05 November 2013, 11:08 p.m.Gregorio Narvasa II, son of the late former chief justice Andres Narvasa, pronounces his family's reconciliation with UST in a eulogy for his deceased father. Photo by John Paul R. Autor“ALL IS forgiven.”

Thus said Gregorio Narvasa II in a eulogy for his deceased father, former chief justice Andres Narvasa, at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church this afternoon, putting an end to a cold relationship with UST that lasted for more than a decade.

“Today is a time for forgiveness, and as for my family, a closure,” Gregorio said before Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. and University officials, faculty, and students.

UST dropped the Fortun Narvasa law office in late 2000 after the University supported the middle class-led movement that called for the resignation of President Joseph Estrada over an illegal gambling controversy.

Narvasa, who returned to legal practice after retiring from the Supreme Court in 1998, was a defense counsel during Estrada’s aborted Senate impeachment trial that led to the latter’s ouster in the “Edsa Dos” uprising in January 2001. Narvasa administered the presidential oath of office to Estrada, his close friend.

Gregorio recalled that UST had joined the “bandwagon of public persecution” and had come out with a full-page advertisement in support of the impeachment bid.

Still, the Thomasian magistrate did not really care about the University’s political stance, Gregorio said. It was Narvasa’s wife, Janina, who was hurt because of the “betrayal,” he said. “She was heartbroken for her husband and carried it to her deathbed,” Gregorio added.

It was only in 2006, the year Janina died, when Narvasa started reconnecting with his alma mater and accepting invitations from the Faculty of Civil Law, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1951.

In a chance interview with the Varsitarian, Andres Narvasa, Jr. said his father loved UST above any other institution.

Fr. Isidro Abaño, O.P., regent of the Faculty of Civil Law, said “healing takes time,” but the speech given by Gregorio was “one big step” toward it. “I’m happy he brought that out and he had the courage to bring it out. I can sense that courage was an influence from his father,” Abaño said in an interview.

Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina said there was never a moment the University “did not hold high esteem for Chief Justice Narvasa.”

“In history, he is one of the shining stars of UST,” Divina said.

In the funeral Mass that followed the necrological service, Dagohoy thanked the Narvasa family for bringing the late chief justice’s ashes to the University. “We thank you for bringing back a son of Santo Tomas,” the Rector said.

Andres Narvasa was vice rector for student affairs of the University from 1969 to 1972 and dean of the Faculty of Civil Law from 1967 to 1973.

He served as general counsel of the Agrava Fact-Finding Commission, the body that probed the 1983 assassination of Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. In 1986, he was appointed by President Corazon Aquino as the 112th associate justice of the high tribunal. He became the 19th chief justice of the Philippines in 1991.

The urn containing Narvasa’s ashes will stay at the family residence for two days, and on Friday, it will be placed beside that of his late wife at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Shrine in New Manila, Quezon City. J. C. R. Obice


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