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MAY 13/ 01





Tracing the Santactruzan's Roots
You may argue that the Philippines has no marked season like spring for flowers to bloom. More flowers seem to appear in May, nevertheless.

Get to Know Western Visayas
During the Spanish times, when a mother wanted her children to stop crying at night, she usually threatened them with the "quintos."

If you are a foreigner ... As history shows, foreigners have generally not come to the Philippines with friendly intentions. In spite of this, every visitor is heartily welcomed; the Filipinos are sociable and tolerant, and their natural openness charms many visitors. FULL STORY


Protecting Aklan's coastal ecosystems
Siltation and sedimentation triggered by upland deforestation pose another threat to Aklan's coastal ecosystems.


We need Mary today
MAY is closely associated with our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Tradition, now so complicated to trace, has forged it that way. And we are happy about it.

Again, on Lawyers
They are the defenders of truth and justice. Yep, yep, lawyers have to be truthful, to act noble and be fearless.

The poor must protest against their exploiters
The poor is the fair hope of unscrupulous politicians. Just by giving them a few pesos or a kilo of rice they spontaneously go out to demonstrate. In return they would say we will die for our idol. When they are caught or die they are abandoned.


It's a jungle out there
Ants are one of the few insects I know of that live in colonies. They have a caste system too.

Responsible Communication
How ironic is that media practitioners claim they are sources of true information, that they are most reliable institute of learning; when they allow themselves to be influenced by too much commercialism, consumerism, and materialism.

The tie that binds
Have you ever thought of why friends stick together through thick and thin and through the years?


Cain and Abel
Our new legal series dwell on the case of a man who murdered his own brother. The incident took place in Lambunao, Iloilo yet the names of the persons were changed to protect their identities as well as of their family.




Again, on lawyers

By Ligaya U. Barcenas

The Bar exam results never fail to excite the whole country. It's the only exam whose results enjoy premium newspaper space-story on the front page and feature stories on successful examinees are staples in newspapers even days after the results come out.

What's with this fascination with lawyers? What's this interest in the law? The law profession is one of the noble professions along with teaching, medicine and priesthood. You'd think the lawyers carry the world on their shoulders if you were to read the lawyer's oath. They are the defenders of truth and justice. Yep, yep, lawyers have to be truthful, to act noble and be fearless.

But it's a love-hate relationship with lawyers. They are looked up to for the glamour, mental ability and skills, yet they are distrusted - perceived to be wily and greedy. There are those who can be obnoxious, bizarre, blabbermouths and intellectual snobs (Miriam Santiago is all of these, if you ask me). And yes, there are crackpots, but this is true with all the other professions. If there are good eggs, there are bad ones as well.

Lawyers are often the butts of jokes. In them, lawyers are talked down to. Lawyer-bashing seems to be a nice way to make us feel that we can put the blame on them for some things going awry or to make us feel better about ourselves. My favorite joke is this: During a sea accident, a shark refuses to eat a lawyer because of professional courtesy.

During the Marcos years, lawyers were one of the first to be hauled in jail. Consequently, many lawyers joined in the fight against the dictator. Think of Diokno, Taņada, Salonga, Saguisag, Arroyo in the forefront of the struggle. (Though admittedly, Marcos' cronies and party mates were a bevy of lawyers). These politician-lawmakers used their brilliant heads against the dictatorship. Some lived to see Marcos' downfall, some didn't.

Of this time, I admire lawyers who do advocacy work on children, human rights, and labor. I also think highly of members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines who take on cases free of charge. Also, lawyers at the Office of the Ombudsman and the Public Attorney's Office deserve a pat on the back because even if they have loads of cases for a paltry pay, they still take their duties to heart-the ombudsman's office is the busts grafters, the public lawyers represent those who can't afford the services of the private lawyers.

Then there are lawyers who put to good use the gray matters between their ears. I can think of Aquilino Pimentel, who authored the Local Government Code.

Many of us may not agree with what he's working for, but Rene Saguisag is one person I admire. It takes courage to stand up for one's belief and this man has courage (though many say, folly) for defending Joseph Estrada's claim to the presidency. Get a copy of his pleadings to the High Court and see what I mean.

Now, it's easy to pinpoint the public heroes, but not so with those who lead quiet lives like the teachers and those who conduct their private practice with dignity and integrity.

This is not to gloss over the shenanigans and blunders of lawyers. We continue to hate or laugh at them for these. But the world will never have enough of lawyers. As officers of the court, they are there to help us claim a right or correct a wrong or unfairness, be in our relations with other men or our relations with the government.

The fascination will continue. This will make us await the Bar results year after year.


PAST ISSUES: March 25, 2001 | April 29, 2001