Monday, May 11, 2009


It was like an atomic bomb has been dropped in my little town. As the bus passed along villages, one cannot waver at the communal feeling of sorrow and sadness because of homes destroyed and lives lost as typhoon “Emong” (codename: Chan Hom) wreaked havoc Thursday evening, May 7th in Western Pangasinan. Our house in Bani was not spared from the ravaging storm packing winds of 150 kph with gustiness of 185 kph uprooting electric posts and trees, toppling off cars and trucks, displacing thousands of families from their homes.

I have never seen first-hand such a tragedy and stark irresponsibility in my whole life. It is in these times that you ask immediate relief and aid from the government and you get nothing in response but the same voice that you heard while you say those words. News came Friday that relief operations were on the way to affected towns and communities but as to when will those promised help filter in to the helpless families who have no roofs under their heads while torrential rain continues is still a million dollar question (not so during election time of course). Only in the Philippines. Families are left on their own to fix their homes while they put makeshift shelters near the road local government officials sit down and talk about how they would deal with loots brought in by the automatic release of calamity funds. Our incarcerated community leader has been filling in news from his cell that families will receive aid equally whether rich or poor and it made the poor people cry foul necessarily but what do you expect from a mad man who has no sense of justice at all. So that compounds the gravity of the problem: bad leaders plus ravaging storms plus poor communities equal: catastrophe.

So here I am, appealing to you all who will have the chance to read this to help in spreading the news that our communities need help in order for families in this part of the country rebuild their lives which were gravely disrupted and shattered by the recent calamity and the irresponsibility of the government. What they show and feature in the news is a minute reflection of the overall disaster here in Pangasinan. Government officials are always quoted in the news commenting on the damage to the fisheries owned by a few affluent businessmen but where are the countless people left homeless and what about the efforts to help them? We have yet to see and get help.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Boy is now a Lawyer

Heavy downpour hits Baguio this morning. Visibility is low and the temperature drops as well.It's my second time to visit the city since news came that I passed the Bar exams. It's my first time to visit the city as a full-fledged lawyer having taken my oath, having signed in the Roll of Attorneys and having given my corresponding Roll number. The bliss and excitement naturally had died down by now and I am off to face the realities accompanying the event, the fact and the truth. I still have no concrete plans to share with you about how to direct my newfound career. People in my small community have all been coming and visiting the house at Pangasinan to congratulate and to consult me about legal problems and whether I like to accept their respective cases and bring them to court. Problems like land disputes, election bouts, and collection of sum of money (that made me think whether I really uplifted my standing to a higher level or whether I demoted myself into being a mere collector of debt) have been flooding in making my life a little busier than before, a little bit dignified, if I may say, a little bit fulfilled that I am finally experiencing things which only happen in my dreams. I am also caught in a dilemma of whether to pursue private practice without capital making me more alluded to the insinuations of my father that I must accept cases without intial payment and have the proceeds of the case slashed into half in my favor and my uncle’s horrific statement that I should no longer let myself taste poverty by all means or whether to pursue work in the government or in a private company allowing me to have a fixed income for the meantime with prejudice of course to my career advancement and litigation experience. I am more bent into working with the Supreme Court having said everybody I meet with pride that I will be working there soon. However, uncertainties regarding that surface and I am now yet again bothered as to how I will pursue both worlds: a stint in the government and private practice. . .as to how I will reconcile both. . .well, I must figure that out soon.

So here I am, documenting a workshop here in Baguio for the meantime, letting myself drift away from all the realities I am facing. Letting myself indulge while I am booked at this classy hotel in Gibraltar Road necessarily surrounded by thick pine forests because it is still near the Camp John Hay Reservation area. I am booked here in this hotel where they pretty serve sumptuous food that pleases my gastronomic tastes; where a piped in music with endless jazz music reaches even the toilet and into unimaginable spaces; where a grand piano lies there at the ballroom waiting to be played; where laughs and giggles pervade rooms and halls even during an “unconventional”mass; where I felt for the 2nd time that I am shredded into pieces and had levitated in the air for a while only because of a heart-shaped paper that was given to me by that dame that always give me shivers. . .because in that paper she wrote something I will never forget in my life.

I am finally a lawyer and although some friends who likewise passed always say that fact of being such has yet to sink in their minds, in my case, it long before did. My success could not in any way be attributed only to my capacities but to many people who have supported me all the way, always believing in me and never letting me feel discouraged. I dedicate this to them. Although still a big responsibility lies ahead on how I will pay this forward rest assured that efforts are on the way including an online legal aid forum which I will put up soon that will be devoted to the public to help them in their legal concerns.

Finally, while I look back to all the experiences I went through in law school and during the review some of which are captured in this blog, I honestly felt and ask how did I make it considering that I almost gave up everything. But look at the beauty of life and happy endings. The boy who once witnessed the death of thirty thousand fishes is now a lawyer.