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JR Lopez Gonzales 8:46 AM 0

Talking about his long series of feats, his life as a working student, and things about the college and more; the amiable Dean Moslem sits with The Nexus for a téte-a-téte at his office in Marawi City.


The Nexus: This may sound a bit late sir, but still, in behalf of the IIT Extension, we congratulate you for your appointment as the new dean of the MSU College of Law.

Dean Moslem: Thank you.

The Nexus: Sir, looking at your family name, many are wondering if you're indeed related to the current MSU President Macapado Muslim. Others are saying that you aren't because of the variation in spelling.

Dean Moslem: To settle all doubts, the incumbent MSU President is really my younger brother. But when we were in grade school, I used the surname “MosIem" while he used “Muslim”. It's difficult to change the records.  The names stuck. And so we just continued to use varying surnames. But it doesn’t mean we’re not related [smiles].

The Nexus: Now that's on the record. Sir, it seems that the sense of achieving runs in the family. Are all of you in the family professionals?

Dean Moslem: Majority of us in the family are professionals. I, the MSU President, and my two sisters are currently connected with the university while the other two are engaged in business.

The Nexus: Sir, may we know the story behind your admission to the legal profession?

Dean Moslem: I grew up here in Marawi. I studied at the MSU-Preparatory School but on my second year in high school, the family moved to General Santos City. There, I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree at Ramon Magsaysay Memorial College. And then I studied law at Ateneo de Cagayan. I was a working student back then, connected with the Department of Trade and Industry. From a class of 60, only 18 of us graduated. And among those 18, only three passed the 1980 Bar Exams—I was one of them.

Dean Macacuna A. Moslem
The Nexus: Sir, may we know some milestones of yours before being appointed at the college of law?

Dean Moslem: Well, it's quite a long story. I have served at the university for about thirty years and I’ve handled different posts for the same length of time. It was my brother who invited me to teach at the College of Business Administration. At that time, he served in the College of Public Affairs. Looking back, it was a ‘losing proposition’ on my part because I spent more than what I earn—a meager 100-peso salary for starters [smiles]. But I taught at CBA for a pretty long time—I must have loved teaching very much. I was even awarded with a “Loyalty Award” for having taught more than 25 years in the college.

I am the first Maranao professor to focus on Commercial Law and Islamic Banking. I was fortunate enough to be a government scholar at International Islamic University in Malaysia where I obtained my Master's in Comparative Law in 1992. About six years thereafter, I completed my Doctorate of Philosophy in Law. By the way, I have also served as Dean of CBA for about 6 years.  After obtaining my PhD, I served at the Office of Governor Mamintal Adiong, Jr. by virtue of the MOA between MSU and the Province of Lanao del Sur in furtherance of extension programs. For another six years, l served as the Vice President for Administration and Finance and also served as the Senior Legal Adviser for the MSU System.

Quite a history, isn’t it?

The Nexus: That sure is a lot of achievement. Sir, regarding your election, how did it bring about?

Dean Moslem: The Board of Regents elected me to the position. Modesty aside, they believe that l am most suited for the job—given my academic degrees and performance in the past three decades—so l accepted the position. Anyway, I have been teaching in the college for quite some time, too; Assistant Dean Atty. Ditucalan and even Dean Basari Mapupuno are just some of my former students at the College.

The Nexus: After becoming a lawyer, amazingly, you still managed to obtain various academic degrees abroad. What inspired you to do this?

Dean Moslem: I wanted to master the subject matter I am teaching, to be knowledgeable in my field. Also, l believe that as a faculty member, this is a very important requirement. One shouldn’t stop learning.
 
The Nexus: What are your plans for the college, sir?

Dean Moslem: Well, in the College of Law, we have to ensure that only the competent and qualified students are the ones taking up law. This is my emphasis: to produce “Quality Graduates”. My admission policy is getting the best.  I’m now planning to devise an entrance exam. The questions to be asked will be made with help from the English Department which would include aptitude tests with psychometric exercises to ensure that only those qualified will be admitted.

You know, students expect highly from their professors, too. But the professors should be able to see to it that only those who deserve to pass…will pass. In the same manner, students who deserve failing grades should receive what is rightfully due them. I’m sorry to say that but the truth is that giving a passing grade to one who is not performing well gives students false hope. In my administration, the emphasis is in dispensing education. Yet, we are still on the process of reforming.

The good thing is, in all fairness to the President, all of our requests including the upgrading of books were not turned down.

The Nexus: Sir, how would you assess the current status of the extension class at lligan and what do you think are the challenges that go with it?

Dean Moslem: Let me tell you first the backstory on the IIT Extension’s inception. In 1982, the administration of MSU-IIT made a proposal to the BOR for the College of Law but it was not the priority, as accorded by the mandate of IIT which is on Science and Technology. The then DECS Secretary Quisumbing disapproved their proposal. Again, they have made some sort of representations but still Sec. Quisumbing replied in the negative. The Board of Regents started the operation for 1 year and classified it as an “extension”. The continuance of the class, as it has become now, was through the efforts of former Chancellor Boransing.

Now, regarding the extension classes in lligan and General Santos, there was no difference but there is a totally different scenario between the two: GenSan Extension shoulders the expenses of the extension class, while MSU-IIT administration does not.

This is really difficult—if not unimaginable—because just recently MSU-IIT is charging us with a more than 100-thousand bill for the room rentals. The charge is too much. I believe this policy should be relaxed. Because really, charging us with this handsome amount of bill is like transferring money from the left pocket to the right. I don’t recommend for the extension’s closure that’s why I am planning to meet with the Chancellor and other admin officials regarding this matter. I am hoping for a positive outcome. All of this is a part of my goal to make sure that no burden is placed on the students on matters that should in fact be shouldered by MSU-IIT. You will agree with me if I say we’re doing MSU-IIT and the City of lligan a favor. They should look at the extension class as something very beneficial for its constituents.
 
The Nexus: What can you say about the faring of our bar takers on the recent bar exams? Are you satisfied with the results?

Dean Moslem: To be honest, I’m not satisfied. When l was in Manila to support our students in the bar operations, I’ve noticed that after the exams, our students were not jubilant like their counterparts from other prestigious law schools. They were flabbergasted. They were not expecting that the Bar Exam was that difficult—perhaps the reason for this is lack of preparation. It was a rather painful sight. MSU College of Law should perform better in the exams.

Incidentally, students should be mindful as there has already been a joint resolution from both houses of Congress for the closure of schools that have poor performance in the government licensure exams. I was told that some schools were already closed for obtaining national passing percentage below 50%. If poor performance is seen for 3 consecutive years, no budget will be allocated and the school will be padlocked.

The Nexus: I hope that our college will not be among those that will be padlocked. In closing, what is your closing message to our studentry, especially for those studying at the IIT Extension?

Dean Moslem: IIT extension students should be happy that they are studying law at IIT because other schools not only consider but recognizes it as one of the best. You should work very hard and should not consider your jobs as a hindrance because lack of finances is not a reason for not working hard. In fact, that should serve as your inspiration.

The Nexus: Very well said, sir. And thank you for availability for this interview.

Interviewed by JR Lopez Gonzales at the Dean’s Office at MSU-Main College of Law, Marawi City in November last year. This should've made the Nexus issue for AY 2012-2013 but according to the SLSC Officials, due to financial constraints, no budget was allocated for its publication.

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