human rights defenders

Bar topnotcher admires Constitution, rights defenders

[UPDATED] Ateneo Law School valedictorian Raoul Angelo Atadero, who topped the 2011 Bar Exams, admires 2 former Supreme Court magistrates and 2 former deans of his school

BAR TOPNOTCHER. Ateneo graduate Raoul Angelo Atadero admires 2 former Supreme Court magistrates and 2 former deans of his school. Screen grab from Atadero's Facebook

[UPDATED] MANILA, Philippines – The topnotcher in the 2011 Bar Exams, Ateneo graduate Raoul Angelo Atadero, includes Constitution and human rights defenders in his list of models among lawyers.

Atadero cited them in his speech when the Ateneo de Manila Law School made him its valedictorian in 2011. He also received a gold medal for academic excellence when he graduated.

In his valedictory address, Atadero cited 4 persons who embody “brilliance with integrity” – which, he said, the Ateneo ingrained in him and his fellow graduates. (Read full text here)

He recognized Justice Lorenzo Relova for casting “impasse-breaking votes against his appointing authority during those crucial years before Edsa 1, shaping our history with his integrity and cementing his unsullied reputation as a public servant.”

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee, he said, was “‘the light that did not fail’ during the dark years of the Constitution, his decisions and dissents proving him to be a steadfast defender of the Constitution and revealing his unshakeable fidelity to the rule of law.”

He also cited former Ateneo Law School Dean Jeremias Montemayor for championing “the cause of agrarian reform, ceaselessly promoting the basic dignity of the Filipino farmer and concretizing the social teachings of the Catholic Church, thus living a life of counterculture resplendent against a backdrop of poverty and want.”

Constitutionalist Fr Joaquin Bernas, or “Father B,” as he is fondly called, is also one of Atadero’s role models.

“That Father B has never wavered in his scholarly and well-reasoned defense of the constitution against the vagaries and vulgarities of Philippine politics speaks volumes of his integrity,” Atadero said.

‘Not brilliance alone’

Atadero challenged members of his graduating class to follow the examples of the 4 persons he cited.

“Like true gems,” he said, “it is not our brilliance alone that will set us apart but that indestructible core that we’re made of – what the Ateneo has impressed upon us down to our very molecules – brilliance with integrity.

“Brilliance without integrity makes us puwit ng baso, breakable and fleeting. Integrity allows us to withstand and constantly scatter light, enduring with brilliance,” Atadero said. –

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