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Overview

The Journey to Excellence of the Oldest Filipino Law School in the Philippines

The Manila Law School (MLC) traces its origin to the renowned “Escuela de Derecho de Manila,” which was founded in 1899. It is therefore the country’s first Filipino law school.

On June 12, 1898, the first Philippine Republic was born with the proclamation of Philippine Independence. The New Philippine Republic needed a Constitution in order to define its guiding principles and establish the organs of government. The much-heralded First Philippine Constitution or the “Malolos Constitution”, which was promulgated on January 21, 1899, was principally authored by Don Felipe Gonzales Calderon.

Don Felipe G. Calderon saw the need for the establishment of a law school which could train Filipino lawyers and provide legal services to the people and government of the New Republic. He then founded the “Escuela de Derecho de Manila” on June 28, 1899 — and became the school’s first-ever dean. Since then, the school has trained lawyers who later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, magistrates, government officials, and law practitioners.

In 1930, in keeping with a trend to teach law in the English language in line with the American Occupation of the Philippines, Supreme Court Justice Felix Angelo Bautista converted the “Escuela de Derecho de Manila” to Manila Law College. Justice Bautista became the Dean of the Manila Law College, succeeding the position from founder Don Felipe G. Calderon.

Others who followed Justice Bautista as MLC Dean were: Manuel Camus, Perfecto Laguio, Justice Edgardo L. Paras, Enrique C. Galang, Arnulfo M. Flores, Pablo Meer, Justice Porfirio V. Sison, Amb. Benjamin B. Domingo, Felipe R. Fragante, and Judge Joselito C. Villarosa. The incumbent Dean is Prof. Sergio M. Ceniza.

MLC is now headed by its President, Prof. Rodolfo Valentino F. Bautista. He is the son of former President and Chairman of the Board, Dr. Eduardo J. Bautista, Sr., and the grandson of Supreme Court Associate Justice Felix Angelo Bautista.

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