By Joseph B.A. Marzan
The University of San Agustin-College of Law (USA Law) celebrated its Law Night tradition last March 25, returning to the college’s fold after missing in action for the last two years, with glitz and glamour beyond their hallowed halls.
Spearheaded by the all-female Portia Club, the night, themed “Meet me in the afterglow” after the Taylor Swift song, was filled with students dressed in their best fairytale- and royalty-like costumes, leaving the norms of codals, cases, recits, and exams for a few magical hours.
Faculty, staff, and student-assistants also joined in, spectating and judging while students displayed their talents through the Drag LAWrd, Case Music Video, and Pitch Perfect contests.
Three drag queens, representing the 1st to 3rd year levels, strut it out in a splendor of color, music, and movement in the first-ever Drag LAWrd contest.
This was not a new contest for the college, having had cross-dress-themed activities in past Law Night iterations, but definitely a notable step-up, especially for a law school within a Catholic university.
Abo Ganda, portrayed by freshman Michael Joseph Teruel, won the tilt, while the runners-up were Tita Liz Pendencia (Justin Francis Bionat) from the juniors, and Kourtney Sue Prima (Carl Justin Duran) from the sophomores.
USA Law Dean Jose Mari Benjamin Francsico Tirol, cracked a ‘dad joke’ about the activity, saying in his opening remarks, “If we have ‘drag’ lords, we are in a ‘Drag Den’, then that also means I am a ‘drag dean’.”
The Case Music Video competition was joined by all levels, showcasing their talents in singing and songwriting, conceptualized from actual Supreme Court cases usually read in class.
The first years brought home the bacon in this competition, for “The Promise”, based on the legal ethics case of UI vs. Atty. Bonifacio, which dealt with a husband cheating on his wife with an unknowing lawyer. Its poster also won Best Cover Photo.
Runner-up was “The Case of Chi Ming Tsoi” by the second years, named after the case often joked about by law students as it dealt with the titular husband’s penis size as the precursor of the annulment petition filed by his wife.
The stars of this “music video, Jamylle Gaton-Alitao and John Christian Anas, also took home Best Actress and Best Actor for their respective performances.
The song’s lyrics, written by Anas with support from Tiffany Marie Somes and Dhaenalene May Evangelista, with vocals provided by Nikki Angelli Minsalan and Ramon Christian Refugio, also bagged Best Lyrics.
The other music entries included “My Tweetie” by the fourth years, based on the case of the legal ethics case of Guevarra vs. Eala, and “Bet” by the third years, from the case “Wassmer vs. Velez” which dealt with a breach of promise to marry.
Students also belted it out in the Pitch Perfect competition, where the third years won with their mashup of Beyonce and Eraserheads, followed by the second years as first runner-up and the first years as second runner-up.
Individual awards were also given to honor students’ efforts in joining the event, with junior student Yzabel Layson and senior Luis Miguel Tirador awarded as Mr. and Ms. Law Night, freshie Emy Gallego as Headturner, and junior Ara Jane Virginia Jiro as Star of the Night.
Portia Club President Julienne De La Pieza told Daily Guardian that this celebration not only capped International Women’s Month in March, but was also dedicated to students’ efforts these past two years.
“It’s a nice reminder that we all need to take a pause in life as we often get so caught up in our work and studies. All the hard work and sacrifice paid off as the event was definitely one of the highlights of the academic year for the community after being put on hold for two years due to the pandemic,” De La Pieza said.
“Witnessing all the smiles and laughter shared among fellow students as future compañeros and compañeras are all worth it and surely a cherished memory for the those who took part in the event,” she added.
The last Law Night was held during the last week of February in 2020, just a few weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic upended the lives of law students, changing the way they studied and attended classes.
Dean Tirol, who sometimes appears in Daily Guardian’s pages as a columnist, tells us that he and his faculty colleagues had been looking forward to the event as it had been missed in the last two years.
“The Law Night is one of the many opportunities for us in the College of Law–the students, faculty, staff, and alumni—to build and further strengthen our camaraderie, community, and unity,” he said.
“The Law Night is but one of the many events that we have in the College of Law. Some, are extracurricular, like mooting and legal aid. Others, like the Law Night are mainly cultural and social. The study of the law, like the life of a law student, is challenging. Activities like the Law Night allow us rest, recover and recharge, and rebound,” he added.
Daily Guardian is one of the proud sponsors of the 2023 Law Night, along with Prometheus Productions, USA College of Law, USA Bar Operations, Bar Review Organization, Sigma Alpha Lex, 3M Building, Youth Voices Count, 27 &Co., Carnaje-Adorador Dental Clinic, DAYON Coworking Space, Beauty Essentials, Ferra Hotel Boracay, Izella Aesthetics Iloilo, Kofi and Company, B Lifestyle Complex, Shine Korean Beauty Pro Salon-Iloilo, Sushi Box, Office of the Vice Mayor, Mr. Kenjie Jalagpas, White Monkey Co., Rex Bookstore Iloilo, and the Noodle Bar.