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Friday, August 31, 2007

Another Life Wasted

I cannot, for the life of me, understand what drives otherwise sane persons to join fraternities and subject themselves to torture; or the prospects of death. There’s just no cogent need for it.

While I was in law school, I received several invitations from fratmen who made me think that life will be unbearably hard if I didn’t join their group. I didn’t budge. True, I later settled with one, but this was a fraternity where no physical initiation was required. It actually looked more like a scholastic organization.

The benefits of being a “brod” are no secret: camaraderie, assistance, belonging, an extensive network. All these are touted to extend beyond the boundaries of school. But I was quite sure I can get all those even without a frat.

When we took our bar review, we were witness to another trait instilled in a brod: extreme courage. This means fear of nothing, since the frat’s behind him anyway.

My first brush with frat-related violence was when one law student was reportedly mauled by hooded men using baseball bats at the parking lot. The victim was severely injured but I guess nothing came out of the investigation.

Next came the incident at the library (it was open to both students and reviewees) where a co-reviewee was harrased by a frat just because he had the gall to approach one lady who happened to be a brod’s girlfriend. The poor guy was forced to apologize and never went back went back to school.

What bothers me is the fact that those who were all too ready to ignite violence in the name of brotherhood are people knocking at the door of the bar. These would-be lawyers seem to have no qualms about committing infractions of law. Is that because they know that their illustrious lawyer-brods will be using their legal expertise to extricate them from whatever trouble they get entangled with?

I can only surmise that Cris Anthony Mendez was planning to go to law school and applied for membership early on. With dreams of becoming a lawyer, he thought being with a frat will help him sail through it.

You all know what happened. All his dreams mean nothing now. With him now dead, it’s even improbable that he gets to pursue justice, as a victim.

What’s more pathetic is, despite many publicized deaths due to hazing, young people still flock to these exclusive organizations. I’m pretty sure that one of these days, another life will be offered at the temple of violence, but they will never learn.

(Note: Check Mendez’s Friendster account and cry.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Visit to Lucena

It was a plan hatched over bottles of downed beer. As usual, the agreement was "all for one, one for all." No one was allowed to break the covenant. Or else, the penalty is Five Thousand Pesos per head.

One of the gang’s members claimed to have an uncle in Lucena. And based on drunken accounts of a previous experience, there is plenty of seafood in the man’s table. We initially salivated over the prospects but everybody later dismissed it as just another tale. Thus the dare: we will go a-visiting during one of the forthcoming long weekends.

The first Saturday turned out to be stormy. We had no choice but to postpone the excursion. But the next one (last Saturday) had to be it, come hell or high waters.

And so we did. Without regrets, I must say. We had the beach all to ourselves, pigging out on the freshest of seafoods. Of course, the ever-reliable videoke was there when the spirits settled in. What more could we ask for?
Oh yes. I also had fun taking pictures. Not as good as other bloggers could have done it, but what the heck! I took them and I like them. :-)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ruffa: Abused? Com'on...

It was an awfully disgusting sight – TV footages of Ruffa Gutierrez and Yilmaz Bektas drooling over each other, fully reconciled and even floating the idea of getting married again.

The hell … were they not the same celebrities who declared war against each other in the media? Wasn’t that the Ruffa who claimed to have been abused and battered, with the dramatic recounting of the horrible events all captured by the cameras? Was this not the same Ruffa who sought police protection (read: public funds) so as to deter any possible harm that the same Ylmaz was supposed to be capable of committing despite the oceans that separate them? Is this not the same Ruffa whom Gabriela proclaimed as a poster girl for women standing up for their rights?

Damn! We were duped! The images clearly do not evoke women empowerment. This was plain and simple public deception which trivialized the law aimed at protecting women’s rights.

When Republic Act No. 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act was promulgated, the biggest concern raised was that it could open the floodgates to abuse, having raised the concept of abuse to more than the physical type. The law went to the extent of penalizing psychological and economic abuse, and not only that, these abuses were already deemed committed even if they were only on the level of threats or attempts, e.g. attempting to cause the woman or her child physical harm, threatening to deprive the woman or her child of custody to her/his family and threatening to deprive the woman or her children of financial support legally due her or her family.

Given the uncertain nature of the law (think: how does one prove an attempt to cause physical harm if such is confined to the parties? Or, how do you quantify psychological abuse?), the implementing authorities were very careful in its application such that it can be availed only by people who truly suffered from abuse and may not be employed for harassment or revenge by any woman scorned.

I don’t know with you, but I truly think that Ruffa has given those who doubt the law a reason to be more cynical. She has just become the icon for the dark side of the law – where scheming women can cry abuse to pursue devious ends.

Call me biased, but it never entered my mind that she was indeed abused – what I clearly saw was a showbiz has-been trying desperately to return to her glorious days. The script was all too neat to be true – the theatrical confession, the explosive accusations, the melodramatic baptism by the pool, etcetera). And I only have to look at her mentor – her mother, and look back to her envelope-switching days to substantiate my claim. What I saw on TV last night simply affirmed it (check again that part where Ruffa was flaunting and taunting Yilmas with the gash in her head).

Ruffa just caused a big setback to the fight for women’s rights. And we, the showbiz-crazed nincompoops get the better part of the blame for being big-time suckers. (Insert Ruffa’s and Annabelle’s crackling guffaw here).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My Dream Me

They call him a “scum”. “Zero-conscience”.

I shall add obnoxious, irreverent, egotistical, peacock-proud, and a damn-good filthy-rich lawyer!

I dream to be like him. I want to be like him.

I wish I could re-invent myself and metamorphose into someone as feisty and as gung-ho as him. Being coy, conciliatory, tentative and fearful has not served me well.

