I just want to emphasize that equality and non-discrimination among all creditors. That is a standard set. And as far as private non- officially guaranteed debt, you have to negotiate it with the private creditors on a different plane, and that is your London Club. That is how they negotiate it.  So that’s the UNCTAD that has also reached the level in 78 to a more multilateral framework. So it is recognized as a norm and again there is need on the other hand to protect the interest of both the debtors and creditors. You do not want also your debtor to actually close shop. So they have to take into account the reasonableness of payment scheme.

Now let me go the private commercial banks. It is very interesting because this is where they apply very strict, if you’re in the private practice, this is really drawn from typical loan, commercial loan agreements, where you have a syndicated loan. But what is interesting is that now that type of loan agreement takes into account IMF. They now say you still have to go to the IMF because that’s the only way we can have confidence that if we restructure your debt, infuse new funds to you, then you will be able to recover. Otherwise we will not throw good money again to you. So that’s why they require that specific provision in a syndicated loan agreement that you have to have stabilization obviously already in place before you’re given restructure. There are conditions precedents before you do anything, you have to do certain things one of which is IMF stabilization program. So you have to be in good standing with the IMF. If you are not in good standing with the IMF, you have not been observing your economic policies, then we will cut, events of default. What is “Events of Defaut”? If you are unable to maintain your good standing, that can trigger an event of default in a restructuring agreement.

And this is Venezuela. This is actually the closure of my initial research way back in 1989 when I was wrapping up with my research at that time, the bubble burst for Venezuela. Venezuela is one of the more respectable Latin American countries at that time. It had oil, of course unlike the other countries there. But in 1989, Venezuela hit a snag and they had to resort to IMF assistance. So the President sent an economic mission to the IMF in New York for a meeting. And the IMF gave almost the typical prescriptions, short-term austerity measures that needed to be immediately implemented. The Mission said, the Venezuelan Team said, “this will be very difficult for the country”. But the IMF said, “but you have to do it”. They went back to Venezuela and in three days there were riots in six major cities in Venezuela leading to about a hundred deaths. One, because there was a drastic cut on subsidies, subsidies usually will cover those that the consumers are most intended on at that time – energy, food for example. In other parts at Middle East there were subsidies on bread that had to be cut for a short term that led to actual protest. So when they went back to the IMF, then the IMF began to realize there might be need to reevaluate. And this is where a credit also should be given to the Institution because, while it is very difficult to apply policies that may differ from the traditional approaches, it has become more open to new framework. So, sometime in the 90s, there was a Treaty Plan. Secretary of State Brady of the United States proposed certain measures that will allow some countries to postpone payments, so no interest because as of the time that negotiations were going on, you are not allowed even to postpone payments on either interest or principals. But then they began to relax that. But the more telling was, of course, the case of Highly Indebted Poor Countries. It has become a reality that many countries can no longer service their debts. They cannot even pay their principals anymore and therefore there was a realization from the point of view of international community that perhaps for Highly Indebted Poor Countries, they may just have to write-off their debts, forgive them. And that happened finally. And this is where, I think, where the IMF has, to a certain extent, been convinced. Fortunately we are not in the list. That means we are not highly indebted country and not poor in that sense, because in a way our economy had been able to cope with this.  So that became possible in the HIPC Initiative. What did the countries do for they had some savings. They channeled it to health, education and other development purpose. And that is where they were given much breathing space.

Now, let me go to the Asian Financial Crisis. The Asian Financial Crisis was not a typical balance of payments problem, according to the IMF, than the other economies around the world. They say you look at the situation. While there may have been allegations, for example, of corruption, or internal mismanagement, that is not really in the class of developing county borrowers’ problems in the 70s and the 80s. Besides, you are looking at East Asia, where the action is, economically, where you have some of the most robust and fast developing economies – Korea, Malaysia, Philippines was cited, of course and Thailand. And so, when this happened, there were some resistance on the part of Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines to resort to IMF at that time. It was only Korea that went through a very very rigid stand-by arrangement and this is where, I think, IMF began to defer in approaching problems of some of the economies in Asia. Because now it is not the typical IMF balance of payments financing issue. What they did was to cover even trade liberalization more expansively, privatization issues, foreign investment, pension reforms, public sector austerity measures. These are not the normal structure of adjustment loans program. So it combined both structural and corporate and good governance, which is very interesting from the point of view of financial law.

