Dugong Arriba: Kilalanin ang ating Rektor

By:
October 21, 2018
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Photo by Michael Estupigan

Ni Mykee Monterola

Kilalanin natin ng husto ang ating mahal na Rektor na si Fr. Clarence Marquez, O.P., SThD. hindi lang bilang rektor ng Letran kundi bilang isa ‘ring Letranista na may dugong ‘Arriba.’

Tubong-Obando, Bulacan, ang 47-taong gulang na si Fr. Clarence ay nahalal noong ika-20 ng Hunyo taong 2015 bilang kapalit ng naunang rektor na si Rev. Fr. Orlando Aceron, O.P. Siya ay hindi na maituturing na estranghero sa Letran sapagkat siya ay nag-aral dito simula 1974 hanggang 1985 [‘Pre-school’ hanggang ‘High School’].

Sa aming pakikipanayam sa kanya, natuklasan namin ang kanyang pagiging isang ‘typical’ na Letranista.

Buhay Letranista

Panganay sa limang magkakapatid si Fr. Clarence. Siya at ang sumunod na kapatid niyang lalaki ay pinag-aral sa Colegio de San Juan de Letran habang ang kanilang mga kapatid na babae ay pinag-aral sa Colegio de Sta. Rosa. Ayon sa kanya, ang kanyang natuklasan na dahilan kung bakit sila pinag-aral sa Letran ay dahil sa kanilang Lolo na isa ring Letranista. Bukod pa ito sa dahilan na ‘convenient’ ito sa kanila sapagkat malapit ito sa pinapasukan ng kanilang ina [sa GSIS, Manila].

Pamilyar na pamilyar si Fr. Clarence sa Intramuros sapagkat noong siya ay nasa ika-anim na baiting sa elementarya, sila ay nanirahan ng isang taon sa “Flores Residence,” isang ‘boarding house’ malapit sa Colegio de Sta. Rosa.

Nang aking itanong kung sino-sino, bukod sa kanyang pamilya, ang may malaking impluwensiya sa kanyang buhay, ang kanyang sagot ay ang kanyang mga kamag-aral at guro sa Colegio. Ayon sa kanya, “Lahat sila ay mayroon akong magandang alaala at naging bahagi sila ng paghubog ko, sa pagiging Letranista at pagiging Dominican”.

Katulad rin ng ‘typical’ na Letranista, siya rin daw noon, ay mayroon ‘ring “kapilyuhan at kaharutan sa pagiging estudyante dito sa Letran.” May mga panahon rin na siya ay lumiliban sa klase upang makapanuod ng basketball game ng National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)  at nakikipag ‘trash-talk’ rin siya sa mga Bedista, biro pa niya, “until now, kapag nakakalimutan kong rektor ako [nakikipag trash-talk pa rin ako]”.

Pagpili ng Kanyang Bokasyon

Hindi daw binalak ni Fr. Clarence noon na kumuha ng ‘exam’ sa seminaryo. Dalawa lang ang kanyang kinuhang ‘exam’ at ang isa dito ay para sa kursong ‘Civil Engineering’ sa University of the Philippines na kanya namang naipasa. Kung hindi raw siya nagpatuloy sa Seminaryo ay malamang ang pagiging Civil Engineer ang kanyang propesiyon ngayon. “Ni-require kaming lahat na mag ‘exam’ [sa seminaryo] tapos, wala akong intensiyon na ipasa yung ‘exam’ pero pagkatapos nung ‘exam,’  ako lang daw ang pumasa. Eh last minute umeksena si ‘Lord’ at napunta ako sa pagiging ‘Dominican,” ayon kay Fr. Clarence.

Nagpatuloy siya sa Philippine Dominican Center of Institutional Studies kung saan grumaduate siya bilang ‘Summa Cum Laude.’ Nakapagtapos bilang ‘Cum Laude’ si Fr. Clarence ng kanyang ‘Bachelor’s Degree in Sacred Theology’ sa University of Sto. Tomas. Siya rin ay isang Atenista dahil sa Ateneo de Manila University siya kumuha ng ‘Master’s Degree in Literature.’ Kung hindi daw siya naging Dominican, maaring siya ay isang Jesuita ngayon.

