By Alex P. Vidal
“Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.” ― Aristotle
THE National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers—Panay Law Students (NUPL-PLS) Chapter did not only oppose the appointment of First Lady Louise “Liza” Araneta Marcos as a faculty member of the West Visayas State University (WVSU) College of Law, but also “vehemently denounced and condemned” it.
In a statement, NUPL-PLS cited the Marcoses’ “long record of graft and corrupt practices and human rights violations supported by judicial decisions, as well as blatant moves of historical revisionism, fake news peddling, and dis- and misinformation campaigns.”
If she was allowed to teach Criminal Law I to the incoming freshmen of the college this semeters, the NUPLS-PLS said it would “run afoul of the tenets of the legal profossion.”
For being a Marcos, the First Lady is a threat to the morals of the Ilonggo law students in that university, if we will interpret the NUPL-PLS’s cold-blooded rejection of Atty. Araneta-Marcos’ employment in that university.
“As the presence of Araneta-Marcos in our academic spaces looms large, we likewise urge all other sectors to prevent her teaching stint in the university,” screamed the NUPL-PLS statement.
“This is a call not just to the legal professionals and students of law, but to all academic stakeholders of the university. We slam any call to remain silent and keep mum about the issue at hand. We won’t take this sitting down.”
The group’s statement concluded with a swashbuckling sucker punch: “A fascist enabler has no place in our academic institutions! Never Again! Never Forget!”
Whether the NUPL-PLS’s stand will influence the decision to hire the First Lady, the final say would still be with the WVSU.
As long as she is qualified, I would not stand in the way if I were a powerful voice in the decision-making on the composition of faculty members for the soon-to-open College of law in that institution.
But I would respect the stand of the NUPL-PLS and other groups or individuals who decried and loathed the assimilation of a Marcos in WVSU’s educational family.
As a faculty member, however, Atty. Araneta-Marcos would be teaching incoming law students specifically the first-year curriculum, which is the brick and mortar of their law school education.
The subject matters would be about tort, contracts, civil procedure, property, criminal law, constitutional law, and legal methods.
They’re not about whether Ninoy Aquino was a hero and the late former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. was a dictator; whether the grand thievery during the Marcos hegemony in the 70s and 80s was truth or fiction; whether Martial Law was the Philippines’ golden years or a moment of total darkness for human rights abuses.
It’s another story if Atty. Araneta-Marcos would take advantage of her access to the law students and the entire student community in that university in general and digressed from the curriculum she was tasked to handle.
What should be emphasized here is the competence or expertise of Atty. Araneta-Marcos as a teacher, not her affinity or (political, fraternity, religious and family) connection and position outside the academe.
As C.S. Lewis once said, “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”
“We expect that this decision by the administration will cause dismay and contempt, where potential students and faculty will be discouraged to pursue the legal studies or career in WVSU, especially since the Marcoses are gradually establishing their presence in the region,” read part of the NUPL-PLS stament.
“Further, we urge the WVSU Law Student Council and other law student councils in Panay to unite and oppose this act of WVSU Administration. As the representatives of the WVSU-COL student body, it is the responsibility of the council to give a platform for the students to express their concerns and grievances and to communicate these through the proper channels. We encourage these leaders not to just leave their constituents hanging and drowning just to maintain security and status quo, and instead lobby their concerns to the WVSU Administration.”
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)