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College of Law

The College of Law

It was a moment of jubilation when the Luzonian Colleges was granted a government permit to open a College of Law in 1949, barely two years after it started offering its initial tertiary programs.  The College of Law was a dream come true for founder president Atty. Enverga, who a year earlier had graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a master of laws, meitissimus. Many students who had graduated from Associate in Arts program were clamoring for the opening of a law college to allow them to study at night.  Because the College of Law was a pet project of Atty. Enverga, he assumed the deanship of the college, even as he was sent to the Universidad Central de Madrid to finish his doctor of laws sobresaliente on a scholarship grant by Father Aniceto Castanon of the University of Santo Tomas.

 

Early History

The College of Law, therefore, started as a night college which attracted graduates of the associate program and professionals in the private and public sectors.  It was a welcome development in Lucena, as many of its first enrollees did not have the leisure and the time to go to Manila.
Fours years later, in April of 1953, the first batch of six would graduate from the four-year law baccalaureate program.  Of the six, five successfully hurdled the bar examination.  They were Anacleto Alcala, whose political star would glow for more than 20 years as governor of the Province of Quezon, Free Camaligan, the lone woman in the batch, who would be fiscal in the Bicol Region, Celso Florido who would be a fiscal in Quezon Province, Jose Ladines who would be a municipal judge of Sampaloc, Quezon and Celso Ortiz, Sr., who for a long time was clerk of court of the Court of First Instance of Quezon before he succumbed to a heart attack.

By the late 50’s, the College of Law would have gained national prominence along-side Manila and Cebu law schools because of its passing record in the annual bar examination.  It was a great source of pride and joy for the Luzonian community whenever the bar examination results came out.  The law students and their faculty would take to the streets of Lucena and hold torch parades in honor of the new lawyers.  Dean Enverga himself would join the bar operations in Manila and boost the morale of the examinees with pep talk and inspirational advice.

 

The Golden Years

In 1955, the Luzonian College of Law gave the province three more lawyers: Maximo Caparros, Felimon Juntereal and Joaquin Trinidad. Atty. Caparros would be the provincial treasurer of Quezon, the late Judge Juntereal would be one of the first law school alumni to be appointed presiding judge of the Court of First Instance of Quezon while Atty. Trinidad is still in active law practice and is one of the most respected senior lawyers in Lucena City and environs.

The batch of 1956 had a 50% passing percentage, much higher than the national average, with Juan Bardelosa, Jr., Alfredo Cuenca, Dante Diamante and Nacenciano Zoleta making it to the tough bar examination.  Atty. Bardelosa is a much sought after corporate lawyer while Atty. Cuenca served as chief of police in his hometown and is now based in the United States.  Atty. Diamante became the youngest provincial fiscal of Quezon Province.  The latter is now in active private practice, representing international corporations, after his retirement from government service.  Like Atty. Cuenca, Atty. Zoleta also served the police department as chief.

The class of '57 can boast of the late Melquiades Refazo whose stint with the Provincial Prosecutor's Office left a legacy of public service and personal integrity, David Tabuzo who worked as an aide of his former law dean, Congressman Enverga, and would later on be appointed in the Bureau of Customs, and Ceferino Caparros who would be appointed clerk of court of the Court of First Instance of Batangas.

Class '58 has come of the brightest legal luminaries - Cesar Cabral, a very accomplished criminal and civil lawyer; Constancio Cusi, poet-writer turned politician, who has served the city government of Lucena in many capacities as secretary of the board, secretary to the mayor and currently as a member of the Sangguniang Panglungsod; Medardo Tumagay, a famous campus orator and debater in his salad days, who captured public imagination with his eloquence and down-to-earth approach to public issues as one of the longest-running members of the Provincial Board of Quezon and Assemblyman of the Batasang Pambansa, and the second woman-lawyer Rosario Salamillas, who used to argue her cases in court but who has decided to take a more sedate life as a notary public.

Of the five graduates of Class '59, three made it when they took the bar examination.  They were Leondro Garcia, now a banker and civic leader and was once elected member of the Constitutional Convention, Felicisimo Garin who rose to become a judge of the Regional Trial Court of Palawan, and Prudencio Yulde, municipal trial court judge of General Luna, Quezon.

The following year, the College of Law would have another bumper harvest in the dreaded bar examination.  Of the seven hopefuls, 5 would pass the bar with flying colors.  The 'magic five' were Pedro Laurel, Efren Garcia, Medardo Medenilla, Cipriano Maliwanag and Pedro Nantes.  Atty. Laurel would engage in private practice in Atimonan while late CFI Judge Garcia would have been a shoo-in for the Court of Appeals had he not succumbed to cancer.  Atty. Medenilla is currently working with NGOs to improve the plight of poverty-stricken sectors.  The late Atty. Maliwanag was a long-time mayor of Candelaria, Quezon while Atty. Nantes is with the Lucena City Prosecutor's Office.