Now comes the last stage, the European Debt Crisis – Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain. Could you have imagined that? We’re back to frame World War I situation. We started off with Europe, we now end again with Europe. And, in fact, our Central Bank Governor offer to join other developing countries to share a certain amount of their reserves, in fact, to extend to a bail-out package for European debtors. When I heard that, I said “what an act”, hard act to follow now. There were those who criticized “Bakit naman nagmamayabang tayo”. But from the point of view of good global citizenship, I think it was a good gesture. It was a very good gesture on our part. When, at one time, we were in dire need, tumulong sila. Why not. And these are some of the best developing partners also we’ve had in the past. Then there’s Spain, of course.  Sentimentally still, very much attached to us as a people. But Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain. Now this was interesting because there was a government initially that implemented the austerity measures but actually did not sustain the capacity and fell, and you had a new government.

What is of interest now is the development of two mechanisms in Europe. The Fund called Financial Stability Facility and the other one is the Financial Stabilization Mechanism. Now this is actually in the model from the IMF standard arrangement. Why did they come up with this? Because there was no framework in place for them. It shook the heads of the Europeans to grapple for a mechanism. And so within their own treaty-based rules, they try to find a way “how do we justify this?”  “How do we justify these mechanisms?”  But first, by way of distinction, the first facility which was initially implemented, the EFSF was actually funded by Euroland members. In the other stabilization mechanism, subsequent to that, you now have the participation of IMF. So IMF came in. Because IMF is really not most welcome in Europe.They don’t want that because you have a very proud, integrated economy and says “what is IMF going to do here?” We have another layer anyway of governance in Europe. And because of the experience with developing country borrowers, they said “I want to be given the one size fits all remedy for economic change?” It’s the second one that will now become permanent. So you will now have a mechanism in place. This is perhaps the equivalent of a standard stand-by arrangement in the European setting.

So that’s what I said, it’s the stand-by arrangement with the following features. So what’s the procedure, a member experiencing severe financial disturbance will prove that it is in need of the Fund, that the disturbance is beyond its control. Next, is that a member could not by itself raise money. Next is a submission of an economic and financial adjustment program, sounds like a stand-by arrangement, and finally you now have more close monitoring by key institutions in EU such as the Court of Auditors and the European Anti-Fraud Office. Why did they have that in mind? Because they realized these countries that got into debt problem particularly Greece, Portugal and Ireland were what we called peripheral countries. Peripheral because when they were allowed to enter the European Union, their economies were practically not in the same plans as Germany and the rest of Europe. But they were allowed nonetheless by Germany hoping that they will be competitive enough to catch up. But actually when you enter a place like for one time you were perhaps in one part of the metropolis and then you go to Forbes Park, then you begin to be tempted to live the way those people live. Right? Forbes na eh, I must have a Mercedes Benz, when before you only have Kia. Sorry ha. Greece, Portugal, Ireland – the peripheral countries at that time. But you know particularly Spain, they are the most stabilized ones they were also hard headed. And thanks to the United States, because that’s what really triggered it in part, aside from the peripheral situation that they had at that time. But it was really triggered by the 2008 flood in the United States.

Now this is again from a legal perspective of interest and I found in one of the literatures recently. There is a justification that they had to do. So far what we have been discussing since the first hour is that there was no clear mechanism in place internationally. Because before, there were no international institutions before the second World War like IMF, World Bank, or WTO. But from the Second World War, after that we have a more distinct set of rules. But still the way they dealt with it was on adhoc basis, simply because you have to respect the sovereignty of states nonetheless. They have to consent to certain procedures. But now in the European setting, there is a provision in the Treaty of the European Union Article 122 paragraph 2 which says “where a Member-State is in difficulties or is seriously threatened by natural disasters or exceptional circumstances beyond its control, the Council, on a proposal from the Commission, may grant, under certain conditions, Union financial assistance to Member-State concerned”.

