BUCL receives Government Recognition; authority to operate JD program, granted

Monday August 1,2022

Having successfully complied with the tedious documentary requirements and submitting to a rigorous evaluation process, the Bicol University College of Law (BUCL) was finally awarded a Certificate of Government Recognition by the Legal Education Board (LEB).

The awarding of the Certificate of Government Recognition was held on July 20, 2022, at the Legal Education Board, Quezon City. The awarding ceremony was graced by no less than LEB Chairperson Anna Marie Melanie B. Trinidad, who handed the Certificate of Recognition to BU President Arnulfo M. Mascariñas. Also present in the said ceremony was Atty. Alex B. Nepomuceno, Atty. Ledilla Lilibeth H. Llagas and Atty. Norly P. Reyes, all faculty members of the BUCL who also constituted the committee that was tasked by President Mascariñas to study and propose the establishment of the now fully recognized BUCL.

A Certificate of Government Recognition, pursuant to Article II, Section 31.2 of LEB Memorandum Order No. 1, Series of 2011 “constitutes full mandatory accreditation which allows the law school to graduate its students, to confer upon them their degrees and titles and to endorse them to the Office of the Bar Confidant for the Bar Examinations.” Prior to the awarding of government recognition, a law school has to undergo first a permit stage wherein a yearly permit has to be secured from the LEB before each academic year to enable the law school to operate in the succeeding academic year.

In retrospect, the establishment of the BUCL was a fruition of the combined efforts, talents, and dedication of many individuals and the support of various partner agencies and institutions of BU. Before its formal establishment in August 2019, President Mascariñas created a committee in 2018 to study the feasibility of offering a law degree at BU. The committee was chaired by Atty. Alex B. Nepomuceno with Atty. Ledilla Lilibeth H Llagas and Atty Norly P. Reyes, as members, with Ms. Ma. Myra C. Austero, as the committee secretary. With full authority from President Mascariñas, the committee undertook benchmarking activities in various top-performing law schools around the country, prepared the feasibility studies, and conducted consultation meetings with various stakeholders.

Subsequently, the committee presented its well-crafted proposal to the University’s Executive Committee, the University Academic Council and the University Administrative Council, which overwhelmingly endorsed the proposal for the establishment of the BUCL to the BU Board of Regents for approval. Thus, on August 16, 2018, during its Special Board Meeting, the BU Board of Regents passed Resolution No. 351, Series of 2018, approving the establishment of the BUCL and the offering of the Juris Doctor (J.D.) program.

After the passage of BOR Resolution No. 351, series of 2018, President Mascariñas started searching and shortlisting individuals who could possibly be willing to take the challenging role of leading and organizing the then newest college of Bicol University. Eventually, Pres. Mascariñas made his best choice of appointing Atty. Hardy B. Aquende as the Dean of the BUCL.

Dean Aquende immediately formed his core team to help him operationalize the establishment of BUCL with Atty. Norly P. Reyes as his Associate Dean; Atty. Ledilla Lilibeth H. Llagas as in-charge of the faculty; and, Ms. Imelda S. Peralta as the College Librarian. Aside from accepting the deanship, Atty. Aquende also donated more than a million worth of law books.

To further ensure that the BUCL will have all the needed law books, Attys. Nepomuceno, Llagas and Reyes, as well as other lawyers of BU such as Atty. Joseph L. Bartolata also donated law books of recent editions as required by LEB. These book donations coupled with Ms. Imelda Peralta’s expertise as a librarian paved the way for the BUCL’s compliance in terms of library holdings and library facilities.

To ensure the competence of faculty members, who will be guiding the first batch of students of BUCL, Atty. Llagas also had to connect to her former students who are now lawyers and to her colleagues in the legal profession who are already recognized as experts in their respective fields and convinced as well as invited them to teach the pioneer batch of BUCL. Dean Aquende also brought some legal luminaries from Manila to BUCL as part of the core faculty of the college. To complete the requirements for the first-year level permit, Atty. Reyes, with the assistance of his skilled staff-Ms. Cielo Ll. Jaylo, Ms. Alita C. Lozana, and Ms. Ma. Myra Austero, painstakingly prepared the voluminous documentary requirements for LEB submission. Dean Aquende and his team’s hard work paid off when the LEB issued the BUCL’s first-year level permit in June 2019.

With the first-year level permit having been issued, the BUCL finally announced the opening of the submission for application for its first batch of students in July 2019. With close to 150 applicants, only 42 of them successfully passed the strict requirements for admission and subsequently enrolled. Thereafter, BUCL had to prepare the needed requirements for the subsequent permits. To ensure that subsequent government permits will be issued, Atty. Llagas consistently prepared all the needed faculty requirements and compliments while Associate Dean Reyes competently prepared all the administrative, financial and other documentary requirements from 2019 to the present. Thus, LEB issued BUCL’s Government Permit Levels I, II and III thereby authorizing BUCL to enrol its first, second, and third-year law students.

At present, BUCL has a total of 72 students from 1st to 3rd year level. The issuance by LEB of the full recognition to the BUCL operation by way of the Certificate of Government Recognition is truly a milestone in the budding history of the College of Law.