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SPEECH OF NILO PENA
3/20/2008 6:49:29 AM

Rigodon Ballroom, Peninsula Manila, Makati City, Philippines

"I am specially privileged to be able to speak to my fellow Sigma
Rhoans, friends, and loved ones on the 70th year of the Sigma Rho
Fraternity.

I joined the Fraternity 55 years ago a few months after graduating
from UP High. There was a 1 year residence requirement but the fact
that I had a 4-year residence in Diliman must have been taken into
consideration. I joined Sigma Rho because I had decided to take law
and liked the name and what it stood for -- Seekers of the Right,
Sanchez Roman. Even then, I understood that Right did not mean
rightist but rather what is true, correct and just. This would become
more evident later with just a quick look at its membership with
various shades from the left, the right an the center, all searching
for and standing by, what they believe is true, correct and just.

After EDSA I, national elections were held in 1987 and 8 Sigma Rhoans
from different parties, loyalties and shades of thought were
candidates for Senator. The Sigma Rho Council, inspired by the late
Brod Rafael Salas, exhorted all Sigma Rhoans to support the 8
candidates, without exception. I had the privilege to be the Chairman
of the Council that year. As a codigo, the candidates were acronymed
EDSACAMP: it stood for Enrile, Defensor, an S, Angara, Capulong,
Abbas, Macabingwit Lanto, Palmares, and Panelo. 3 were elected. Johnny
Ponce Enrile and Ed Angara are still members of the Senate, Art
Defensor is the Majority Floor Leader of the House. Let's skip the S
for now. Romeo Capulong is the lawyer of the "progressives". Firdausi
Abbas is active with the Muslim Affairs. His brother, the late
Macapanton, a Grand Archon. Macabingwit Lanto became an Ambassador and
the Undersecretary of Justice. Paeng Palmares was Governor of Iloilo
and Salvador Panelo is a known lawyer who represents a variety of
individuals and interests.

Sigma Rho is an elite organization but not elitisic. In the case of
another fraternity known for elitism, members when introduced would
look at each other's clothes and shoes as if that would serve as the
others bona fides.

On the other hand, Sigma Rhoans when introduced do not look at each
other's attires. They immediately warm up to the other and only
interested in the person regardless of attire. Even if the other looks
or is actually weird, the other would say to himself "There must be
something good about this guy. After all, he is a Sigma Rhoan."

When I led the Fraternity when I was Grand Archon 50 years ago, I had
to carry the burden of the Fundamental Law, the rule that mandated
"The Grand Archon is the Law." The rationale for that of course is
that the leader must be responsible to direct and lead the members
during his term. The members for their part must select the person
most suited for the job and the person selected must lead and lay down
the law where required with the extraordinary diligence of a very
careful person with due regard to all circumstances. It is a duty and
an obligation, not a power or privilege. The members should always be
mindful of that burden that the Grand Archon has to carry and help him
perform his duties.

Throughout its existence, the Fraternity had its ups and downs. Today
we find Sigma Rhoans in the executive, legislative and the judicial
branches of the government. Wee see them as lawyers, businessmen, and
in myriad organizations. They are the movers and shakers in their
fields of endeavor. You will also note that they are surrounded and
surround themselves with people they trust, fellow Sigma Rhoans.

Many accuse fraternities as nothing but gangs. We know that is not
true and need not answer the accusers who are ignorant. Many ridicule
fraternities as nothing but networks for the unqualified but overly
ambitious. We also know that to be false although a network is not a
bad thing. In this complicated world, everyone is looking for a
network, someone to trust.

So be proud to be a Sigma Rhoan and think and act accordingly. Thus,
when we shout "FIGHT!", we do not mean physical but cerebral. Remember
that the brain directs the brawn. Remember, too, that Sigma Rho stands
for Sanchez Roman, the renowned Spanish Jurist and legal scholar."
__________________________________________________________

The 70-Year Pledge

Noble in his manner, selfless in his ways
At times bloodied but always unbowed
Unfailing, unwavering in time of need
Ever rising beyond expectations

Sacrifice
Loyalty
Obedience
Service

I pledge only to the ways of a fighting brotherhood
I pledge only to vows weightier than gold
I pledge only to the Sigma Rho
To the end!

Standing witness to 70 fighting years of excellence

FIGHT! FIGHT!



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Ruth Tactacan
3/21/2008 8:50:10 AM

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