A timeline that shows Alpha Phi Beta History from the idea all the way to present day.
In the height of the presidency of Manuel Quezon, some students of the UP College of Law were motivated to dampen a threatened dictatorship about to be born with the creation of a “one-party” government in October 1939. With these, they aspire to be at the forefront of mobilizing the student body into being a relevant factor not only in the campus but also in the national arena. These inspired them to form an organization that would be held together by fraternal bonds.
Alphan founding brother Renato Constantino went on out-of-town debating engagements in places as far away as Iloilo, Nueva Ecija, Camarines Sur, and Pangasinan. Other Alphan Lord Chancellors like Dick Balderrama and Adriano Garcia would tag along and the trio would start an Alphan debating force that will reverberate across the generations that would follow.
The Demonstration of 1951
Leonie Perez led a UP Student march to Malacanang to protest the ouster of UP President Gonzales by the Quirino Administration. This dauntless moment is the second Alphan-led presidential challenge since the inspired mobilization of 1939. Leonie Perez would become a Senator later on..
Tops the Bar
Greg Castillo topped the Philippine Bar Examinations. He would become founding partner in the highly regarded law firm in Makati, Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & San Jose. This would be followed by Henry Villarica in 1971. Villarica is presently the incumbent representative of the 4th district of Bulacan.
At the beginning of what was dubbed to be the first golden year of Alpha Phi Beta, campus journalism, both on the university front and the College of Law, was in alphan hands. Andres Gatmaitan led the Philippine Collegian, Rey Puno the Philippine Law Register, and Ruben Agpalo, the scholarly Philippine Law Journal.
A long line of six Alphan editors would follow in Rey's wake, some serving consecutively. His immediate successor would be Leo Quisumbing, followed over the next seven years, by Wilfredo Chato, Salvador Carlota, Voltaire Garcia, Temario Rivera and Nelson Navarro.
Back to Back
By sheer intellectual power and charm, the underfinanced Alphans successfully bolstered the campaigns of back-to-back chairman of the University Student Council, Leonardo Quisumbing, who would see himself as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court later on, followed by Benjamin Muego.
The Leadership of Enrique Voltaire Garcia
Enrique Voltaire Garcia headed the Philippine Collegian. The year immediately following his term as the EIC, he would be popularly elected as the chairman of the University Student Council, where his leadership was hailed as the Camelot of the UP Student power in the sixties. He would later on win a seat in the 1971 Constitutional Convention and join the opposition, together with Alphans Heherson Alvarez and Caesar Espiritu, to thwart the beginning of then President Marcos’ tyranny.
Although his editorship would last only six months and eight days, Ditto would earn a place in history as one of the bravest of Collegian editors. His leadership was true to the spirit of the press, unflinching at the threats of the Marcos administration. Ten days before his fateful arrest, his Collegian was able to release the special collective editorial entitled “Uphold Campus Freedom”, underscored by the remarkable banner headline:
“Kung Hindi Tayo Kikibo, Sinong Kikibo? Kung di Tayo Kikilos, Sinong Kikilos? Kung Hindi Ngayon, Kailan Pa?” (If we don’t speak out, who will speak out? If we don’t move, who will move? If not now, when?)
The Golden Jubilee
The Alpha Phi Beta Fraternity has celebrated its 50th anniversary at the Manila Hotel, attended by some 400 Alphans from all generations: Charter members, a party of Alphan senators, congressmen, governors, mayors, cabinet members, judges, public officials, private practitioners, top lawyers, and the starry-eyed residents from the University of the Philippines.
The Pride of the Fraternity
The UP conferred Tato with an honorary doctorate honoris causa for his outstanding body of work in nationalism. The City of Manila, the Philippine Jaycees, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, La Salle University and other institutions would follow suit. The Cultural Center of the Philippines would hail him as one of the 100 most influential Filipinos of the 20th century.
In 1992, All top three student positions in the University of the Philippines were in Alphan hands: Student Council Chairman Rhoneil Fajardo, Philippine Collegian Editor-in-Chief Pablo John Garcia, and Student Regent Jijil Jimenez. This remains to be a record unequalled by any other group in the University.
In this decade alone, Alphans would have 4 University Student Council Chairmen: Jijil Jimenez in 1991, Rhoneil Fajardo in 1992, Ricky Ysmael in 1994, and Con-Con San Antonio in 1995.
Back to the Podium
An All-Alphan team formed by Former Lord Chancellor Ruben Acebedo, Marcelo Fernandez, and Cecilio Laurente bagged the 2001 UP Open Debate Championship.
In 2003, another All-Alphan team recaptured the Pi Sigma Open Championship which the fraternity had dominated in the 1990s. Throughout the rest of the 2000s, the fraternity would field resident Alphans to various local and international debate and moot court competitions.