Ateneo de Davao beats St. Louis at ‘Square Off’ semis


Posted at Oct 04 2008 03:02 PM | Updated as of Oct 05 2008 10:15 AM

The Ateneo de Davao University Debate Team

The Ateneo de Davao University on Wednesday advanced in its quest to become the country’s best debate team as it overwhelmed St. Louis University in the semi-finals of ABS-CBN News Channel’s debate program “Square Off: the CVC Law Debates”.

Hosted by Twink Macaraig, “Square Off: The CVC Law Debates” features law school teams, with legal luminaries and incumbent trial court judges as adjudicators.

The episode’s topic covered the classic life and death issue of the legalization of euthanasia in the Philippines with St. Louis University arguing for legalization and Ateneo de Davao University taking the opposite side.

St. Louis University’s first speaker Analyn Avila defined euthanasia as “the intentional act of causing the death of a severely ill and dependent human person for his or her alleged benefit.” 

“To provide the proposal for euthanasia is probably the most challenging task for law students. Nonetheless we will take the challenge in the hope that the matter will be squarely given consideration,” Avila said.

Kris Dyan Cayabyab of St. Louis argued that legalizing euthanasia would remove the potential financial burden taken on by families whose relatives are clinically dead but remain hooked up to machines.

“Our reverence for life should not be dependent on this sort of martyrdom that we continually make it difficult for everyone to prolong everything. We lift financial constraints because even the patient would not want to further compromise other family concerns just so a life can be prolonged by science far beyond meaning or sensibility and when it is really impossible to maintain a

Square Off: The CVC Law Debates
rather costly concern such as this,” Cayabyab said.

The winning team from Ateneo de Davao, however, used arguments such as the right to life, possibility of abuse and premature death.

“It [euthanasia] would undermine the physician-patient relationship as it will create fear and distrust as doctors will no longer be seen as healers but also as killers,” said Hanniyah Sevilla of Ateneo de Davao University.

“Do you agree that suicide is not punished in the status quo? Of course I also assume that you know that giving assistance to suicide is punishable because you’re performing an overt act leading to the death of an individual. Isn’t it that pulling the plug is an overt act? Because you are actually using your own hands,” added Christine Ferrer of Ateneo de Davao University.

Adjudicator Atty. Rodel Cruz, Senior Partner of CVC Law, recognized the brilliant exchange between the two universities.

“I think all the debaters tonight deserve our warmest congratulations. They all deserve to be in the final four,” he said.

Adjudicator and former Senate President Frank Drilon was deeply impressed by the debate, saying that the semi-finalists have great potential as the country’s legislators in the future.

“The debates were very substantial. I was in government for 21 years and if you were congressmen, senators, or cabinet members, maybe we would have better legislation and better policie

First speakers Analyn Avila and Hanniyah Sevilla
s coming out of this administration,” he said.

Ateneo de Davao’s Hanniyah Sevilla, first of the three speakers on the negative side, was hailed as best speaker by the adjudicators. Christine Ferrer, also from Ateneo, got the texter’s choice award.

The Ateneo de Davao University is now set to compete in the finals against Arellano University next Wednesday.

Watch “Square Off: The CVC Law Debates’’ at ANC every Wednesday from 8-9 p.m.