WHO WE ARE
The Philippines’ First Law School
Founded by a Filipino | Originally the Escuela de Derecho de Manila
under Dr. Felipe Calderon (1899)
Reinvigorated as the Manila Law College
under Supreme Court Justice Felix Angelo Bautista
The Journey to Excellence of the
Oldest Filipino Law School in the Philippines
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 by President Emilio Aguinaldo in Kawit, Cavite. The New Philippine Republic needed a Constitution in order to define its guiding principles and establish the organs of government. President Emilio Aguinaldo chose a delegate, Don Felipe G. Calderon, to draft the Philippine Constitution. He then became the principal author of the much-heralded First Philippine Constitution or the “Malolos Constitution”, which was promulgated on January 21, 1899.
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 MLC Dean is Prof. Sergio M. Ceniza. Dean Ceniza is a long-time member of the academy who taught in various law schools and bar review centers. He specializes in Commercial Law. He is a regular MCLE lecturer and a known bar reviewer.
MLC is now headed by its President Mr. 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.
Manila Law College (MLC) aims to be the country’s leading private and non-sectarian law institution in the formation and development of career Filipino lawyers who are committed to the highest intellectual, moral and socio-cultural standards.
The law institution commits itself:
- To provide effective legal education by engaging the services of competent, dedicated and honorable members of the Bar and the Bench;
- To produce lawyers who are imbued with high intellect and solid divine purpose, and who are steadfastly ready to defend the constitutional and statutory rights of every citizen;
- To expose its students to the influence of great men and women whose preparation and training, intellectual capacity, and moral values are exemplary; and
- To encourage the participation of its faculty and students in civic and social programs and community projects for the amelioration of the plight of the less privileged.
The general law program hopes to provide the students with high legal education at the least possible cost, and to prepare them for a law practice that is geared towards public service and social justice. Towards this end, the law program is designed:
- To provide quality legal education in order to produce not only good lawyers, but model/career Filipino lawyers as well;
- To develop and prepare the youths of strong character and intellect to become leaders in various fields of our society; and
- To inculcate in its students love of country, public service, and social justice by faithfully obeying the Constitution and the statutes and by putting high premium on the inalienable rights of the people.