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OSCAR TAN ’02 – Legal expert is new PDI columnist


MANILA, Philippines–Oscar Franklin Tan has contributed essays on law, politics, love and travel to the Inquirer’s Opinion pages for the past two years, and he will now write a weekly column, “Sisyphus’ Lament,” that will appear every Monday starting today, Dec. 8.

Tan retells the story of the Filipino from the eyes of the children of the Edsa Revolution. Reacting to how Ateneo students were criticized for taking selfies with Imelda Marcos, he made the point lost to the elders that these students had yet to be born during the Marcos years. “How can one tell students to ‘never forget’ what they justifiably do not remember?” (“Alienating youth from Edsa,” 7/21/14).

This simple thought sparked serious reflection. One of our editors helped produce the documentary “Batas Militar” and realized it was almost 20 years old.

Columnist Conrado de Quiros followed up, asking how emotional we are now anyway about the liberation of Manila after World War II. “A purely critical attitude … can succeed only in alienating the youth from Edsa,” he wrote, echoing Tan (“Storytelling,” 7/23/14).

Tan was first featured in 2007 on the Inquirer’s front page and again by columnist Ambeth Ocampo when he spoke for his Harvard Law class at their graduation.

He chaired the board of editors of the Philippine Law Journal in 2005 and set a record of eight legal writing prizes. He double-majored in management engineering and economics (with honors) at Ateneo.

In February 2013, while every other columnist wrote about the election of a new pope, he wrote about dating girls (but he has yet to find a bookworm-girlfriend).

He has written about a range of legal issues, from the Bangsamoro Basic Law (on which Congress sought his views and those of retired Supreme Court justices) and the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona to the students’ claim of privacy over their bikini shots on Facebook.

He contributes crucial perspectives on overseas Filipino workers, having practiced law with an international firm in Singapore.

Tan has since come home and teaches constitutional and securities law at University of the East and San Beda Graduate School of Law.

He chairs the Philippine Bar Association’s committee on constitutional law. His commentary, “Why bar exams ruin legal education,” was shared by thousands online during the first week of this year’s bar exams.

“Oscar represents the next generation of our columnists,” Inquirer publisher Raul Pangalangan said. “Our opinion pages evolve along with society and we are always on the lookout for writers who can articulate different perspectives with vigor and credibility.”

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