The “Kapihan ng Bayan sa UP”, a public event hosted by the University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA) and held at the Ang Bahay ng Alumni, UP Diliman, Quezon City on July 17, 2018, featured a lively discussion on “Reviewing Judicial Independence” with Hon. Mario Victor “Marvic” F. Leonen, associate justice of the Supreme Court (SC) of the Philippines, as resource speaker.
Despite the suspension of work and classes due to heavy rains that afternoon, the event was attended by students and faculty of UP Diliman, UP College of Law, Malabon University, members of the UPAA Board of Directors, and UP alumni.
The event started with an ecumenical invocation led by Dr. Pacita C. Gavino, secretary of the UPAA, which was followed by welcome remarks given by Atty. Ramon M. Maronilla, president of the UPAA. Atty. Bienvenido I. Somera, Jr., legal counsel of the UPAA, then introduced Leonen as guest speaker.
Leonen, who also served as dean of the UP College of Law before being appointed to the SC, delivered a lecture on the historical development of the study of law and the role of the judiciary in the country. He explained the importance of the judiciary, the rule of law, and also of the participation of public institutions, such as the academe, media, and the courts, among others, in ferreting out truth and justice.
According to Leonen, law was transmitted within a social context and was studied with social sensitivity. It should be progressive, and should always be about doing justice. He discussed how judges arrived at decisions while maintaining the independence and integrity of the courts. He also invited the public to be involved in the deliberation of candidates for the SC, to write letters to the members of the SC about issues of national significance, and to become critical and responsible citizens.
Atty. Reynaldo C. Laserna, UPAA 2nd vice president, delivered the closing remarks. Atty. Domingo C. Palarca, UPAA Director, served as moderator. (Fred Dabu, UP MPRO)