Dr. Aboitiz on ‘Cultures of Empire, Nation, and Universe in the Thought of Jose P. Laurel

Marking the beginning of celebration for the 70th Foundation Day of the Lyceum of the Philippines University with the theme “LPU@70: Fulfilling Dreams and Transforming Lives” and the 131st Birth Anniversary of Dr. Jose P. Laurel, LPU Manila with its stakeholders, faculty, and students took part in the Founder’s Lecture entitled “Cultures of Empire, Nation, and Universe in the Thought of Jose P. Laurel” via Zoom live this 3rd of February.

The Chair for the Department of Legal Management and Social Sciences of LPU Manila, Mr. Christian Jimenez, served as the master of the ceremony, welcomed the viewers to commence the event. He acknowledged the members of the administration of the LPU family, followed by the invocation led by Ms. Lolita D. Ocampo, a faculty member of the Department of Legal Management and Social Sciences of LPU Manila, and the singing of the Philippine National Anthem.

Afterward, the Vice President for Non-academic Operations and the Chair for the LPU Manila’s 70th Founding Anniversary, Mr. Paolo S. Laurel, took the virtual stage for the opening remarks. He remarked, “Today’s lecture is a welcome narrative that will fall apart of the Laurel legacy that will continue to unfold and demonstrate the constancy and timeliness and relevance of Dr. Laurel and his beloved Lyceum of the Philippines University.”

To finally proceed to the lecture, Amb. Marie Aniceta Aileen H. Bugarin, the Vice Dean, College of International Relations of LPU Manila, introduced the guest speaker—Dr. Nicole CuUnjieng Aboitiz. She is a Research Fellow at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, and the Executive Director at the Toynbee Prize Foundation.

Dr. Aboitiz began the lecture by defining the talk as the analysis of Laurel’s philosophical negotiation with the Empire and reconstructing his embedded positions on the orient, nation and race, universalism and civilization, imperialism, and Pan-Asianism. She explained that it identifies the intellectual continuities and coherence in Laurel’s thought across time to weigh his contributions to Filipino political thought and intellectual history.

Subsequently, the speaker talked about Pan-Asianism and Laurel’s Nationalism. She then elucidated Dr. Laurel’s thinking on the east as “…deeply intertwined with his thinking on race.,” as she emphasized, “Indeed Laurel’s personal history positioned him between and the long side of three main Imperial powers that had occupied the Philippines, making Empire a central presence in both his thought and life.”

The speaker continued to discuss Dr. Laurel’s longer historical narrative of Filipino resistance. As she expounded his memoirs from personal histories to contributions in the country as a President of the second Republic of the Philippines. She also mentioned that Dr. Laurel as a president, accorded his total reform as comprehensive, far-reaching, as it implies “…a complete renovation of the individual and collective life of Filipinos…”

Then, she added that for Dr. Laurel, the Philippine revolution became a revelation as the nation started longing for its own identity.

As the discussion nears its end, Dr. Aboitiz summarized her whole presentation. Soon after, the panelists were introduced by Dr. Abegail F. Carlos, Associate Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The first panelist is Prof. Michael Charles Chua –a lecturer at De La Salle University-Manila and University of the Philippines – Diliman. The second panelist is Dr. Ricardo Chato Jose. He specializes in militarian diplomatic history focused on the Japanese occupation in the Philippines. Meanwhile, Mr. Randolph V. Sacdalan, Dean of College of Business Administration at LPU Manila, served as the forum moderator.

Prof. Chua initially congratulated Dr. Aboitiz on her successful talk. He mentioned that her discussion offered a new point of view because Dr. Aboitiz talked about the Philippine Revolution through Dr. Laurel’s lens – which is uncommon as we always view the Philippine Revolution from the perspective of the Filipinos.

Next, Dr. Jose gave his reaction to Dr. Aboitiz’s speech. He mentioned that Dr. Aboitiz’s talk was well covered – and discussed profoundly. However, Dr. Jose said that he wanted to highlight some details about Dr. Laurel. Some of those details are (1) how Dr. Laurel was the only

Philippine President who had a clear philosophical bent that can be observed and seen throughout his papers, speeches, and journals; and (2) Dr. Laurel being a lawyer and being able to work under the three branches of the government provided him with a richer perspective.

After the sharing of insights from panelists, the presentation of certificate of appreciation for Dr. Nicole CuUnjieng Aboitiz, Prof. Michael Charles Chua, and Dr. Ricardo Chato Jose commenced. Then, the playing of LPU Hymn officially concluded the event.

Coverage by: Mhaica De Lumen, Marielle Manangan, and K Bulseco Yenogacio