Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Neither here nor there

Ateneo Law School has recently released a statement on the Gloriagate Scandal. The Inquirer quotes Ateneo Law School Dean Cesar L. Villanueva as follows:

"We do not demand that the President resign, but we do ask of her, as the duly proclaimed Chief Executive of our Republic, to determine what is best for the country, and that her decision be made with the best interest of the nation in mind," the Ateneo Law School said in a statement issued by Dean Cesar L. Villanueva."As our President, we must rely on Ms Arroyo to make the proper decision, and once having made it, to then follow what would be in accordance with the terms provided for in our Constitution," he said.

"As our President, we must rely on Ms. Arroyo to make the proper decision, and once having made it, to then follow what would be in accordance with the terms provided for in our Constitution," he said.

This is a safe position to take. It's what old lawyers say as "neither here nor there" argument. And you might be wondering why this is how they stand. I have a theory. The Ateneo Law faculty is composed mostly of law practitioners in the big law firms in Makati who are counselling big time business supporters of the President. These lawyers are beholden to their clients who do not like their lawyers to be nosing around politics, especially when it threatens business. Now, as big business has thrown its support to GMA, can we expect their lawyers to take a diffferent position?

Compare the Ateneo's position with that of UP, and you wonder why these law schools have different takes on Gloriagate. Well, UP Law School is dominated by law academicians. Their roster is full of LLM's from Ivy League schools, and many of them write good and competent legal papers that affect social policy. JJ Disini and Sassy Lawyer can correct me if I'm wrong, but my impression is the UP law professors are not beholden to big business. Thus, UP Law's stand on the matter is clear, idealistic and principled.

Is there something about being an academic that makes you throw all caution to the wind, so to speak, when you find something condemnable and you condemn it? And is there something about being a lawyer, that makes you hesitate -- and perhaps, even cower in fear -- in the same situation?

How come UP and Ateneo do not have the same position on Gloriagate? UP Law is run by academics, and Ateneo, by lawyers.

10 comments:

Punzi said...

Uy! Pero yung "The Firm" puro UP yon a...

mlq3 said...

you just got quoted by a congresswoman while questioning paguia!!! you just made history!!!!!

cyber-friar said...

I saw it too, sikat ka na...

marvin said...

oh? I didn't catch that. What did the congresswoman say?

mlq3 said...

She tried to pin down Paguia by saying your blog quoted him as having said something; he said he wasn't familiar with the blog. Seems the congressional staff are studying you!

marvin said...

Oh, it must be about Alan Paguia's rule of force booklet. They should have read the book instead. It's available in National Bookstore for less than a hundred bucks.

Anonymous said...

best theory by far.

pcij implies it is out of a sense
of misplaced loyalty to GMA and
family. Also plausible.

I like your theory better.

Btw, I am Atenean but not lawyer.
I call their stand which is not really a stand, a sit.

marvin said...

About 50 people got to this page looking for "la vida lawyer" or "Alan Paguia" in google or yahoo yesterday. My counter also shot up to 215 hits for the first time. That must be the number of people listening to the hearings who had access to the web and got curious about the website after it was used by a congresswoman as reference in grilling Alan Paguia. Interesting, isn't it?

Now if only that can translate into google dollars, maybe we can have a new career. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I ran into your blog while searching google for Ateneo Law's stand on the gloriagate scandal. I agree when you say it is "neither here nor there". As an alumnus of said school, I am not suprised with the statement, since my beloved alma matter has a tendency to fence sit on issues in the past.

I would like to clarify, however your statements which states

"The Ateneo Law faculty is composed mostly of law practitioners in the big law firms in Makati who are counselling big time business supporters of the President" and "Their[UP's] roster is full of LLM's from Ivy League schools, and many of them write good and competent legal papers that affect social policy. . .correct me if I'm wrong, but my impression is the UP law professors are not beholden to big business. Thus, UP Law's stand on the matter is clear, idealistic and principled. "

First of all a resounding majority of Ateneo Law professors have LLMs from Ivy league schools, and indeed many of them write good and competent legal papers that affect social policy. Last but not least, generalizing beholdedness to big business by majority of the Ateneo's faculty is a risky generalization. I invite you to get to know many of the faculty who have nothing to do with big business but choose as their clients the indigents, the opressed and the marginalized. From the observation that from 1990 onwards the ratio of Ateneans in alternative law versus those from UP as 2:1, it can be safe to assume that it is these people who are ifluential in the minds of its students, and consequently of the administration.

Having removed the variables from which you have based your conclusion, then your conclusion that "UP Law's stand on the matter is clear, idealistic and principled" based on them, is flawed.

I do not blame you however on having said impression on the Ateneo. I had the same impression prior to enrolling there. This impression is unfortunate however, and unfair to those who choose an alternative law career, instead of being "beholden" to big businesses in Makati.

Other than that, I admire your blog. It makes for an intersting read and I admire your passion on national events as they are transpiring. More power to you! For Congress to have mentioned you (as I have read in the commonets" is clearly an affirmation of your blogs success! More Power!

marvin said...

Thanks Anonymous. Dean Cesar L. Villanueva is a corporate lawyer and his law partner was the former customs commissioner of GMA. And the big names in the faculty, such as Jack Jimenez and the rest of the Romula Mabanta partners, are all business lawyers. Of course, Atty. Medina, Atty. Candelaria, and the others in the Ateneo Human Rights Center are also big voices there. But I can hardly imagine the Ateneo Human Rights lawyers signing their names on that statement. What does this mean? The business lawyers in the Ateneo faculty and administration had their way. If Atty. Candelaria were the dean, I'd bet that the statement would be radically different. But as I said in the post, the Ateneo Law School is run by lawyers, lawyers of big business at that. This is not to overlook, however, the academics and the alternative lawyers in the Ateneo faculty, albeit I wish there will be more of them there, especially in the law school administration.