On 4 September 2023, the Philippine Bar Association (PBA) celebrated its 131st Foundation and Law Day at the Kamagong Room of Manila Golf & Country Club in Makati City. This annual event allows PBA members to gather and renew their commitment to PBA’s vision of unity and empowerment among legal professionals across the country.
With its inception on 8 January 1891, the PBA became the first voluntary organization of lawyers in the Philippines, championing the cause of justice and advancing the interests of its members in the legal profession.
PBA President Ernestine Carmen Jo D. Villareal-Fernando convened the celebration and Past President and Council of Advisers Member Fina Bernadette A. dela Cuesta-Tantuico led the prayer.
PBA Trustee and 2nd Vice President Peter Irving C. Corvera gave the welcome remarks. A short Audio Visual Presentation on the history of the PBA, an institution that has played a pivotal role in shaping the legal landscape of our nation, was also played.
PBA Trustee Alfredo B. Molo III introduced the special guests in attendance while Past President Avelino J. Cruz, Jr. introduced the Guest of Honor, the 14th Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines Maria Leonor Santo Tomas Gerona-Robredo.
Vice President Robredo, a lawyer who advocated the interests of the underprivileged, encouraged the members of the PBA to continue the fight for the Rule of Law. She talked about the systemic injustices suffered by our fellow Filipinos who understandably have lost their faith in the judicial system and the rule of law. She reminded those present that “We have a higher duty to work towards promoting the rule of law in a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace.”
After Vice President Robredo’s speech, she was presented with a Plaque of Appreciation by President Villareal-Fernando.
Towards the end of the program, new members of the PBA took their oath and their oath was administered by Vice President Robredo.
The evening continued with socials among PBA members.
The program was hosted by PBA Member Dorothea R. Balasbas-Gancayco and PBA Trustee and Treasurer Chrysilla Carissa P. Bautista.
True to tradition, in attendance were Past Presidents of the PBA including Victor P. Lazatin, Avelino J. Cruz, Jr., Maria Teresita Geraldine C. Sison Go, Ma. Charito P. Cruz, Rodel A. Cruz, Fina Bernadette A. dela Cuesta-Tantuico, Rico V. Domingo, Benjamin T. Bacorro, Rodelle B. Bolante, Ronald O. Solis, Emerico O. De Guzman, Ruben O. Fruto, Federico R. Agcaoili, Jose Luis V. Agcaoili, Beda G. Fajardo, Simeon V. Marcelo, Arturo T. Del Rosario, Jr., and Jose A. Feria, Jr.
With the renewed commitment of the PBA members, the PBA is ready to face the challenge of fulfilling its role in leading and providing lawyers opportunities to practice law with a strong sense of social justice.