The Night We Painted the Town Purple
When the Purplehood Committee for 2023 was formed, we had one goal in mind: make the event memorable for the graduating class of Mindanao State University – College of Law, General Santos Extension: the batch In Omnia Paratus.
Sep 12, 20237 min read
The Night We Painted the Town Purple

Graphics by Manuel Ordonio IV

Editor’s note: This article is supposed to be among those published in the Volume II of the Official Publication of The Advocati, Aeternus. Due to the exigency of inspiring the bar takers of the #HernandoIt September 2023 Bar Examinations, The Advocati humbly publishes this piece for our brave warriors and future officers of the court in our online platform.

When the Purplehood Committee for 2023 was formed, we had one goal in mind: make the event memorable for the graduating class of Mindanao State University – College of Law, General Santos Extension: the batch In Omnia Paratus.

We wasted no time and thence proceeded to business. We proposed and listed names of those who can render an inspirational message to the graduating batch of 2023. We were hopeful as our Purplehood Chairperson, Rebecca Escobar, proposed that perhaps, no other person can better inspire the graduates than the 2023 Bar Chairperson himself. But it was as if we were shooting for the stars; there was no way the office of Assoc. Justice Ramon Paul Hernando would cater us. We still sent a letter nonetheless. A video message already sufficed in our minds.

It turns out if you shoot for the stars, there is a chance you would actually land on the moon.

And the rest, they say, is history.

In Omnia Paratus

The phrase: In Omnia Paratus is a Latin term which translates to saying one is “prepared for all things.” For four to five years of grueling experience in law school, the batch has indeed anointed no better phrase to describe themselves than that which declares they are ready for that coveted dot.

Michelle Lumayag, the Vice President for the College of Law Student’s Association AY 2022—2023 has this to say about the rigors of law school:

“After having a nervous breakdown in first year, I thought I could not make it to another year. I kept on saying: “Tatapusin ko lang ang sem na ito!" (“I will just finish this semester.”) In every semester that I've enrolled into, I suffered a lot. I could not stand my professor's challenging remarks. Going this far, I realized that I built mechanisms to survive. And those mechanisms included planning my study time with my family time. I read a lot because I could not catch the principles in one reading. I studied hard not to fail. I've had sleepless nights especially before exams. Those sleepless nights made me a fighter! Law school made a fighter; a fighter ready for the battle!”

On her views why the batch named itself In Omnia Paratus and on whether she thinks she is prepared for all things, Michelle added:

“Face to face was the mode of our class when we entered law school. In the second semester of our second year, mode of class switched online because of COVID19. Pandemic struck the country. With this, we feared for our lives as we kept our sanity in check while studying law. Adjustments were made by the batch. Insurmountable and unpredictable challenges were experienced. Unstable connections and health issues were some of those. But, we moved as a batch. We reached out to and helped each other. We surpassed all of the trials. With that, we can say that there is no battle that we cannot win. We are prepared. We are batch In Omnia Paratus. We are prepared for all things!”

To reward their hardships, and as if orchestrated by the elements of fate, the heavens and the universe conspired by giving them none other than one of the main deciders of their fate: Supreme Court Assoc. Justice Ramon Paul Hernando himself.

It only took two days for the office of the bar chair to respond to the committee’s request. As Rebecca recalled, she could not contain her tears upon reading the confirmation of attendance of Assoc. Justice Hernando. What more: no less than the Supreme Court of the Philippines decided it is an official business, and so the plane tickets and accommodation of the good Justice and the rest of the Supreme Court delegates were shouldered by the judiciary. No strings were pulled; no backer needed for the associate justice to say yes to a small state university’s request to honor its graduates with his presence.

“It was a duty we obliged ourselves for our seniors,” Rebecca mused. “I was just happy that it was successful and that we got to inspire the graduating batch with the presence of Justice Hernando who is the bar chair of the bar examinations that they will take.”

The Purplehood

The imposition of sanggulay used to be an intimate event attended only by the graduates, their loved ones, and their professors, in rather modest settings in the past.

For this year, the Purplehood was celebrated in a grander fashion, with the theme meticulously decided by the batch and supervised by the committee from the sponsoring junior batch, Excelsior. With the presence of the Bar Chairperson for 2023, Justice Ramon Paul L. Hernando, it elevated to an event that sealed what the graduating students aimed for, the moment they entered law school: become noble members of the legal profession.