Is there some place I could go, any machine I could insert myself into, where my personality can be re-engineered to fit my requirements?

I know, Sebastian Stark (SHARK) is just a figment of somebody's fertile imagination and repressed ambitions. He probably could just be a representation of his creators' dream person. But he couldn’t be far from being a real one.

I plan to be one.

And by the way, he’s not that bad. He too is a softie, given family concerns. Good enough, right?

Monday, August 13, 2007

I beg your pardon, Sir?

Anyone please, explain this to me like I were a three-year old.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), since that infamous ambush of Marines that despicably ended with beheadings and other mutilations, has been grossly out-maneuvered, out-skilled and yes, believe or not, out-numbered.

On August 9, another ambush left 26 soldiers dead and 17 others wounded - the biggest single day casualty in the history of the AFP.

But then came AFP Chief Gen. Germogenes Esperon Jr. saying: “we may have more fatality but we are still winning the war” (or words to that effect).

Excuse me?

I may not be a military strategist (even if I have been wanting to finish Sun Tzu’s The Art of War for years now), but I guess it doesn’t need genius to figure out this equation: more dead and wounded equals loss.

I see no other way to look at it.

Unless we take our soldiers to be no better than chess pawns which we can deploy as “sacrifices” so that we may gain headway towards a checkmate. Tell me this is not how our military minds operate.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


I am a volcano waiting to explode.

The fiery lava inside my guts now linger dangerously near boiling point. Just a little more heat and pressure and …. Ka-boom! There’s no wrath like a ….

Well, maybe not. It’s probably just not me being explosive. But what do I do? There’s a threshold to one’s self control right?

I just don’t understand why people who have power over other people’s lives would be so grossly insensitive.

Hear this: the Rules, crafted by the agency itself, specifically provide for 15 days to resolve a certain Motion. Such was filed on June 20. E anong petsa na ngayon? Last thing I heard, it’s still being evaluated!

I know, some cases take a much longer wait. So? It doesn’t lessen the impact of this delay; it is bigger reason to seethe in rage.

Lives depend on our justice system. There are those that rely on a piece of paper to move on. Just one little piece. But some fat-a__ed j_rk is sitting on it!

Am I being unreasonable? I guess not. All I ask is for those tasked to dispense judgments to empathize with those begging for their attention and recognize the urgency of restoring the latter’s broken lives. In the first place, they themselves set the time frame. I would not be ranting if it were clear early on that the process will take light years. We would not have even filed the god-damned motion!

Not all have the patience of Job. I pray I will be blessed with it. Soon!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Barops '07- Pre-Bar Party

Barely a month. That’s how much time left for bar reviewees (baristas we call them) to complete their readings. I tell you, it’s a mad dash. This time last year, I was already unbearably panicky. It seemed that my backlog was growing inches thicker by the day.

This was the phase when we were constantly glued to our seats in the library from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., browsing through notes like Sherlock Holmes looking for clues in a haystack. Our only respite were the hourly trips to the coffee vendo machine and downing a few bottles of beer when our eyes can no longer take the beating. There our motormouths take over. I pity those tabled beside us during those gulping sessions as they surely developed high blood pressure listening to our irreconcilable arguments.

The pressure by this time is reaching its peak. It is good therefore to suppress it so that it doesn’t reach explosive proportions. It’s not urban legend when people say some get crazy immediately before or during the bar exams.

And what’s the best way to tackle and beat pressure? Party, of course!

And that’s what our alma mater's bar operations committee did last Saturday. This was the first time it was done in our law school's history and it was a smashing success. Some of the examinees were game enough to be there. The others? Well, to each his own survival style.

Here are some of the pictures of that riotous send-off cum fund-raising party.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Love, What Have You done?

“Be mine….and mine alone, and I will be yours and yours alone! I love you forever, I love you for always. As long as i’m living my Tweetie you’ll be!”

This undoubtedly, is one mushy and heartfelt love note, proof of an avowed undying affection.

But it was not one that met the stringent requirements of society and more so the profession that one of the parties embraced.

That party is Atty. Jose Emmanuel “Noli” M. Eala.

I admit, my heart bleeds for him. Familiar as I am with the sacrifices one makes just to have the “Atty.” affixed to his name, it pains me that the privilege is stripped of him, all because of love gone haywire.

In law school, our teachers never get tired reminding us not to ever cross swords with the Lawyer’s Oath and the Code of Professional ethics. In this case, Eala’s indiscretion (pursuing an amorous relationship with a married woman while he himself was married) irked the High Court so much as it found him to have shown “disrespect for an institution held sacred by the law” (marriage) and “betrayed his unfitness to be a lawyer”, that it decreed his disbarment.

I think it was too harsh a punishment for Eala, but I surmise the Supreme Court wanted to impart a strong statement. The institution of marriage is now under attack and it is becoming a widespread perception that lawyers are the primary advocates of its dissolution by virtue of annulments. With this decision, the Court seems to reiterate that it’s one thing for lawyers to have the power to facilitate the breakdown of troubled marriages within the bounds defined by law, it’s another to show utter disregard to the sanctity of one by trampling on it while it still exists.

In the case of Chua-Qua vs. Clave (where a teacher fell in love with and eventually married her student), the SC came up with one of the most-quoted legal paeans to love when it said that “love has reasons which reason does not know”. Everybody then agreed. For love indeed traverses intellectual, social and economic boundaries.

But not the lines drawn by law and morals. Here, love alone is not enough.

But who knows? For Noli and his fiancée (or is it now wife?), the disbarment may be a debacle as most of us would see it, but it probably is not sufficient to diminish the sparkle and intensity of the very reason why this happened – their love. They could be happy still.

So I wish them the best of luck. Truth is, I do not see the disbarment as the end of the saga. My crystal ball is blinking “more to come”….