Inihalal na pari si Fr. Rektor noong ika-14 ng Mayo, 1995. Nakamit niya ang kanyang ‘Licentiate in Sacred Scriptures’ sa ‘Pontificio Instituto Biblico in Jerusalem’ sa Roma [Cum Laude] at pagkatapos ng sampung taon, nakumpleto niya ang kanyang ‘Doctorate in Sacred Theology, major in Biblical Studies’ sa UST [Summa Cum Laude].

Napili ni Fr. Clarence na sumanib sa ‘Dominican Order of Preachers’ dahil sa kinamulatan niyang magandang paglilingkod ng mga ito sa Letran. Nagustuhan ‘rin niya ang kanilang pakikisalamuha sa mga estudyante.

Pagiging Rektor

Naitanong namin kay Fr. Clarence ang tungkol sa kanyang pagbabalik sa Letran bilang Rektor neto. Masaya siya sa tuwing may pagkakataon siyang makabalik at makauwi ng Letran ngunit nang siya ay nahalal bilang Rektor, ang kaniyang kasiyahan ay nahaluan ng kaba.

Ayon sa kanya, “dati, parang karaniwang Letranista lang ako umuuwi. Ngayon, eh, alam ko na merong akong parang mabigat na responsibilidad na pamunuan at paglingkuran ito bilang rektor”.

Gayon pa man, nangingibabaw pa rin ang kanyang pagmamahal sa Letran. Sa katunayan, ito ang nag-uudyok sa kaniya araw-araw na ipagpatuloy ang kanyang gawain dahil ito ang kanyang ‘waking thought’ sa pagising at pagtulog.

Bilang kasalukuyang rektor ng Colegio, nais niyang ipaayos at ipatupad ang plano ng mga naunang rektor na makarating sa tarangkahan ng pagiging Unibersidad o Pamantasan ang Letran gamit ang mga ‘academic programs’ at iba pang panukat nito. Para na rin ito sa mas malalim at mas makabuluhang pagdiriwang ng ika-400 na taon ng Colegio sa taong 2020. “Ang Letran ay ‘extension’ ng buhay ko at pagsusumikapan ko, pagsusumikapan natin na kung ano ang ikabubuti ng Letran, iyon ang gagawin natin” sambit ni Fr. Clarence.

Pagiging Lider

Minsan nang binansagan ang ating rektor na siya ay may “leadership” sa kanyang dugo dahil sa kanyang mga nagampanan na posisyon. Ayon kay Fr. Clarence, “nahubog sa akin dito sa Letran yung pamumuno sa iba’t ibang aspeto… I was an Associate Editor-in-Chief [ng The Scroll] noong Elementary at sa High School, [Student Council] Vice-President.”

Para kay Fr. Rektor, ang isang katangian na napakahalagang taglay ng isang lider ay ang abilidad niyang makinig sa saloobin ng mga sumusunod sa kanya.  Kung kaya’t ganun na lamang ang kanyang nais na masubaybayan ang mga estudyante ng Letran. Ika niya, “kung wala ang mga estudyante, wala ang Letran… Pilit kong inuunawa at pinapakinggan kayo kaya nga ‘active’ ako sa ‘social media’ at nasusubaybayan ko kayo at siguro pag paminsan-minsan, kapag tinotopak ay sinusubaybayan niyo rin ako.

Nang maitanong si Fr. Rektor kung ano ang kanyang mahalagang mensahe para sa mga Letranista ay ito ang kanyang sagot, “yung pagiging Letranista natin ay hindi lang sa paraang pasigaw… bigyan niyo ng laman, gawin niyong tunay na buhay yung ‘Arriba Letran.’”

(First published on The LANCE’s August Issue 2016)

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