Batch '61 had two contributions to the legal profession.  They are retired Regional Trial Court Judge Francisco Remolona, who is now a resident of the United States, and bar topnotcher, cum laude graduate Jovito Talabong who is currently a member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Quezon.

At this point, Dean Enverga would relinquish the deanship of the College to Atty. Mario Millar.  The College of Law continued to reap success till the early 70’s.  In 1962, three new lawyers took their oath - Eulogio Algaza, Anselmo Regis and Antonio Rosario. Atty. Alzaga is still engaged in active law practice, the late Atty. Regis was treasurer of Quezon City shortly before his demise and the late Atty. Rosario was with the provincial Fiscal's Office when he was mortally stricken with a heart ailment.

Of the six graduates of batch '63, half passed the bar.  On of them would start a thriving private law practice and eventually serve the judiciary as executive judge of the Regional Trail Court of Quezon, Judge Ricardo Rossales, Jr. The other two, Attys. Walter Abela and Roman Mendioro, continued their private practice.  The earlier passed away a few years ago while the latter serves as a trustee of the University.

Atty. Ruperto Zarzuelo of Class '64 retired from the Provincial Prosecutor's Office a few years back and is now a private law practice.  He is one of the respected civic and religious leaders of Tayabas, Quezon.  Batch '65 had three successful bar examinees - Atty. Antonio Magtibay who is in private law practice, Prosecutor Emmanuel Grimaldo and Judge Antonio Mendez of the Regional Trail Court based in Gumaca, Quezon.

A grand torch parade marked the triumphant hurdling of the bar examination of Atty. Clemente Alcala, State Prosecutor Ben Cortez, MSEUF President Jose Laureles and Vice Governor Robert Racelis in 1966.  The batch had a nearly 90% passing average, with Atty. Alcala landing in the top twenty.

In 1967, Federico Lascieras and Dencio Rubio also passed the bar.  Atty. Lascieras engaged in private law practice while Atty. Rubio served the government as clerk of court in the Court of First Instance of Quezon.  Atty. Edgardo Balquiedra, now the provincial prosecutor of the province of Marinduque, was the lone star of Class '68.

 

The record set by the Class '69 was another source of pride for the new University which produced four new lawyers, or 80% of the graduating class.  There was another torch parade and the morale of the college was at an all-time high.  The batch had Antonio Acyatan, Edilberto Amat, Emmanuel Garcia and Bienvenido Mapaye.  Atty. Acyatan who graduated cum laude and placed 11th in the bar examination the current president of the MSEUF Alumni Association and owns and manages a legal, accountancy and consultancy firm in Manila, after a stint as senior officer in several of the country's leading banking institutions.  He was the first president of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) from a provincial chapter and is currently the vice president of the ASEAN Federation of Accountants.  Atty. Amat is with the military and holds a legal post while Atty. Mapaye is the presiding judge of the municipal trial court of Sariaya, Quezon.  Atty. Garcia is engaged in private law practice.

It was not until 1970 under the deanship of alumnus Jovito Talabong who graduated from his masters degree in law at the University of Santo Tomas that more women would enroll in the college and take the bar examination, successfully at that.  They were Thelma Desembrana and Fe Mercado, both city prosecutors.  Their batchmate was Atty.  Marcelino Dy who currently occupying a senior executive position in a major Philippine corporation.

In 1971, the College of Law scored another record in the bar examination with four of five graduates passing the final test.  They were Bayani Anastacio, now an aide of Lucena City Mayor Ramon Talaga, Jr., Rodel Ambas, currently in active private practice, Eladio Lat who retired from the City Fiscals Office at the time of his demise and Ernesto Lavado who retired from the Provincial Fiscals Office and is now practicing in Quezon and nearby provinces.

The College would reap seven more lawyers in the mid-70’s.  They were Manuel Garcia, Reverito Carurucan, Primo Marquez, Ramon Borja, Celso Reyes, Emmanuel Hilario and Uldarico Jusi. Attys. Garcia, Hilario and Jusi are in private practice, Atty. Carurucan is with the Public Attorneys' Office and is now of the aides of the city mayor of Lucena and is engaged in private law practice.

 

New Beginnings

After 1976, the College of Law temporarily stopped operating only to resume in 1990.  the second wave of lawyers who emerged from this new batch are Calixto Dauz,Jr., Ronaldo Calayan, Percival Peralta, Enrico Joaquin Villanueva, Cesarito Villariba and Efren Dizon, the lone cum laude graduate, who are all engaged in private and corporate law practice.  Two others would make it.  Atty. Elizabeth San Juan is the clerk of court of Trade and Industry.  Recently, Bayani Abante, Calixto Dauz III and Carlito Enverga brought honors to the university's law school when they successfully hurdled the bar examination