November 25, 2007

Ingratitude. In Gratitude.

Note: Not for the faint of heart, this contains strong language.

After 30 or so years of service, many people retire with gold watches, a plaque, honor and acclaim of peers; the luckier ones retire with a hefty check.

Salvador T. Carlota, Dean of Malcolm Hall from 2005 and Professor of Law, will retire on his birthday this December not with a gold watch, not with a plaque, not with a hefty check but with a heart broken by betrayal and ingratitude.

A few days back, the following members of the Law Faculty posted publicly a statement demanding that Dean Carlota not be allowed any extension of his term beyond his birthday--

Harry Roque
Florin Hilbay
Elizabeth Pangalangan
Raul Pangalangan
Merlin Magallona
Bartolome Carale
Domingo Disini
JJ Disini
Barry Gutierrez
Danilo Concepcion

Never mind that two of these are retired former deans who should know how it is to cap one’s service to the University and the College enjoying the gratitude of peers and colleagues.

Never mind that one of them is a former Dean who, on the first day of Dean Carlota’s term in 2005, assured the Dean that he would not object to a full term of three years for him, even beyond his birthday (a statement that this former Dean has denied, of course).

Never mind that one of them is a recently retired professor who practically begged for an extension so that he could hold on to his administrative post, and which Dean Carlota graciously granted and even expedited—no questions asked.

Never mind that another is a recently retired professor who also had his term extended by Dean Carlota--no questions asked either.

Never mind that the others are absentee directors who spend more time outside the University and their institutes than inside.

Never mind that not one of them can give a perfectly reasonable, let alone compelling, explanation why Dean Carlota has to leave as soon as he turns 65 and not stay one day longer.

Never mind that not one of them can give a perfectly reasonable answer to the equally reasonable question--"why the rush?"

Never mind that after more than 30 years of service to the U.P. and the College of Law, Dean Carlota simply was asking, at the minimum, to for five (5) more months!

Mind only that they want him out the minute he turns 65.

Mind only that they wanted to make him a lame duck, as soon as possible, and to make him one in public, posting their signatures attached to huge statements—printed at college expense, at that.

After 30 plus years of faithful service, this man is met not in gratitude but with ingratitude.

Paraphrasing the Bard, surely now breaks a noble heart. A few days ago, I witnessed something totally uncharacteristic of Dean Carlota—he expressed, in no uncertain terms and tone, his disgust at his colleages. If there is one thing good that has come out of this,” he said, “it is that I now know the true character of some of my colleagues. All I want is five more months, and they cannot even give me that!

It is strong language coming from him, who is unfailingly civil, consistently cordial, deliberately inclusive, characteristically polite—yet, under the circumstances, I am not surprised; I am surprised only that he did not use stronger language, I would have—but that shows simply that he is a better man than I am.

After 30 plus years of continuous service, his colleagues, many of whom he taught, cannot give this man five more months!

Etched in granite at the lobby of Malcolm Hall, the U.P. College of Law proudly proclaims that we teach law in the grand manner.

I would like to think that I teach law in the grand manner because I teach law students, first, to become good persons. One cannot become a great lawyer unless one is a good person first.

Certainly, modeling ingratitude cannot be part of teaching law in the grand manner. Butif it is, then perhaps it really is time to really tear down that wall with those words etched in granite because then teaching law in the grand manner--in this way--would be one big, cruel farce.


mel said...

I always regretted the fact that I never had the time to even visit Malcolm hall after I graduated almost three years ago, but if this is what is happening with the college today, I'm somewhat glad I never returned.

I have no more words to say except that this really changes (taints?) my view of the professors which you named, almost all of whom were once my professors in law school.

I wish I could say more, but I hope we get to hear their side of the issue first. But I doubt if we ever will.

aman said...

heartwrenching... can't we all just get along?...

wernicke said...

It is interesting that the letter of some of the members of the faculty in response to your blog included Profs Labitag and Sison as signatories, when you did not mention them in your blog. (To those who are not aware, there is a letter circulated in answer to Prof. Te's blog)

I just want to say that I took Criminal Procedure and Evidence under Prof. Te and I learned a lot from him. I would say in my and my block's case, it is utterly untrue that we thought of his class as self-study. Not at all.

Just the same, I do know that Professors Beth, Labitag, Carale, Magllona, Sison were also very diligent teachers; they religiously attended classes and I think, taught as well. Danicon also taught us well but has a few more absences that the others. He was SEC Commissioner at that time.

This is so sad. Why do they always have to quarrel whenever the term of the Dean of the UP College of Law ends? Who is the candidate of this group anyway? Is it Prof. Beth Pangalangan?

I agree. Why do they have to push for the selection process anyway (with a shouting match in front of Chancellor Cao at that) when they could have given Prof. Carlota the courtesy of not asking for his extension. And now that they did, can't they wait for a few months?


val said...

Hi ted. I agree with this paragraph.

"I would like to think that I teach law in the grand manner because I teach law students, first, to become good persons. One cannot become a great lawyer unless one is a good person first."

I truly wish that law professors would think this way considering the influence they impart to students. It's quite scary because they have a part raising future lawyers. As the law of nature puts it, you reproduce your own kind. A mango tree cannot produce oranges.:)