The “exceptional circumstances” test in the provision has been interpreted to cover and I quote “serious deterioration in the international economic environment.” What about the peripheral member-States where there has been, according to one set of studies about Greece.  Greece actually concealed certain facts to the Union which actually caused or aggravated their economic situation. That was mismanagement, pure and simple. There was concealment. But if they contributed to that, would that have been exceptional circumstance.  It looks like under the European Union practice now applying now to peripheral countries, they would now consider that also as an exceptional circumstance. So the inducement of the crisis from the United States down to the peripheral countries would now be considered as one of those. So this is interesting development today in Europe. And so far in the region we don’t have it in Asia. We will still have to rely on the IMF stand-by arrangements right now. But this is for me the latest development on the sovereign debt negotiation.

Sorry to have exceeded few minutes. I just want to make the observation that as far as sovereign debt negotiations are concerned, we have seen remarkable changes from the time the IMF was constituted, to a certain extent, it had become more sensitive to what happened to developing country borrowers and now with the plight of what we call peripheral countries in Europe. The second is that you have new classes of debtor states. We have developed states now – the ‘Forbes” type of debtors.

And finally, austerity measures have now become transparent. They resort to parliament first before you even implement their economic policies. It has now become sort of the standard, whereas before it was from top to bottom. Today what they do is, in order that the economic policies should be accepted by the people, you have to have more transparency because the people have a stake into making a decision that will affect their lives. So there is no more secrecy in so far as transactions are concerned.  And finally, there is a lot of literature now that says “social protection and economic human rights must be given precedence here”. We cannot ignore the fact that children will be deprived of access to milk. For example, basic services, basic needs of people will now have to become standard norms to deal with when you now have to implement economic policies. And there are standards like universal human rights principles, you have the economic social cultural rights and even civil, political and economic rights that we may actually have to balance. We cannot sacrifice governance on one hand for the sake of instilling austerity measures. We must respect fundamental rights on one hand and also respect at the same time the right of the state to survive by implementing reasonable economic policies, but in the end with respect for fundamental human rights.  That’s right, and thank you very much.

Emcee:  Thank you very much Atty. Candelaria for that very informative lecture. Speaking of standards, you have definitely set a high standard for the other deans of the other law schools, so they _________ in their own public lectures. So, students, now is your chance to put the Dean on recitation. So the floor is now open for questions. Please feel free to ask your questions.

Dean Candelaria.  Actually I brought the classcards. You better volunteer, if you want volunteer recitation.

Q & A:

Student A. Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen. I’m __________________.

So Dean, I remember the case of the WTO case Justice. In that case a significant observation by the Court which I think saved the case is really the 5-year, I think 20-year leeway given by the WTO to the Philippines. Example, Justice, if for example we prove to the WTO that we can’t still comply, given the 5-year or the 20-year leeway, can we say that we can still implement the provision of the WTO in that regard?

Dean Candelaria.  I think you have just put the ponente to a recitation.

CJ Panganiban. I think it is really difficult to be in Ateneo. I am only from a poor man’s University you know, although raised in standard by the present dean who come from the best law school in Rockwell. But I will answer that later on when my turn comes.

Dean Candelaria. I think we would also have to look at as far as the economic institutions are concerned. They have what we call special legal origins. That’s a specialist. Before even resort to a remedy outside the Articles of Agreement or outside the WTO, let’s say Charter, you actually have to look at the mechanisms within. In the case of the IMF, non-compliance with economic policies will allow you to resort to consultations. Because they don’t want you to do unilateral actions. So they give you that opportunity. It’s like an exhaustion of domestic remedies, exhaust the remedies within the Institution before the Institution can even accuse you of having violated the international obligation. Because it will not vote well. The intention of economic institution is really to allow you to be assisted. That’s why technical assistance is very important. So I would not worry. I mean that is normally the concern of some of the person who says “pipirma na naman tayo sa isang agreement that will submit us ……”. But that is part of global citizenship in the end. You want to be monitored, you want to be transparent about what is happening. At the same time you would have the reciprocal obligation and right to seek assistance, then why not? And that should not lead to a situation where there is state responsibility in a technical sense under the Articles and State Responsibility. Thank you.

