The members of the 2015 Ateneo Jessup Team, together with Ambassador Manuel Teehankee. Photo courtesy of the Teehankee Center for the Rule of Law.

PH Jessup rounds: Ateneo sweeps elims; USC pulls finals upset

It came as a surprise to everyone.

For the first time ever in the competition’s history, neither the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law  nor the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law will represent the country in the international rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.

On Saturday, March 7, 2015, the University of San Carlos (USC) School of Law and the Far Eastern University (FEU) Institute of Law pulled off upset victories over title favorites, Ateneo and UP, respectively, in the semi-final matches of the Philippine National Rounds. USC and FEU then squared off in the championship match, with USC eventually being hailed as this year’s Philippine champion.

The Philippine qualifying rounds for the Jessup Cup was held for the second straight year at the University of Santo Tomas from March 5-7, 2015. It was organized by the Philippine Association of Law Schools (PALS) in cooperation with Divina Law. Ten Philippine law schools participated in this year’s national rounds: Ateneo, FEU, Lyceum of the Philippine University, Saint Louis University, San Beda College, Siliman University, USC, University of San Jose – Recoletos, University of Saint La Salle, and UP.

The 2015 Ateneo Jessup Team is comprised of Eduardo Danilo Macabulos (4A), Charlemagne Rae Chavez (4A), Nonalyn Superable (4C), Steffi Sales (3A), Cecille Danica Gotamco (3C), Liane Candelario (2B), and Teresa Kristel Banta (1F). The team was coached by Atty. Roland Glenn Tuazon (J.D., 2011) and Atty. Philip Gerard Dabao (J.D., 2013).

Ateneo sweeps elimination rounds

The 10 teams battled it out in four sets of preliminary matches. Ateneo eventually finished as the top seed among the teams. It faced fourth-ranked USC in the semi-finals, who would go on to become champions. The match was judged by Atty. Rose Beatrix Cruz-Angeles, Atty. Jim Lopez, and Atty. Patrick Perillo. Second seed FEU faced third placer UP in the semi-finals, which was judged by Atty. Aris Gulapa, Atty. Prabhakar Singh, and Atty. Joan de Venecia.

Ateneo swept the top awards for the elimination matches. Gotamco was hailed as the Best Speaker of the preliminary rounds. She won a trophy and a cash prize of PhP 5,000.00. Sales was proclaimed 2nd Best Speaker, while Macabulos emerged as the 5th Best Speaker. A team member can only win an oralist award if he/she argues twice during the elimination rounds. Macabulos represented Ateneo’s Applicant Side, with Superable and Candelario alternating for second speaker. Gotamco and Sales argued for Respondent.

The Team also won Best Memorial. As such, Ateneo’s memorial is in the running for the Harry C. Dillard Award. The Dillard Award brings together the winning memorials of each National and Regional competition, regardless of whether the authoring team advanced to the International Rounds, as well as the Top 25 memorials in the International Rounds.

USC and FEU argued in the championship match before some of the country’s distinguished names in international law. The bench was presided by Retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Florentino P. Feliciano, a renowned international law practitioner. Other judges include Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio; Dean Raul C. Pangalangan, former Dean of the UP College of Law and current publisher of the Philippine Daily Inquirer; and Ambassador Manuel A.J. Teehankee, former Philippine Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization and current ALS faculty member.

FEU Institute of Law Dean Melencio C. Sta. Maria was also supposed to judge the final rounds. However, he recused himself from sitting as a judge upon finding out that FEU had advanced to the finals.

Most prestigious moot court

USC will represent the country in the Jessup International Rounds to be held in Washington, D.C. this coming April. FEU will also fly out to the US, as part of the exhibition rounds, a non-competing section of the competition introduced in 2010.

The Jessup Cup is the biggest and most prestigious moot court competition in the world, with over 700 participating law schools across 90 different countries. Organized by the International Law Students Association, in cooperation with White & Case, one of the United States’ biggest law firms, Jessup is a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations.

2015 marks the 56th year of the competition. This year’s Jessup Compromis is dubbed as “The Case Concerning East Agnostica.” It involves question of treaty interpretation and applicability in the face of changed circumstances; the propriety of counter-measures; and procedural and substantive issues raised by the secession of a province from one country and its annexation by another.

Ateneo and UP have been the traditional Philippine teams to advance to the International Rounds. The Philippines has two Jessup world championship titles under its belt: 1995 (UP) and 2004 (Ateneo).

Last year, Ateneo represented the Philippines in Washingtonhaving reached the Top 32 (Advanced Rounds). The Team also won 3rd Place for the Alona Evans Award for Best Combined Memorials. P


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