The Law of the Sea

Arturo M. Tolentino: I wish people will remember me for The Law of the Sea

Public Speaking

My father’s greatest love next to his country and family is public speaking. Without doubt he was born with this skill of verbal surgery; the ability to dissect and destroy and opponent’s beliefs with facts, logic and well chosen words.

Public Speaking

During his university days, he won all of the contest put out by the University of the Philippines for essay, poetry, and short story writing, oratory, etc. to the extend that he was barred from competing in any further contests at U.P. The basis of this “disqualification” was that the authorities wanted to give the opportunities of winning to other students.

 

But then they introduced a new contest which was called ‘The compilation of the Teachings of our National Hero’. As this was the first time the contest had been held, my father was allowed to compete……and won!

public speaking

While he was at U.P. my father had taken an optional subject – Public Speaking, as he thought this would be of great value to him when he set up practice. His professor was Carlos P. Romulo, who was also publisher of a local newspaper. Then, just before my father graduated Romulo asked him if he would like to become his assistant in the newspaper office. He accepted, after all he was a married man with a family to support.

It was not an easy decision to make. True he had already graduated as Valedictorian from U.P. but his bar final examination were very close and extra work means giving up valuable study time. As it was his nature he put his family first. Nevertheless, Dean Brabo of U.P. law college pleaded with my father to take up review classes for the bar examination, but his work with Romulo left him very little time. Instead he rented a room one block from the newspaper office and lived there, reviewing by himself.

public speaking

Brabo told my father that he wanted my father to study hard in order to get first place in the bar examination, “for the honor of the college”. My father replied, “I have several classmates who can take care of the honor of the college but I am the only one who can take care of my family”. When the bar examination came out, my father took second place with difference of only .05% . Ironically, the topnotcher died before he could practice law that my father points out by saying, he was popularly considered the topnotcher by succession.