Yes, Mr. Vicente.

Student B (Mr. Vicente). Sir, from a crude law students understanding of basic economics and I hope Mr. Sobrepeña will not criticize me as ________________.

I would like to know, but based on my understanding, a country spends on deficit if it knows that it can collect the tax that we’ll be able to pay. Basically you’ll have to have a very conservative fiscal policy if you are determined to get into debt service. However, with my understanding of history is that, it began with the administration of Former President Marcos wherein a lot of spending was placed into unproductive ventures like the military and ambitious projects that were ridden with corruption. My question would be three here: Did you encounter in your study the impact of corruption on debt servicing of developing countries? And then why do debtors renegotiate or adjust, what were their considerations, and then what are the characteristics of states who have renegotiated, and finally there’s a fourth question here. Why did the Philippines basically you mentioned that we were able to finally free ourselves from a lot of IMF obligation. How did we come up with that? Did it start within the administration of Ramos, Arroyo or the Aquino administration? What were the factors that led to our so-called “finally I can free from my debt status”.

Dean Candelaria. Let me answer immediately the last one ______ teddytorial. I like Teddy Boy Locsin’s teddytorial on that. That what was exactly what he pointed out when he said “if you look at the gains of the current government now, it’s two years only, but if you look at the gains it was incremental, it started way back. And even from the point of view of I think economic continuity, even from the time of Marcos, Aquino, it’s incremental. And perhaps we have never really walked out of our obligations. Which was very difficult from the militant’s perspective. There will always attempt to say “let’s walk out of this and that”. But we have always honored our financial obligations. If you look at that, and the goal of the IMF, you feel confidence, and the International community has confidence in you. By any other special circumstances domestically, they’ll continue to come back and support you. But I think we have been a good debtor, you might say that. Others may not agree with it, what with the unilateral actions, but I think it has been a consistent policy decision on the part of Government to honor obligations. And we have been at the stage now where, even during the financial crisis, we have not been affected that much among the other countries in the region.  That’s the first.

The other one is, apat yan ano. What was the first one you wanted?

Student B.  That’s ok Sir, thank you, joke. The first Sir was basically what is the impact of corruption.

Dean Candelaria. Now corruption has always been an issue in many developing country borrowers. I think you just have to look at the history of South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and some in Asia that’s right. But, as I said, the options have not been considered by some countries. Some countries would not want to pay but from the point of view again of international law, the odious debt is perhaps what comes closest to that principle even if it did not benefit. But my reading, at least from the studies that there has been a consistency not to undertake unilateral action. Most states have at least grant and this leads to the second question on “what’s in store for the creditors to go through renegotiations?” Well, again, you will see whether you like the banks or not, it has been in their interest for the debtor to recover. Everyone wants a member, a member of the community to recover, right? And need assistance. And to do that, you extend, you give them leeway. That’s the interest for them. And if they are able to recover, these debtors will be able to repay, then they could be part of the economy either domestically or globally in a more progressive way. That’s the whole purpose, confidence. And the third one?

Student B. Sir what are the characteristics of the states to renegotiate? But more precisely, Sir, what kind of states frequently negotiate?

