As a 19-year- old neophyte and provinciano from the south, I came into the
campus of the University of Visayas in 1970. There were no cell phones then, no
internet, no Google and no Ipad. All I had was a notebook and a ballpen and an
abundant dosage of hope and expectation.
I came from another university uptown where I finished my high school and my
pre-law in between pickets, teach-ins and demonstrations. It was the time of
student activism when the students did not trust the faculty and the faculty hated
the students. It was also the time when fraternities fought each other in the style
of tribal wars. All those troubles in my former school, I decided to leave behind. I
just wanted to become a lawyer, and the UV Gullas Law School, I was made to
understand, was the best law school for me.
And so, in the campus of UV, I learned the fundamentals of law and of life, of
love, and even of laughter. I met the most amazing characters who taught me
tremendous volumes of lessons, and had the opportunities to meet and interact
with amazing people from whom I learned the value of friendship, of loyalty, of
trust and of faithfulness to principles and institutions. But most of all, in the midst
of the social conflicts outside the UV campus which caused bloody encounters in
the streets, of students being arrested and detained under the regime of Martial
rule, the bonds that bound us inside the campus were so strong that until now,
we feel that we are all connected with each other.
In UV, I learned the value of listening. That is, more listening and less talking.
Listening to my mentors who were not only learned in law. They were full of
wisdom in life. They taught us to stand like a rock when it comes to matters of
principles, but to swim with the current when it was only a matter of style. I
learned to gain wisdom as to when to open my mouth. Our law professors would
remind us that there are only two great weaknesses of lawyers: to speak when it
is time to keep silent, and to keep silent when it is time to speak. Most of all, I
learned from the Gullases the value of integrity, the importance of trust and the
imperatives of honesty, hard work, perseverance, and humility. From the
founders of my beloved alma mater, I imbibed the values of excellence and
reliability, the importance of focus and commitment. And above all, in UV I
learned the importance of family.
In UV, we did not hate our professors, and our professors respected us in the
same intensity that we held them in high esteem. In our beloved UV, students did
not mistrust the administration because we saw with our eyes that they were by
then, as they are by now, not really after money as they are dedicated to help
poor but promising young Visayanians get a quality education, even if they paid
only when they became professionals. The study now, pay later scheme all
started in UV. Here we were taught how to serve without counting the cost, to
honor our clients and be honest in our dealings, to be true to our duties and
never violate the trust of people who rely on us. Yes, in UV I learned everything
that prepared me for life. If given a chance again, I will always come back to my
dear alma mater. From her I owe so much. Whatever I have become now after
47 years, and wherever life shall bring me from here on, I owe these all from
God, from my family, and from UV.
By Atty. Josephus Jimenez
This article is originally appeared and published in The Freeman newspaper.
*minor edits have been done