AMBASSADOR Enrique Syquia, a renowned international lawyer, diplomat, and law professor, died of cardiac arrest at age 74 on Feb.1 at the UST Hospital.
An honorary consul of Malta to the Philippines since 1996, Syquia was a consistent honor student of the University, where he studied from high school until he obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1953. He passed the bar examinations that same year.

“He was everybody’s friend,” Philippine Star columnist Babe Romualdez wrote in his Feb. 6 column. “He was a gentleman of the highest order, and I have never met anyone who had anything negative to say about him.”

In 1954, Syquia co-founded the Syquia Law Offices in Makati before he went to Spain in a year later to earn his law doctorate (summa cum laude) at the University of Madrid. A year after, he received a Certificate in International Law from the Hague Academy of International Law.

“Ambassador Syquia was very helpful and understanding,” Lovina Areglo, Syquia’s secretary for 35 years, told the Varsitarian. “He reached out to his poor employees and understood their needs.”

Aside from writing several books, treatises, and articles, Syquia’s law office publishes The Lawyer’s Review, which has been in circulation for the past 18 years. He was often tapped by the Philippine Publishers Institute to give lectures on the law and the media.

Born on May 22, 1930, the late ambassador was married to Leticia Corpuz, with whom he had five sons: Jose Fernando, a former Varsitarian staffer and now orthopedic surgeon, the first to graduate summa cum laude from the then UST Institute of Physical Therapy; Jose Francisco, a priest who studied in Rome; Jose Martin, a director of a government office; and lawyers Jose Tomas and Jose Luis.

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According to his son Jose Tomas, the elder Syquia was “intellectually gifted,” dedicated to his work, and a good planner.

“My father had a lot of wonderful traits,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “And the best way of honoring him is by living through his examples.”

Syquia’s cremated remains have been interred in a crypt at the Santuario de San Antonio.

Frs. Rebollo, O.P. and Garcia, O.P.

Two former UST administrators also died earlier this school year.

Fr. Maximiliano Rebollo, O.P., former Secretary of the Ecclesiastical Faculties, died last Feb. 3 at age 71. He became the first regent of the UST High School in 1975 and also regent of the College of Education, Education High School, and Elementary School from 1980 to 1985.

A holder of a doctorate in philosophy from the Aquinas Institute of Philosophy in Illinois, U.S.A., Fr. Rebollo was a professor in the Ecclesiastical Faculties and a spiritual director of the Central Seminary.

“He was a very affable and cordial priest, and was a favorite spiritual adviser even of students and professors,” UST archivist Fr. Fidel Villarroel, O.P. told the Varsitarian.

Meanwhile, Fr. Excelso Garcia, O.P., the UST Vice-Rector from 1969 to 1970, passed away last Nov. 19 at age 91.

A doctor of canon law, Fr. Garcia was dean of the Faculty of Canon Law from 1970 to 1980 and a publisher of many books, articles, and journals on ecclesiastical laws. He also served as Vice-Rector of Academic Affairs (1970-1979), director of the UST Publishing Office (1973-1987), and chaplain of the UST Hospital.

“Fr. Garcia stayed in the Philippines for decades and was an expert in Filipino language as a technical Tagalog conservationist and writer,” Fr. Villarroel said. With reports from www.philstar.com, www.inq7.net, www.malaya.com.ph, and www.mb.com.ph

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