Aquila Legis

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Aquila Legis Fraternity
Founded1949; 70 years ago (1949)
Ateneo Law School, Padre Faura, Manila (Old Campus)
MottoFidelitas ex Lege
WebsiteAquila Legis Website

The Aquila Legis is a Filipino fraternity based in the Ateneo de Manila School of Law. Founded in 1949, it was the first fraternity founded by students, and the first fraternity in the Philippines using Latin nomenclature, preceding a number of Philippine law-based fraternities with names derived from Latin. (Aquila Legis in English means "eagle of the law," but is commonly translated as "legal eagle.")[1]

Over the past six decades, the fraternity has inducted over 1,500 members, some of whom eventually rose to public prominence as cabinet secretaries, legislators, justices, and ambassadors.[2]


Aquila Legis was founded as Fraternitas Aquilae Legis in 1949 by 21 second- and third-year students of the Ateneo Law School. As expressed by Aquila Legis alumnus and former Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye, the fraternity was created "to promote camaraderie" and to "nurture Catholic lawyers and to produce leaders in every field of human endeavor", in line with the aims of the Jesuit-run Ateneo Law School.[1]

Among the founding members were Gabriel Singson (later governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, or BSP), Teofisto Guingona, Jr. (later Vice President of the Philippines) and Raul Boncan (later a member of the BSP's Monetary Board).[3]

Over the years, the fraternity has earned a reputation for helping members pass the bar examinations, often with flying colors. Throughout Aquila Legis' history, over 40 fraternity alumni have reached the Top Ten of the Bar Examinations, five[4] of whom earned first place.[5]

For a list of the fraternity's bar topnotchers, see: Bar Topnotchers and Placers from Aquila Legis.


On February 8, 9 and 10, 1991, Aquila Legis senior members conducted initiation rites for neophytes interested in joining the fraternity's ranks. As a result of the traditional hazing ritual, fraternity neophyte Leonardo "Lenny" Villa died from serious physical injuries at the Chinese General Hospital on February 10, 1991.[6]

A second neophyte, Bienvenido Marquez, was hospitalized at the Capitol Medical Center for acute renal failure due to severe physical injuries inflicted during the same hazing ritual.

In the wake of Villa's death, charges were filed against 26 members of the fraternity. The lower court found the defendants guilty of the crime charged.[7] The Court of Appeals however, overturned the findings of the lower court and acquitted 19 of the 26 defendants. The conviction of two Aquila Legis fraternity members, Fidelito Dizon and Artemio Villareal, was upheld, while the sentences for four other fraternity members were "downgraded from homicide to slight physical injuries".[8] The Supreme Court later elevated the charges for the four to reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, downgrading Dizon’s charges to the same. Villareal died in 2011 while awaiting appeal.[9]

As a result of the controversy surrounding the death of Lenny Villa, Republic Act No. 8049 (more popularly known as the "Anti Hazing Law") was passed into law in 1995. Up to today, the Lenny Villa case is considered as the first case that depicted the fraternity violence that occurs during initiation rights.[10]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c
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  3. ^,27814072&dq=aquila+legis&hl=en
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  5. ^ Philippine Bar Examination#Aquila Legis Fraternity
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  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-21. Retrieved 2010-09-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-08. Retrieved 2012-11-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-06. Retrieved 2010-07-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]