Who is afraid of UP Diliman?

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - November 26, 2020 - 12:00am

The president has issued a warning and a threat, that if UP does not stop being the center of recruitment by the CPP-NDF, NPA, he would cut government funding and let that institution "starve" for lack of funds. These were not his exact words but somehow, I understood it that way. My comment: Easier said than done.

Well, President Rodrigo Duterte is from San Beda and most of his Cabinet members are not UP graduates. Most of the Supreme Court justices that he appointed are either from Ateneo, UST or from San Beda. The Chief Justice is from UST., just like the Speaker of the House. Manong Digong is not a fan of UP. He is not like President Marcos who packed the highest court of the land with UP graduates and refused to appoint Claudio Teehankee who was from Ateneo. There was even a time when the majority of the Supreme Court justices were members of the same class, the class where Marcos emerged bar topnotcher. Even GMA was a believer of UP although her late father President Diosdado Macapagal was from UST, just like presidents Manuel Quezon, Sergio Osmena Sr., Presidents Manuel Roxas, Elpidio Quirino and Jose Laurel Sr. were from UP, too. Both Marcos and Ninoy were from UP, ditto to Salonga, Tolentino and Joker Arroyo.

Cebu's own Chief Justices Pedro Yap, Marcelo B Fernan and Hilario G Davide were all from UP. The first bar topnotcher from Cebu was a graduate of UP, Don Paulino R Gullas, founder of The FREEMAN. Most of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals justices graduated from that great institution, which claims to teach law in a grand manner, as Justice Francis Jardeleza always reminded us in San Miguel Corporation. Jardeleza was my boss, and SMC's General Counsel but the top management selected me, a graduate of UV to be the Director for Labor Litigation, directly reporting to Jardeleza. Those lawyers reporting to me who were all from UP and Ateneo did not really relish being managed and led by a Visayanian. UP lawyers have a certain air of superiority. But I have a certain way to charm them, which I learned in UV.

Senator Franklin Drilon was a classmate of the late Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago in UP Law. Senator Pia Cayetano, like her late father Rene' Cayetano, is from UP. Alan Peter was from Ateneo.  Kiko Pangilinan, too, and many others in the Philippine legal community are from UP. They all have a certain feeling of being above the rest.

When I started as a bar reviewer in the eighties, I used to go to UP after the first Sunday. All the bar reviewers were asked to attend a meeting to answer the questions in labor law. I heard one UP professor saying there are only three law schools in the Philippines: UP, Ateneo and the rest. Today, there are only three: San Carlos, San Beda and the rest.

It has been said before that the Philippine judiciary and Congress are dominated by UP lawyers, while the business community by Ateneo. Today, that is no longer true. Under President Duterte the politically correct institution of learning is San Beda, and also Ateneo de Davao. I happened to take up my pre-week review in San Beda. Then I lectured in MCLE in both UP and Ateneo. For a while I was also teaching in the UP School of Labor and Industrial Relations, and I studied in UP Cebu for my masters in public administration. I know of many UP lawyers who do not look down on the rest with arrogance and condescension.

President Duterte does not want public funds to be poured into the UP coffers while its administration, faculty and student body are lambasting the president, burning his effigies and dancing with the left, allowing the leftists to recruit students into the radical movement, allegedly inside the UP campus. Well, I understand Manong Digong for that legitimate sentiment, I really do not believe that UP's mentality and ideology can be turned around with a threat just like that. As Senator Miriam used to brag: In UP, we eat death threats for breakfast.

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