Arellano University swept aside Ateneo de Davao University to take the crown in the finals of the CVC Law Debates on ANC's Square Off.
Opposing the proposition that term limits of elective officials should be lifted, Arellano countered the two main arguments of ADDU - that term limits curtail the citizen's freedom of choice and that they encourage family dynasties - with an unothodox premise and plenty of chutzpah.
Some analysts failed to grasp how Arellano could claim - complete with medical descriptions of stress-related ailments - that the framers of the Constitution had meant term limits to serve as state-imposed "sabbaticals" for potiticans to get needed rest and rejuvenation before running again. But maybe because ADDU - unable to move beyond its memorized speeches - didn't effectively refute Arellano. Maybe it was because Arellano appeared so much more poised and confident than ADDU. Or maybe the judges felt refreshed by the sheer audacity of Arellano's position. At any rate, the judge gave the win to Arellano, unanimously.
And while many scratched their heads for awhile, all eventually conceded to the unassailability of the decision, coming no less from the biggest of CVC Law's bigwigs, Raoul R. Angangco, Simeon V. Marcelo, and Avelino J. Cruz, Jr.
Head Judge, former defense secretary Avelino "Nonong" Cruz, Jr. prefaced his announcement with congratulations to both teams.
"There is ample evidence here that there will be enough defenders of the rule of law in the future and that bodes very well for the future of this country where we need a lot of defenders of the rule of law because of the many transgressions that are going on."
Then he announced that Arellano's Luis Warren, who was already the Texters' Choice for Best Speaker, was also the Judges' Choice for that honor, winning an LG Viewty cameraphone, a trophy and a 3-day trip for 2 to Boracay.
And then Arellano was declared the Winner and Champion, taking home Acer laptops and the CD-ROM Lex Libris Law Library Series.
As the raucous Arellano contingent formed a victory parade towards the alma mater - their good luck Mama Mary statue hoisted high - and while Square Off producers' phones buzzed non-stop with text complaints in Cebuano, Marcelo, Angangco and Cruz repaired, unperturbed, to the steakhouse next door.
Cruz is prodded about why, given that the scores for Best Speaker were tied between Warren and ADDU's Therese Gemelo, he didn't choose to make the charitable gesture when he knew that Arellano had won the Grand Prize anyway. "I suppose that would have been the Solomonic decision. But I made what I believed was the right decision".
Marcelo reveals that even though the judging in the Finals seemed to favor Arellano so decidedly, it is an ADDU debater that has caught CVC's recruiting eye. Angangco muses that the earlier eliminations of top-ranked Ateneo de Manila and U.P sent the heartening meassage that every (under)dog has his day.
Cruz waxed prophetic; " The response to the CVC Law Debates has been so strong that I'm sure students everywhere are inspired. The quality of public discourse will get better and better. This is good for the country, I tell you."
Pancho Villaraza, the law firm's senior partner who wasn't on the show, sent a telepathic note: Thse debates are worth doing again. We will do this again.