Last Friday, June 6, 2008, I had the privilege to deliver the welcome address in behalf of our Law Dean at the Association of Law Students of the Philippines (ALSP) annual convention. I wanted to read the speech; however there was no lectern wherein I could place my notes, so I have to deliver the speech impromptu. The following is the transcript of my speech.
Distinguished participants, Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.It is my pleasure to make the welcome address on behalf of our Dean. I am very grateful that we are holding the opening of this year’s ALSP here at the Southwestern University School of law. I would like to express my heartfelt welcome to the law students coming all the way from Luzon and Mindanao.I would also like to welcome all the participants from Cebu city and the neighboring islands in the Visayas area.The topic for this year’s convention “Towards a united legal community” is very fitting for our day and age, especially during these very turbulent times that our nation is experiencing. A united legal community could help stabilize the shaky foundations upon which our democratic institution is built upon.It was Aristotle who first defined the word “community.” He defined it as a group established by men having shared values. In other words the word community itself speaks about unity among its membersThe initial definition of what a community is has been refined and expanded through the years. The word is now commonly used to simply refer to a group of people situated in a certain geographical location.Sadly, the legal community has also gone down the same path. The “shared values” among its members has disintegrated into “shredded values” The values that has been taught inside our classrooms has almost no meaning in actual practice. In essence there are two sets of values that we are holding. One is the ideal values which we only keep in the text books and the other is the pragmatic values that we use in actual practice. This disunity in the values of our legal community helps divide our nation further apart.May this convention help us go back to the Aristotelian definition of what a real “community” truly is. May we not be only referred to as a “group of people who shares the same values” but rather that we be a “United group of people who shares the same values.”It is my hope and prayer that this convention will help further fire up (reminds me of an Amish fireplace) the idealism of each individual law student. The only way that we can achieve our goal of a united legal community is to have the same set of values whether as law students or practitioners.
I thank you all for your kind attention and once again, in behalf of our law dean, Atty. Godwin Denzel Manginsay and the Southwestern University School of law, I welcome you all.