of SAN AGUSTIN - College of Law Humble Story
For more than six decades
now, the University of San Agustin College
of Law has maintained its prestige as among
the country’s better law schools. Its excellence
is shown in its numerous topnotchers, prominent
graduates and countless awards.
With the start of the Second World War in
December 1941, Classes stopped. Students who
survived the war, however, went back to their
books with enthusiasm in 1946. Two years later,
the College produced its first seven Attorneys
and its first Bar Topnotcher. Antonio Montelibano
cooped 3rd Place with 91.75%. Other Bar Topnotchers
are: Wenceslao Dela Paz, 3rd place (1963),
Carmelo Betita, 7th place (1963), Mario Guariña
III, 2nd place (1967), Eduardo Aguillon, 9th
place (1971), Ricardo Chu, Jr., 3rd place
(1972), Dolores Abad-Alinio, 3rd place (1984),
Ma. Elena Opinion, 10th Place (1985), Cyril
Regalado, 7th place (1988).
When Atty. Benjamin H. Tirol became Dean in
1947, the College continued earning a reputation
for quality education and a good bar record.
It had the biggest library in the region with
3,000 volumes of law books and it had examinees
who missed the top ten in the bar examination
by just a hairline. In the same year, Ms.
Concepcion Novera who later became Mrs. Jose
Amamanglon, both Augustinian lawyers, founded
the Portia Club for lady law students. Sigma
Alpha Lex, the law student fraternity, however,
has existed since 1939.
After two decades of dedicated service, Dean
Benjamin H. Tirol relinquished his position
to an equally worthy and brilliant professor,
Atty. Corazon C. Miraflores in 1968 and who
was later succeeded by Dr. Cesar T. Tirol
in 1977. Because of its pursuit for academic
excellence, the College received its initial
PAASCU accreditation on December 7, 1979,
the first law school ever to be so accredited
in the Philippines.
In 1978, Augustinian lawyers unfolded and
left a remarkable trace in the history of
the College of Law when 20 out of its 21 candidates
successfully passed the bar examinations.
In its continued pursuit for academic excellence
and its unbending commitment to produce Augustinian
lawyers, the College of Law finally opened
its Pre-Bar Review Class in 1981, the first
and only review class outside Metro Manila.
On March 26, 1983, the USA College of Law
was reaccredited by the PAASCU for another
five to seven years. On the same year, the
Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the
Philippines (FAAP) certified its law Program
as having satisfied the standards for deregulated
status, Level II.
Because of its gigantic and incomparable
performance both in its academic instruction
and in the bar examinations, on March 15,
1988, the Department of Education Culture
and Sports (DECS) awarded the College of Law
a Certificate of Recognition for its meritorious
performance in the Bar Examination from 1987-1989.
This recognition was reechoed by the DECS
on the November 15, 1988 issue of the INQUIRER
considering the College as among the country’s
better law schools. On December 3, 1988 issue
of the PANORAMA MAGAZINE, Dean Bartolome Carale
quoting that “…while the U.P has a good law
school, there are strong competitors such
as Ateneo, San Beda and perhaps, the University
of San Agustin in Iloilo” reemphasized the
same recognition. The DECS granted the College
the authority to graduate students without
the need for special Orders (DECS Order No.
51, series of 1993). This authority is valid
as long as the accredited status (Level III)
The unwavering achievements of the USA College
of Law were products of more than fifty years
of uncompromising, unselfish and untiring
desire for academic excellence of the mentors
of the College. Few to mention are the known
old guards whose names became identical with
the subjects they taught: Judge Luis Hervas,
with Natural Law; Atty. Corazon C. Miraflores,
with Civil Law; and Atty. Wilfrido J. Ladrido,
with Criminal Law. However, they have faded
from the scene as all of us will.
In December 1997, Atty. Juana Judita P.
Panigbatan-Nafarrete, an alumna of the College
of law (Class ’94), was appointed Dean of
the College after she finished her Master
of Laws degree (Summa Cum Laude) from the
University of Sto. Tomas through a scholarship
grant sponsored by the University of San Agustin.
At the start of her administration, she
strictly implemented the “Quality Admission,
Quality Retention Policy”, which is geared
towards academic excellence and to improve
the passing percentage of the College of Law
in the Bar Examinations.
The “Model Law Curriculum” was revised and
took effect during the First Semester of Academic
Year 2000-2001 after the Commission on Higher
Education (CHED) approved it. The revision
is intended to produce more Augustinian Lawyers.
One of the salient features of the revised
Law Curriculum is the inclusion of the Comprehensive
Examination in the fourth year which is akin
to the Bar Examination.
According to the 1999 Bar Examinations Statistical
Data from the Supreme Court, the College of
Law of the University of San Agustin is still
the best law school in Panay and in Western
Visayas in terms of passing percentage in
the Bar Examinations.
On September 29, 2000, the Bar Review Room
was renamed as the “ Atty. Wilfrido J. Ladrido
Memorial Hall” in honor of the late grand
old man Atty. Wilfrido J. Ladrido for his
dedicated service to the College of Law.
