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Unmuted

WRECKORDER - FGS Gujilde (The Freeman) - April 22, 2021 - 12:00am

Freight cows might, especially in sports. It is mental as much as it is physical. Steely nerves still the competition and steal their thunder. Exactly how the University of San Carlos College of Law mooters barged into the semi-finals of the prestigious mentalympics, the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.

Starting at a startling 570 law schools the world over, they were narrowed down to 128 and cut by half each round. Ateneo de Manila reached its farthest at the quarters, but the University of the Philippines fell a couple of rounds earlier, leaving USC by its lonesome to carry the Philippine torch in the final four as it walks past erstwhile duopoly.

In every round, Chrisha Romano-Weigel sounded sweet, but did not sugarcoat and stung when it mattered most. The styled Justein Redoble confused and stunne d, like a ruse molted to an oratory cruise. The cerebral Edward Dominic Emilio broke his deafening silence to deafen the jury and silence the opposition. With profound wisdom, the team blended their beautiful minds spoken with circumspect, exactitude and maturity.

En route to and in the semis, they pleaded their case beyond brilliance and conviction. It was artistry, something that may never be taught but caught, especially from a law school which exacting standards force students to develop study ethics to survive the daily crucible. With full grasp of facts and mastery of law, they subtly interchanged their appreciation and application into coherent articulation. These students of law mastered the law before earning a degree in law.

And the choice of words was dead-on. And deadly. Time was too short to be wasted on a word inappropriate. They neither argued out of context nor under pretext. Did not raise their voice either, their wisdom spoke louder. Like a quiet storm. No emotion, only reason. No sophistry, but ingenuity. May not be perfect, but artistry does not seek perfection, beauty has no boundary.

When the judges interrupted them with questions and reservations, they answered with equanimity and clarity. But with subtlety, initially agreeing, with a smile, then disagreeing, with disarming delicatesse and sophisticated responsiveness.

They fought like a true Carolinian warrior would, trained under grueling conditions, sacrificing their law school lessons. A moment of complacency serves the enemy. Gnarled. Why would they not be, when behind them are Daryl Bretch and Joan Largo who are averse to mediocrity, and whose intellectual collaboration, and yes, marital union, birthed Carolinian domination in world moot court competitions. More than coaches, they are the creators of these world class oralists preceded by bar placer Mark Lawrence Badayos, Tess Marie Tan, Abby Olea, Vincent Joseph Cesista and Fulbright scholar Rashid Pandi who likewise coached in his signature coat.    

But while the National University of Singapore narrowly ended their mooting campaign in the semis, they are not mooted, much less muted. It only makes them hungrier, but not greedier. Just as when they lost in the nationals, they fought back fair and square before an independent foreign jury in the worlds. They lost the battle, but won the war, for bringing us this far. Vindication.

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