"Humayo nang buong giting at tapang, paglingkuran ang sambayanan." (Filled with heroism and bravery, go serve your countrymen.)
Part of the 23-minute "rousing" keynote delivered by Supreme Court Justice and former University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law Dean Marvic MVF Leonen during the recently held digital oath-taking ceremony for the 2019 bar passers via Zoom, that paraphrased the lyrics of the "UP Naming Mahal Hymn," has "left many in his audience motivated to serve in the public interest," a statement sent to the PIA-NCR said.
According to the UP College of Law, Leonen's speech "manifested the university's long tradition of honor and excellence, and guided by the principle of democratic governance."
In his speech, the court official impressed upon the new lawyers their most profound purpose, saying, "Let me be clear. Your task is not to hope or seek a better world - it is more than that. Your purpose as a lawyer is to use your life to shape law so that it authentically contributes to the achievement of the best society for every human being."
Citing the people's struggle of living in a society where there is poverty, extreme inequality, and social injustice, he emphasized to the bar passers and all lawyers their essential role in society.
"Lawyers can either... allow the law to further our collective human perdition, or we can collectively use law to liberate. The rule of law is always the rule of just law; it is no code for servility," he said.
He also reiterated the importance of social responsibility, and reminded the hopeful new lawyers of the power they possess to help those in need.
"Protect those who have less in life, do not stand for abuse; be accepting of different identities; speak up against corruption, do not succumb to having more than enough; do not trade kindness for the false badge of success. When you enter public office, discharge it for the public trust that it is," he urged.
Leonen, who is serving as the 2020 bar chairperson delivered his keynote during the country's first online oath-taking ceremony during a special en banc session of the Supreme Court.
The online event was in observance of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) guidelines for mass gatherings.
The Supreme Court has begun to adjust to the "new normal" through technology and innovation to ensure the continuous, timely, and efficient conduct of legal proceedings and other court activities during the pandemic.
The "virtual oath-taking" was one measure in line with these efforts. (PIA NCR)