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SBLAA Homecoming 2010_Speech of Atty. Ave Cruz

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SBLAA Alumni Homecoming
November 17, 2010, Kalayaan Hall, Club Filipino


Thank you Jicky and Bianca.

First, I would like to greet and welcome our Guest of Honor who has  made this Homecoming truly special.  The first Homecoming he is attending of any school in the nation.  He has appointed one of our own as the top Law officer of the land.  The son of illustrious Bedan parents, he will soon become one of us as an Honorary Bedan. Ladies and Gentlemen, His Excellency, President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino, III.

Next, I would like to greet our Rector President.  This year, our new Rector  saw a string of successes in the Bar Exams, in the CPA Board, double NCAA championships, Bedans elevated to major positions in government, no other than Rev. Fr. Aloy Maranan.

Along with Fr. Maranan, Members of the Benedictine community:
Fr. Benabarre, at 95 the durable/indestructible adviser of the Law Alumni
Fr. Basil, his deputy
Prof. Joffre Alajar, the micro manager of this event
Members of the San Beda College Board of Trustees. 
San Beda College Board of Trustees, as well as the other members of the Board.
Law Alumni President, Justice Nick Acosta.  Tonight, Nick will not fulfill his accustomed role as master of ceremonies because Mr. President, your staff has told us that would be against protocol.  Sorry Nick, It is a breach of protocol if you co-emcee beside Ms. Philippines, Bianca Manalo.
Also my colleagues in the Law Alumni Board of Trustees particularly our past President, Sixto “Boy” Brillantes and Roberto “Obet” de Leon, President of Club Filipino and Vice President of our Alumni Board who is paying for tonight’s cost of dinner or part of it.
More Presidents.  Atty. Jonas Cabochan, President, San Beda College General Alumni.
At this point, I would like to welcome the feisty, credible, top Law official of the country, champion of human rights, at the storm centre of Law enforcement, at the head of tonight’s honorees the Silver Jubilarians Class ’85 of San Beda College of Law, Honorable Secretary of Justice, Leila M. de Lima.
And the Silver Jubilarians (Jun Bohol, Kevin Vivero and Comm. Hefti) and Golden Jubilarians.

Remember the Bar Exams blast of September 26?  The 39 victims, all women except for eight, have inspired our theme.  They have re-enrolled to become future Bedan lawyers and they are here tonight as examples of courage, true grit and determination.  (Raissa Laurel and Joanna Leda).

I must greet the distinguished members of the Philippine Judiciary led by Supreme Court Justices Ed Nachura (Law ’67) and Bambit Mendoza (Law ’71), Chief Justice Art Panganiban, our Honorary Law Alumnus, will catch up, and those of the Court of Appeals led by our President, Justice Nick Acosta and his classmates, one of the most respected legal scholars in the Court, Justice Noel Tijam, Class ’72.
Sandiganbayan and the Lower Court Judges.

Dean Pabs Perez, Law Dean and his Faculty and members of Class 2009 for registering the highest percentage in the Bar Exams and garnering the first and second places (Reinier Yebra & Charlene Mae Tapic).

The awardees to be acknowledged later.
The heads and members of renowned Law Firms of the country
Our special guests,
Some of the ladies tonight, Mrs. Ann Cabochan, Mrs. Nora Robles & last but not the least, my wife, Helen.
Fellow Bedans
Ladies & Gentlemen

Ladies & Gentlemen:

I am privileged to welcome all of you to our 58th year of Homecoming.  As our theme suggests, Bedans should act as one, to meet any challenge.  This year, whether in the Bar Exams, in the last elections, in the Courts, in Law practice, or even in the September 26 explosion, you have responded in a way our Alma Mater can be proud of.  

Last year, Mr. President, I presented to Bedan Law Alumni a road map for lawyers to leave their comfort zones and, by giving to those in need, to become socially engaged professionals. I submit Mr. President, that the many problems which bedevil poor and rich nations alike cannot be simply left to government.  We must all become public servants without holding public office.  So one may ask:  Is democratization of giving relevant to Law? 

Lina Moreno Uribe, the First Lady of Columbia has the answer (and I quote):

“Helping others is an act of justice, not of charity.  The principle of human equality is the starting point of all forms of philantrophic acts”.  (unquote)

As our Alumni’s spontaneous fund raising showed for the victims of the September blast, each one of us can make a difference.  By giving, we start to fulfill justice.  But we know Mr. President, that justice is fully realized only when opportunities are equalized.   Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was skeptical for our country.  After the handover of millennium assistance, she strongly warned – and I quote:

 “Let’s be honest here.  In Manila, only the elite of government and business call the shots.  Without connections, the competent ones have very little opportunity to succeed.  So the Filipinos who are competent take their education abroad and help improve the economy of another country, oftentimes, the United States.” (unquote)

Equal opportunity, Mr. President, the power is in your hands.  You have, so far, shown the way to respect for the Rule of Law, to compassion where there was violence, and to accountability where there was corruption.  You have liberated business and industry from nepotism and sacred cows, equalizing all business opportunities, and that is why business is now booming.

Justice Meilou Sereno, in her address last month before the Philippine Bar Association, reported that on receiving her appointment, she asked you Mr. President for any directive, and your response was “Do only what is right” – an amazing grave departure from the norm.  

On that note, therefore, I call on my fellow Bedans, while renewing tonight the bonds of affection amongst all alumni, to accept the duty of giving now, as a part of justice worthy of serious reflection. 

All that said, let me now proceed to my task of assisting in the presentation of the title “Honorary Bedan Law Alumnus” to our Guest of Honor & Speaker”.

What is the title “Honorary Bedan Law Alumnus” ?

Mr. President, there are certain things to an Honorary Law Alumnus of San Beda. 

The title is based on one, close ties to San Beda; and two, faith and belief in the embodiment of the principle “Ora et Labora” and the Benedictine ideals of “fides, scientia, virtus”.

As to the first, no presidential family, I submit, can be closer to San Beda, in fact you are our neighbor in Mendiola.  Do you know, Mr. President, that the first public address delivered by your mother on her arrival from the airport on August 23, 1983 was in the Chapel of San Beda?  I was then President of the General Alumni and that very afternoon shortly after her arrival from Boston, she received from us the award of “Most Outstanding San Beda Law Alumnus Ever”, in behalf of your  martyred Father, Senator Benigno Aquino, High School class ’48.   Monching Mitra had warned of threats of arrest from the palace nearby, but the future President Cory delivered her first public address with exceptional courage, profound determination and defiance.   On a lighter note, we also searched the school records and found your Dad’s grades in High School, in the high 90’s, notwithstanding his absences from class.  President Cory finished at the Benedictine School of St. Scholastica.  Our honoree, therefore, is a son of true  Bedan parents.   

As far as the embodiment of the Benedictine ideals, our Law Alumni Board of Trustees convey to you Mr. President, faith and confidence in the principle of the “straight path” you so eloquently articulated for the Philippines’ new generation of leaders, and which echoes the Benedictine ideals of “Ora et Labora” and “fides, scientia, virtus”.

Let me now call on Fr. Rector to present the award in the presence of the Board of Trustees of the Law Alumni and its Board of Advisers.  Thank you.

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