In his speech to the graduates, Justice Hernando began by acknowledging that the graduates are about to embark on a journey of a lifetime; the same journey that he undertook many seasons ago and continues to this day, from being law graduates to becoming members of the exalted Philippine bar.  

The noble Associate Justice reiterated the three reminders he previously imparted with the newly minted lawyers of the Caguiwow Bar examinations held on November 2022: First, being a lawyer is not a job; second: for the graduates to keep their feet on the ground; and third: excellence will come in due time.

The Supreme Court Magistrate emphasized that the yardstick of a lawyer’s success, and its true golden laurels, rest in the lives, in the livelihoods secured, the rights that that a lawyer shall have protected, the injustices he shall have been able to rectify, and the justice he shall have been able to serve.  He encouraged the graduates to stick to their ideals, and pursue them bravely even if they are alone in doing so. Like a true champion, he advised the graduates to be compassionate, even if it may seem impractical, unprofitable, and unsafe. One’s convenience, he said, must never compromise the dispensation of justice. Lastly, Justice Hernando intimated that the guiding beacon the graduating students should abide by, is condensed in this question: “What would a decent person do?” He persuaded the graduating students to hold themselves in accordance with the rules of basic human decency, and not to drop the lawyer’s card to abuse the power and influence that now rest upon their shoulders, but use these instead for the good of the community.

Justice Hernando not only imparted words of wisdom but indeed inspired not only the celebrated students who have successfully hurdled the rigors of law school, but also those who were already members of the Bar and those yet to follow the footsteps of their brave and persevering seniors, the batch In Omnia Paratus.

The ceremony was finally capped with the imposition of the long-awaited sanggulay. As one of the emblems signaling the graduates have successfully completed and hurdled their law education, the graduates happily posed with grace and fulfillment, ready for an even greater battle that would decide their fate.

Prepared for All Things

Martsu Ressan M. Ladia, one of the graduating students of 2023, and also the Public Information Officer of the College of Law Student’s Association AY 2022—2023, propounded:

“For me, and perhaps on behalf of my fellow batchmates, the Purplehood 2023 is an inspiration of itself which memorializes many feelings such as hope, happiness, positivity, among others. The night is like an archaic and miraculous sonnet. The preciseness of every detail which deleted the whole concept of error and miscalculation, the harmony of time and place like heaven and earth conspiring to make history together, and the presence of everyone which completed the entire event, for all this, I couldn’t thank the magnificent organizers enough.

“For the seniors, the Purplehood is always something to look forward to. It is the conferment of the Sanggulay, the symbol of the law students’ culmination for their long journey in law school. Also, the event serves as the traditional send-off program for those who will take the Bar Exams in the same year as well. And finally, the Purplehood is a moment of bequeathal of lessons and words of wisdom from the outgoing seniors towards the succeeding batch. The Purplehood commemorates many relationships: teacher-student, senior-junior, and even self-relationship.

“But this year, as we celebrate all the vibrant ideals of the Purplehood, a realization donned on me. That aside from all those reasons we celebrate the Purplehood for, there is but one thing more to say. In that evening, a newly existed relationship emerged between our present and our future. That night, the strong feeling of being called for the legal profession was irresistible, and the mandate to pass the Bar became willingly self-imposed. Our strength was renewed, once more we regained our courage, and from our rock-bottom, we recovered ourselves. With the smiles on our faces that evening, we celebrated our beliefs that we shall become lawyers in His perfect time, and we celebrated our respective relationships with our dreams.

“Now, finally, the significance of the Purplehood became clear to me, and for sure, it became clearer to all of us because of Justice Hernando’s presence. The magistrate himself is like an elder in the family who, whenever he makes his appearance, children would circle around him for a piece of chocolate or for a free ice cream or simply a fatherly advice or two. Humble, compassionate, and very thoughtful he is indeed. And for us all who are already studying for the Bar, we are full of motivations and prayers to bring out our best to make our chairman proud.

Once again, all this I submit on behalf of the CLSA and as part of the graduating batch In Omnia Paratus, thank you very much for everything.”

For the batch that is prepared for all things, may you reign victorious in this ultimate fight. Your friends and family, the whole MSU Law community, and the heavens are cheering you on to slay the dragon and finally become members of the Philippine Bar. Mabuhay, Batch In Omnia Paratus! Mabuhay, Pamantasang Mindanao!

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