Dean Candelaria.  Let me answer it in a different way. There have been countries who have been under IMF “tutelage” for a long time. Whether you agree with me or not, there were countries like Brazil, where is Brazil now, Mexico, we don’t have to go too far, Korea. First Korea, Koreans are here because the standard of living really is very high now in Korea which means they have reached a level of almost like a North American, European standard. And Korea has been, for a long time, actually resisting austerity measures in the past. You can see the Government in Korea are very difficult, very volatile and yet they have implemented austerity measures. And in the last financial crisis, they were the only ones that went through a stand-by arrangement – not Philippines, not Malaysia, not Thailand. In the case of Malaysia, it’s Mahatir. He just does not want intervention, he even imposed capital controls, which is a no, no. But they have a different approach. But Korea did that. And IMF cites Korea as, in fact, their success story now. Whether you agree with that or not, I think there is objective evidence that they’re here. One even married one of our lawyers. We lost her to a Korean and good guy, very good guy. Thank you.

Student B. Thank you Sir.

Dean Candelaria.  Yes Sir, Mr. Samy.

Student C (Mr. Samy). Sir, based from my readings from your presentation, one observation was the multilateral framework is a ________ as regards answering or responding to the individual needs of a country. So one of the trends nowadays is for countries to have bilateral treaties with each other for much faster transaction because there are less parties involved, less interests involved. So, Sir and there’s this principle that “a beggar cannot be chooser”. So, for example, I am a beggar, a borrower country who is in much need of an aid and you have this creditor country. How will you reconcile the minimum standards or civil political rights as regards to that principle a borrower or a beggar cannot be a chooser. Because most likely Sir from what I’ve read, the practice nowadays is that when a borrower tries to apply for it, there is this proforma treaty or proforma agreement in which this agreement can be based for subsequent agreement. So the borrower, in this case, has less leeway with regard to its negotiation. Sir, how do you reconcile that to the minimum standard for civil political rights?

Dean Candelaria. I’m trying to discern whether you’re pointing to the impact of agreements on the rights of citizens?

Student C.  Yes Sir.

Dean Candelaria.  Well, let me just try to distinguish your example. Because in bilateral agreements now or treaties, it happens mostly in investment treaties. ____________. But in terms of loans, it has been the framework so far, unless you deal with creditor governments. By that, that the Paris Club. But as you have seen, those countries to which a debtor owed almost to a group of government creditors, would deal with it in a culled way. That’s in the norm, simply because they wanted some assurance that you would go to a process like the stand-by arrangement to be assured that you will be able to repay. Now, on civil political rights, are you referring to the impact of these agreements to fundamental rights of citizens?

Student C.  Yes Sir.

Dean Candelaria. It really will affect more the economies. Because you’re talking about standards of living. On whether or not such loan agreements will affect the standard of living of countries, what I left out in my conclusion but it was in the paper I gave to Chief Justice Panganiban, was the difference between the tolerance on pain and suffering between those Greek, Irish, Italians or Spanish with the developing country borrower citizens. I think most of the developing country borrowers that have to deal with years and years of indebtedness and also economic privation and the tolerance is much higher compared to more countries here. So we now look at levels of economic standards. Pag nawalan ng isang kotse doon sa Europe, disaster. Dito, ni walang kotse iyong taong naghahanap ng sasakyan. He has to take the rise in gasoline, for example, cost of transportation. It really deals on non-legal concepts of ________. But on the level of commitments, I think, uniformity applies to human rights standard. What applies to European citizens also should apply to those in heavily indebted countries. It’s just that on the basis of the resources of __________ that’s when you have to have proportionate response because obviously the pie in Europe is still bigger compared to the pie in the developing country borrowers. But the bottomline is there are fundamental rights that will have to be respected whether you are rich debtor or in a rich country or let’s say a very poor developing country. So it should be the same I think in that sense. I don’t know if I was able to address your concern in that regard, but I think it refers more to the economic human rights in that regard. Thank you.

Ok, Sir.

Student D.  Sir, Good morning. This is more of a clarificatory question Sir regarding one of your conclusions. One of your conclusions was, IMF now had evolving standards in sovereignty renegotiations particularly you said that they are being now more sensitive to their debtor countries. I just want to ask how you arrived at that conclusion and how you reconciled that with the fact that they are now applying more conditionalities and the conditionalities have expanded in scope. How do they become more sensitive when the conditionalities have entered the range which they have not entered before. How does that give more leeway to debtor countries.

