Supreme Court of the Philippines Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando called on students of Faculty of Arts and Letters to think of some truths in their lives and be guided by truth and justice amid the country’s “broken” justice system, and hoped “to inspire one or two (students) to pursue ideals that will lift the discourse of this country to a higher level that we all deserve,” as he delivered this year’s 51st St. Thomas Moore lecture held recently at the Dr. Robert Sy Grand Ballroom, Blessed Buenaventura G. Paredes, O.P. Building.
Faculty of Arts and Letters Dean Prof. Michael Anthony C. Vasco, Ph.D., in his opening remarks said that “Social, economic and political realities mirror society with searing truthfulness and that turning a blind eye to it destroys the symbiotic relationship between justice and truth… and that we should not also allow bad politics to come our way in making earnest effort to strike a balance between truth and justice.”
Speaking of truth, Hernando pointed out that he knows what is truth when he feels it, but “what you can feel can be very well defined by regulations, by law, by what your church or religion teaches you..” He also mentioned that his conception of truth is based on his upbringing, his schooling. Quoting a philosopher, he added “truth is the ultimate sum of what is, without truth, justice is only a perversion of what it should be. The world without truth does not exist, that the world exists at all is proof that truth is at it is.”
Discussing the theme “The Praxis of Justice and the Transformative Power of Truth,” Hernando, a professor of Civil and Commercial Law, said he can only guess what it is that needs to be transformed, “do we mean the power of truth to change how we act, how we feel about something, how we perceive people, places and events or are we referring to the justice system, or perhaps the pursuit of happiness or the corruption in government?”
Hernando further stressed that “the role of truth should be central in our lives, when it is perverted, it spurs a change in attitude, action and our hearts and a change in perspective, it literally transforms us.” In an inspiring note, Hernando concluded that “the humility to acknowledge the truth should lead to a good and just result. That to me is better than transformation, it being faithful to the truth.”
An alumnus of the Faculty of Arts and Letters, Hernando graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Arts in Literature in 1986 and Bachelor of Laws in San Beda College of Law in 1990. He joined the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines as its 180th member on October 10, 2018 and is expected to serve the High Court for the next 18 years.
The St. Thomas More Lecture is the most prestigious lecture-forum at the Faculty of Arts and Letters. Its distinguished roster of speakers include, among others, Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, the late former senator Edgardo Angara, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, former Finance Secretary Jesus Estanislao, National Artists Bienvenido Lumbera and F. Sionil Jose, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide and veteran journalism and communication educator Crispin Maslog.