Sunday, 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.

1 comment:

jj disini said...

pls see the reply to Ted's post at http://disini.i.ph/blogs/disini/2007/11/27/an-open-letter-to-teddy-te/