By Pet Melliza
About 100 people attended the induction of officers of the UI-Phinma College of Law Student Council last July 17. The council is called In Solidum “frasority” (fraternity-sorority).
In legal parlance, in solidum is a “joint and solidary” obligation, that gives a creditor has the option to collect the entire amount of collectible (debt or damages) from only one through there may be two or more debtors. The debt of one is the debt of all, the debt of all may be demanded from only one of them.
Yours truly was the “instant” guest speaker after Iloilo Press Club president Rommel Ynion backed out. Ynion, a businessman, had another speaking engagement that time. Incidentally, we at the presidential table were the odd ones. We dressed semi-formally at the gathering whose motif was Hawaiian.
Had I known so, I would have also dressed like most in the crowd – Hawaiian shirt and in shorts and sandals, even sleeveless shirt so anytime yours truly could join them and their kids frolicking at the nearby swimming pool at Punta Villa resort, Iloilo City. Perhaps, I was correct in assessing that my two-page piece that dealt on the role of the press in the legal profession was too serious for the occasion.
I decided to put it in my blog instead for any in the audience later to visit at their convenient time. It touched on extra-judicial killings and abductions of activists, 2,000 and 200 plus, respectively, during the inglorious reign of the woman misnamed Gloria (2001-2010). It also described this blighted lande, the most dangerous country in the world after Iraq. About 150 journalists were assassinated in the Philippines since 1986, including 34 in the infamous Maguindanao Massacre of November 2009, the single most tragic incident in the world for reporters.
The cold statistics is still counting. Since PNoy assumed the presidency in July 2010, 29 people were added to the list of victims of extrajudicial killings as logical offshoot of “Oplan Bayanihan”, the government’s counter-insurgency strategy that replaced the discredited “Oplan Bantay Laya”. Four of them are journalists and their deaths remain unsolved.
I went impromptu instead to speak about good, happy things briefly before an audience whose tables were bedecked with beer bottles. Law student council Pres. Rommel Dilag had also a serious piece that he dared read out – with regrettable outcome. Only we at the presidential table took him serious. Such message had to be delivered again for his fellow students to take a glance at.
To give justice to President Dilag’s piece, I reprinted it. The first part appeared in the previous issue. Here goes the conclusion of his valedictory address:
“We then work hand in hand with the media. We may not be at the frontline but we are tasked to be observant of what’s happening around us. The legal profession is synonymous to peace education. The laws are passed to avoid and punish crimes, and achieve peace and order. We then are morally obliged to look at the national windows of the media, for us law students to see reality.
“The national affairs becomes the concern of the community, much more of law students. Our continued vigilance is a manifestation of national concern. Keeping abreast of the news and political and moral controversies gives us insight on how effective the government is with its three branches in ensuring the welfare of its people.
“In conclusion, I have stressed that we work closely with the media that give us facts and insights on political and social issues. We the law students will be better equipped and prepared when we are in touch with social concerns which the media are engrossed with. “On top of memorizing and understanding the law and jurisprudence, there is still something greater crying for action, to become better human beings. Dream to become lawyers with big hearts, with love for humanity.
“With that, the Great Lawyer and Ruler will bless our efforts, shower us with all the graces and strength we need. We will emerge victorious in our legal profession, not just mere attorneys-at-aw, but great statesmen and builders of our nation.
“May our tribe increase.”*