Dean Candelaria.  Ok. I think it is more or less a function of how the causes of indebtedness have evolved through the years also. Because now they have realized that some of the causes of indebtedness may actually be attributed to mismanagement and not your balance of payment deficit. So, they have to address that. That’s why they go into issues of governance. Now, that in a way I think is responsive to the conditions that most countries now are going through, in terms of I think what you might call adjustment. So you will have to see the history in order to realize that the IMF actually is responding to certain ground issues. Now, there are still macro economic policies that have to be undertaken but definitely will have to affect certain rights like workers’ rights. In Korea, the biggest reaction of the workers of course to renounce IMF austerity measures because there were layoffs. So that again, is a direct bearing on the lives of citizens but what the IMF I think, and other economist are saying is that there are certain short term measures, but hopefully on the long term when the country recovers, then you’ll be able to adjust the standard of living accordingly.  But we are definitely going to be hurt along the line. And that is where, I think, looking at the history of IMF involvement, they have been trying their best, they’ve been trying their best. Thank you.

Student E. Sir, about standby agreement, Sir. Is it like a contract to sell?

Dean Candelaria.  It is the other transaction. The arrangement is really one between the Fund and the Government to say “we will make a facility available for you for certain period of time. The actual drawdowns, when you now have, it’s like a credit line, when for the next quarter you will get $25 million, next $25 million. That’s specific transaction. And that is what makes it interesting in the analysis that says “in the second stage, that definitely is like an ordinary contract in the civil law. In fact the analysis was under civil law by that person from the Bank of Romania, it’s a civil law country, and they were trying to imagine, “does this not have the effect of bilateral contract already, so that’s the distinction made”. But in the arrangement, IMF says there should not be any contractual flavor given to them.

Student E. So Sir it will be trouble if it become a contract.

Dean Candelaria. From the point of view of Government and the IMF that would be basis to say there’s a breach of an international agreement that will allow the other party, like the IMF, to go to the ICJ. But you don’t want to have economic issues being settled by the ICJ. It’s much to say why the Supreme Court was deferred to the political branches of Government like the Executive when it comes to matters of the economy.

Student E.  Sir, because the way the law was ______ Sir. Contractual provisions will be avoided.

Dean Candelaria. You cannot impute a contractual flavor to SBA.

Student E. Ah, ok. But Sir it is not mandatory so it could happen.

Dean Candelaria.  No, from the point of view of the IMF, that’s their position.

Student E.  Ah, ok Sir. Just final question Sir. Do you agree that for example there are people saying that the Constitution should be amended to be more responsive to economic issues, economic developments in the global…..

Dean Candelaria. That’s a very contentious issue now. There’s a mind that says there are restrictions obviously when it comes to foreign partnership that would have encouraged if you had a more open, let’s say, ownership provisions. Personally, for me I think there’s enough in the Constitution now that will allow us to progress. If also we would do better housekeeping within the branches of Government. By itself, I still believe that the Constitution has its stance now, it would have to be maximized in its impact. Of course it’s a policy decision. If we say “do you want to go from primera, segunda, tercera,” then opening it up when it comes to ownership probably will change. But there are other repercussions also that you have to take into account. The impact on the other sectors of the Government and also on the part of the citizens. But for me I think we have to maximize the provisions of the Constitution now and there’s enough leeway for them.

Student E.  Thank you Sir.

Dean Candelaria. Yes, Professor Gatdula.

Professor Gatdula. Just a couple of comments. The first comment I actually want to say, the lecture actually dealing on sovereign debts and in fact for me one of the most critical issues particularly for developing countries, which I think they missed but not many people brought it up was the fact that when Strauss Kahn was actually removed from Office, there was a move for a developing country particularly _____________ which I think a lot of the Asian countries and the Philippines missed. There has been a tradition of having America for the WTO member, and the European, and in the end it was a European who replaced Strauss-Kahn, Christine Lagarde. I feel that next time there should be an election for the replacement for the IMF Head. I think there should be strong _______ an Asian, and hopefully Filipino. ___________Bobby Ocampo. What do you think?

