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Manila Law College

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1899 - 2004
 
105 years in the forefront of legal education

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The country's first Filipino law school

 

Among the educational institutions in the Philippines, Manila Law College stands out as having planted the deepest imprint on the country's legal community, being the country's first law school founded by a Filipino, established as the famed and historic Escuela de Derecho de Manila soon after the 1898 Philippine Revolution.

 

            The law school was founded in June, 1899 by Dr. Felipe G. Calderon, framer of the Malolos Constitution.  Launching the Escuela de Derecho de Manila as its first Dean, he infused, thru solemn patriotism and missionary dedication, shining models of excellence in legal education.

            Fabled intellectuals and nationalists - UP President Rafael Palma, Director Teodoro M. Kalaw, Don Quintin Paredes, Senator Emiliano Tria Tirona, Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos and Supreme Court Justice Felix Angelo Bautista succeeded Dr. Calderon.

 

From Escuela de Derecho de Manila to Manila Law College

 

            In 1930, Supreme Court Justice Felix Angelo Bautista, one of the country's most esteemed educator and jurist for his distinguished career in the bar, bench and public service, consolidated the ownership of the Escuela de Derecho de Manila and, in keeping with the times, named the successor-institution in its English equivalent - the Manila Law College.

 

            MLC held its law classes at Intramuros, Manila until 1942, during the outbreak of World War II, when Justice Bautista transferred the College to the Regina Building along Escolta Street, Manila.  In 1946, Justice Bautista, being then the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Centro Escolar College (CEC), transferred the MLC location from Regina Building to the campus of CEC at Mendiola Street, Sampaloc Manila.

 

            After the term of Justice-Dean Bautista, prominent personalities took over the deanship of the MLC.  They were Perfecto Laguio, Pablo Meer and Supreme Court Justice Edgardo L. Paras  (the first MLC alumnus to become Dean of his own Alma Mater).

 

            Col. Enrique C. Galang, a well-known law professor and practitioner, followed Justice Paras.  Upon his retirement on July 1, 1990, Col. Galang was succeeded by Senior Court of Appeals Justice Porfirio V. Sison, founder-dean of the College of Law of the University of the University of Pangasinan, succesful trial lawyer, journalist, civic leader, public servant and educator.

 

            During his term, Justice Sison revitalized the law faculty by inviting his colleagues in the judiciary to share their wealth of wisdom and experience with the MLC students.

 

            Upon the demise of Justice Sison on January 20, 2003, the MLC Administration designated Atty. Florante A. Seril, a brilliant lawyer-administrator, as the OIC of the College of Law.

 

Producing national leaders, elite lawyers

 

            MLC's alumni wrote brilliant chapters in the history of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, the Congress, the Cabinet and the business sector.

 

            To the Supreme Court, MLC has contributed Chief Justice Manuel V. Moran, Justices Jose P. Laurel, Manuel Briones, Norberto Romualdez, Anacleto Diaz, Antonio Horilleno, Luis P. Torres and Edgardo L. Paras.  To the Court of Appeals, it has contributed Justices Felix C. Martinez, Domingo Laperal and Gloria Conti Paras.  Those who had been appointed as RTC judges were Judges Agapito Cruz, Leonardo Cruz and David Nitafan.

 

            The alumni who occupied cabinet posts were Secretaries Vicente Singson, Jose C. Zulueta, Pedro Magsalin, Jose Escaler, Oscar Castelo and Marcelo Balatbat.  Bureau heads were Commissioner Teofisto Guingona Sr., Directors Teodoro Kalaw, Enrique Altavas and Enrico Palomar.

 

            Among the alumni elected to Congress were Senators Emiliano Tria Tirona, Francisco Zulueta, Jose A. Clarin, Jose O. Vera and Jose Altavas.  Those who had been in the Lower House were Representatives Leonardo Festin, Mauro Verzosa, Fernando Veloso, Marcelino Veloso, Pablo Ocampo, Jose Roņo and numerous others.

 

            Alumni who became major figures in the business sector were financiers Rafael Corpuz, Pedro J. Ocampo, bankers Angel de la Paz and Homer delos Reyes, insurance-bank executive Dr. Romeo R. Echauz and business executives Alfonso Encarnacion, Jose Gatchalian and Benjamin Bautista.

 

Facing the new century with fresh vision and renewed courage

 

            MLC, the country's enduring citadel of legal education, does not rest on its laurels; it faces the new century with fresh vision and renewed courage.  Under the dynamic and enlightened leadership of its president and chairman of the board of trustees, Dr. Eduardo J. Bautista, and its OIC, Atty. Florante A. Seril, it is determined to carry on its mission of legal education for the Filipino nation.