In order to help Law graduates financially,
the College of Law through the Bar Review
Center continues to offer Bar Review Classes,
which are conducted by the competent members
of its faculty with updates and trends lectured
by legal luminaries from the Philippine Judicial
Academy and prominent Bar Review Centers in
Cognizant of today’s new trends in alternative
lawyering, the College of Law launched the
Center for Alternative Law last February 14,
2001. Atty. Danny Valenzuela is the Director
of the Center.
The Center is one of the only six centers
in the Philippines, and the only in Western
Visayas. It was instituted to address the
present concerns in the legal profession by
providing an avenue for education and training
to law students, practitioners and the community.
It is part of the University Outreach Program.
It focuses on activities of continuing legal
education in the field of alternative law.
It emphasizes on the advocacy and promotion
of the rights of special sectors of society.
To be able to realize its objectives and activities,
it has established linkages with other alternative
law groups namely: the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines, Panpili, USA Martin de Rada Human
Rights Center, Ateneo Human Rights Center,
U.P. Institute of Human Rights and other non-governmental
and cause-oriented organizations. The Center
has three lawyer volunteers and twelve student
volunteers. The Center has provided free legal
counseling and pro bono representation to
indigents litigants. Its paralegal volunteers
participate in Internship trainings on alternative
law sponsored by some of the organizations
aforementioned every summer.
The College of Law produced a number of distinguished
graduates. Among them are: City Prosecutor
Fe Gayanilo (Class ’75) and Provincial Prosecutor
Daniel Amular (Class ’82), both alumni of
the College of Law, received national distinctions
as Outstanding Public Prosecutor during the
10th Annual Awards for Judicial Excellence.
Prosecutor Gayanilo was conferred the Senator
Lorenzo Tañada Award, as Outstanding
Public Prosecutor of the Philippines while
Prosecutor Amular was the recipient of the
Sen. Ambrosio Padilla Award as Outstanding
Public Prosecutor. Judge Edgar Garvilles (Class
’66), RTC Bacolod, received the Judicial Excellence
Award for Western Visayas during the Centennial
Celebration of the Supreme Court. Resurreccion
Borra, an alumnus of the College of Law (Class
’60), is now a Commissioner of the Commission
of Elections. Maria Guariña III (Class
’67) is now a Justice of the Court of Appeals.
He was awarded the National Judicial Excellence
Award during the Supreme Court’s Centennary.
A number of the College’s graduates are
judges, prosecutors and heads of government
offices. Others are successful businessmen,
politicians and private practitioners.
During the Centennial Celebration of the
Supreme Court, the University of San Agustin
College of Law was awarded as one of the ten
law schools in the Philippines with a “Model
Centennial Law Library”. Currently, the USA
College of Law Library has four (4) air condition
units and it has the following library facilities
and resources: 1) Nine (9) Updated Computer
disks (LEX LIBRIS) a0 Jurisprudence – The
Philippine Supreme Court Reports 1901-1998;
b) Jurisprudence Lex Libris Bulletins 1999-2002
1st Release; c) Laws Philippine Edition; d)
Laws Lex Libris Bulletins 1st Release 2003;
e) Taxation Philippine Edition 2002; f) Taxation
Lex Libris Bulletins 1st Release 2003; g)
Local Autonomy and Local Government; h)Environment
and Natural Resources Vol. 6; I)Labor and
Social Legislation Vol. 7; 2)Updated Collection
of Books including SCRA (Supreme Court Reports
Annotated) from Vol. 1 – Vol. 359; 3)Selected
Journals/Legal Periodicals such as Official
Gazettes, Lawyers Review and etc.; 4)Two units
of computers (1 unit for OPAC – On line Public
Access Catalog and 1 unit for INTERNET). Alumni
of the College of Law are allowed to research
at the College of Law Library after securing
the Alumni card and after payment of a reasonable
All classrooms of the College of Law are
now air condition in order to enhance learning.
Since the year 2000 and every year thereafter,
Bar operations are conducted in Manila to
give moral support to the Bar candidates.
Some officers of the SIGMA ALPHA LEX and students
of the College of Law together with some members
of the faculty of the College go to Manila
during the four Sunday of the Bar Examinations.
The University of San Agustin Law Alumni
Association, Inc., (USALAAI) was reorganized
on August 24, 2002. Alumni from Manila, Iloilo,
Capiz, Aklan and Antique attended the reorganizational
meeting and election of officers. Atty. George
O. Que was elected President. The Alumni association
is now busy preparing for the Centennial Celebration
of the University in July 2004.
As the University of San Agustin Celebrates
its 100 years of existence on July 15, 2004,
the following were given recognition as Outstanding
Alumni of the Century: Evelyn C. Jiz (1965)
- Community Service; Agustin Misola (1953)
– Culture and the Arts; Daniel Antonio Gerardo
S. Amular (1982), Ressureccion Borra (1960),
Jesse Caberoy (1978), Wenceslao R. Dela Paz
(1963), Fe G. Gayanilo (1975), Mario L. Guariña
III (1967), Irene S. Panigbatan (1961) – Government
Service; Ricardo Pio C. Castro Jr. (1974),
Ricardo T. Chu (1972), Edgar G. Garvilles
(1966), Ramon A. Gonzales (1955), Raymundo
Julio Olaguer (1989), Cesar T. Tirol (1955)
– Law; Gerardo Flores (1977) – Military Service.