The second comment I’d like to make is, and this also _______ here. The three heads of the economic groups, I don’t know if anybody actually noticed, Christine Lagarde, Pascal Lamy, Robert Zoellick, they’re all lawyers. So there’s a shift right now in the way that legal profession is actually running. There is a probability here that you may not have or at least have a legal profession that is actually part of the legal profession and ___________ more flexibility because there’s a need for profession concerned.

Third comment is one actually which is in response to your comment and this is again for the benefit of the students. Dean Candelaria is talking about the non-unilateral action taking _________ for sovereign debts, and he made a reasoning on the fact that well it is part of what being a good international citizen is about. And I think that ________ is actually personal profound philosophy in that one. To put it as inelegantly as I can, I frankly don’t care for being an international good citizen. I believe that if every action a state should take is that state should take for the sake of national interest and not from a point of view of caring or not whether the other countries would be happy about what they see. Having said that, the effect would probably be the same. I believe that coming from the perspective, it’s purely sovereign national interest, it will not ________ as a country to actually not answer for these lessons. Having said that, that’s it.  Thank you very much and Congratulations Dean Candelaria.

Dean Candelaria. I respect your opinion. I empathize with you when it comes to the China situation.

Ok. Thank you very much for your very decisive remarks.

1st Lecture series at ateneo (1)

Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban Professorial Chair on Liberty and Prosperity
First Public Lecture on Wednesday 19th of September 2012 at the Justitia Room, 4th Floor, Ateneo Law School.
Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria as Lecturer.

Professorial Chairs Program Launched

The Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity formally launched the ten “Chief Justice Panganiban Professorial Chairs on Liberty and Prosperity” on September 18, 2012 at the Metrobank Auditorium, Metrobank Plaza, Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati, with Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno as guest of honor and speaker.

Seven of the ten recipients received their “Certificates of Entitlement” and “Plaques of Recognition” from Chief Justice Sereno, Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, Dr. George S. K, Ty (Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Metrobank Foundation which co-sponsored the project) and Mr. Jose Maria Lim (President, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, the other co-sponsor).

The recipients are (alphabetically arranged) retired Supreme Court Justice Adolfo S. Azcuna (Chancellor of the Philippine Judicial Academy), Dean Andres D. Bautista (Far Eastern University Institute of Law), Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria (Ateneo De Manila School of Law), Dean Danilo L. Concepcion (University of the Philippines College of Law), Dean Jose Manuel I. Diokno (De La Salle University College of Law), Dean Nilo T. Divina (University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law), and retired Supreme Court Justice Eduardo B. Nachura (Chairman, Arellano University Law Foundation).

Soon, three others will be chosen from the top law schools in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

In her keynote address, Chief Justice Sereno said that, by sponsoring the professorial chair program, the FLP “aims to enhance the dialogue on the very complex relationship between an individual’s right to liberty and the concomitant value of prosperity under the rule of law.”

“The underlying pillar of our economic system must depend on the rule of law. When the courts decide on issues involving the allocation of resources, they basically assume the predictability of their outcome. At least this is in the sense that if a person buys an object through legal means, his or her ownership will be upheld by the law,” she added.

In his response on behalf of the recipients, Ateneo de Manila Law Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria expressed “our hope that the lectures and activities in the subsequent months and years will create a ripple effect and promote a paradigm that will find its way to judicial service, continuing legal education, but more importantly, with the concomitant impact on the daily lives of our citizens.”

Chief Justice Panganiban, FLP Chair, introduced Chief Justice Sereno while former Cabinet Secretary (during the term of President Corazon Aquino) Aniceto M. Sobrepena welcomed the guests and explained the many educational projects of the Metrobank Foundation, which co-sponsored the project.

Three FLP Trustees, namely, Retired Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr., Business Icon Washington Z. Sycip and Former Secretary of Education Edilberto C. de Jesus, formally launched this FLP Website to the delight of the audience.

The launch ceremonies were began with an invocation by Attorney Joel Emerson G. Gregorio, FLP Trustee and Corporate Secretary while Professor Maria Theresa P. Manalac, another FLP Trustee, delivered the Opening Remarks.

Libretto by Kristian Jeff Agustin, Overture and Music by Maestro Ryan Cayabyab

The Kilyawan Boys Choir provided two intermission numbers by singing “The Newsboy,” composed by maestro Ryan Cayabyab with lyrics by Kristian Jeff Agustin especially for the 75th birthday celebrations of Chief Justice Panganiban last December at the Meralco Theater, and “May Bukas Pa.”

FLP Executive Vice President and Asian Development Bank Consultant Evelyn T. Dumdum and FLP Trustee and Professional Regulations Commissioner Jennifer J. Manalili were the Masters of Ceremonies.

The Metrobank Foundation hosted snacks and drinks after the program.

Chief Justice Panganiban’s column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on September 23, 2012, titled “Sereno’s four reform pillars” and the Inquirer’s front page report of the event on September 20, 2012, titled “CJ Sereno vows ‘judicial bliss’ with 18 years in office,” are reprinted here. The original speeches delivered during the launch, the bio-data of the seven recipients’ and a facsimile of their “Certificates of Entitlement” and “Plaque of Recognition” can be downloaded from this website.


Formal Launching Ceremonies for the Ten Chief Justice Panganiban Professorial Chairs on Liberty and Prosperity in video, 18 September 2012

PART 1 of 2:

PART 2 of 2:

Why Liberty & Prosperity? (ANC Interview)

What can a long-term serving Chief Justice do to help the economy’s stability? And, beyond stability, what can the Sereno-court do to become business-friendly? More intriguing questions like these were answered during the exclusive interview with Retired Chief Justice Panganiban at ANC’s “Inside Business” program where he discussed in detail the  judicial philosophy of “Liberty and Prosperity Under the Rule of Law”, with Coco Alcuaz as anchor.

*video courtesy of the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC)

Libretto by Kristian Jeff Agustin, Overture and Music by Maestro Ryan Cayabyab

A Bio-Musicale Celebrating Retired Chief Justice Panganiban’s “Ageless Passion”

AGELESS PASSION pictures the life and works of Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban in a vibrant bio-musicale that captures meaningful moments and important milestones from his childhood to his professional life, capping in a spirited ensemble portraying his visionary chief justiceship and enduring passion to serve the country. Staging a lively and talented cast including family members and theater figures, as well as featuring the Manila Symphony Orchestra and original music by the “maestro” Ryan Cayabyab and libretto by Kristian Jeff Agustin, the musicale celebrates the vision and works a man who selflessly strived for his family as a young newsboy, his fellow students as a student leader in college, the legal profession as a lawyer and academician, and the country as chief magistrate of the judiciary.

The musicale offers an emphatic message encapsulated in the songs “The Newsboy” and “Ageless Passion”, where themes of optimism and faith amidst difficulties and turning points in life are emphasized to inspire the youth and the younger generation of lawyers and professionals.

From the poor newsboy in the backstreets of Sampaloc to the presidency of the most widely circulated newspaper in our country; from a modest Catholic to an adviser to the Holy Father in the Vatican; from a frustrated applicant for graduate studies to father of five wonderful children who each achieved his impossible dream of graduating in a pedigreed US university; from a shoeshine boy to the board rooms of the largest blue chips in our part of Planet Earth; and from a frustrated chemical engineer to a reluctant lawyer and to the highest magistrate of the land—for Chief Justice Panganiban, the message is quite simple: Good news. Bad news. God always knows.

Ageless Passion was directed by Bart Guigona and produced by Donna May Lina-Flavier, with musical arrangements by Jeffrey Solares. It was staged at the Meralco Theater, Ortigas on December 20, 2011 in celebration of Chief Justice Panganiban’s 75th birthday.

To view the repertoire of videos from “Ageless Passion”, see Kristian Jeff Agustin‘s channel via youtube.

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.