Thursday, December 16, 2004
This day in history from:

30 Minute Blog

I've noticed that one can get lost in this blogging thing which is really good if you have time to spare and unlimited internet access...

But not this week! All of a sudden I was swamped with work so I will attempt this 30-minute blog. (Actually, I only have 15 minutes...)

Here goes...

Christmas is upon us, as you all know. In a lot of ways we will have a better one this year. Sure, we're motherless now but we were motherless last year.

Last year's experience (which I may or may not detail at a later blog) caused me to develop a legal theory called "Virtual abandonment." I will probably write a legal paper on this sooner or later but I want it blogged now so I'll have a first crack at it.

Anyway, in a nutshell, virtual abandonment means that although a spouse or a parent is still physically present in a family, indifference or some other pathological reason makes him or her virtually or practically absent. Or put it in another way, one may be physically present in the house but by actions, attitude or the lack thereof results in virtual absence. It is as if one has "virtually abandoned" one's duties and responsiblities as a spouse and parent.

For example, and this is from a personal experience, although a wife is still physically present and still living with the family, if such presence is no more than that of a "border" or a "bedspacer" there is "virtual abandonment."

Why the significance? Here in my country, that could be grounds for a host of remedies such as legal separation or even a declaration of nulity by virtue of psychological incapacity.

Anyway, I just wanted this put out for now and I will later develop it. I even have a test case now pending in court to test this theory... my own.

That's all for now. 30-mintue blog... right?

Thursday, December 09, 2004
This day in history from:

Of course they're fine!
Bea & Nico Posted by Hello

My eldest Bea-- as you should see her

May have to call comprehensive bodyguard services at the rate this one is getting prettier and prettier...
Bea Posted by Hello

My youngest Nico-- as it should be

Nico Posted by Hello

Reports of our despair are gravely exaggerated

As the title of this blog suggests...

Ever since my last blog I have received encouraging comments and text messages. I wish to thank you all. Apparently I have caring and concerned friends, which is always a good thing.

As I have explained to another friend who read this blog, we are not in pieces. My family is still intact (with one significant part detached, of course.)

Fear is the only thing that is gripping me regarding the future of my family and I. On the one hand, I have the support of family and friends (thank you... thank you... thank you... can't thank y'all enough...). At another time, I would blog our story worthy of a Hollywood film. Has all the elements of such. There's action, drama, suspense and yes, even musical numbers. At a later time.
On the other hand, you have to admit that I DO fear for the future of my kids. Aside from the "ordinary" fears I already have going into the breakup, there's the "extra ordinary" pressures (can even call them "disabilities") we have to face. While society has thrived nowadays with a "broken" families, it is unusual today that, and I have noticed this recently, the women now are growing increasingly at fault, such as in my case. (Of course my soon to be ex-wife will dispute this to the bitter end.)
A lot of kids from separated families have their FATHERS separated from the children. In our case, though (and incidents are on the rise), the MOTHER is the one separated from the kids. Kids usually have their mothers around and not the fathers. This is the novelty. Our case is different, hence my fear.
Trrrembling in fear? OF COURSE! But not in despair. For in my heart I know it could have been worse and their situation now is much better (a redundancy of course) than we were still living together.
Perhaps the pictures set it off. For that, I apologize to my kids and shall promptly delete them now. They portrayed our present situation unfairly (if there is such a word) and inaccurately. I will replace them later with happier looking ones, without the captions.
Anyway, I like to thank my friends who cared. Don't worry, I'm sure they will be fine. I'll see to it that they will be.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004
This day in history from:

My kids and the greatest of experiments

One of my friends, Gian (known to this world as "Hashpipe") got me to thinking this blog up.

Time to reveal a little bit of what I'm going through right now. And this is where the show "ED" comes in.

I am, or we are, or my wife and I are undergoing a somewhat messy separation/custody battle right now. Messy in the building up to the actual separation itself. But now, everything is quiet.

It appears that we acted like WWE wrestlers leading up to the separation. All the trash talk, all the BS leading up the the main event which eventually fizzled out. Guess who retained his title belt?

Everthing went according to MY plan. I retained the belt, the prize-- my two kids. Everything else, the appliances, the other stuff, are all secondary.

For my wife, she ran a failed experiment. "What if I mess with my husband and try to cheat him for everything he's got?" she asked.

She got an answer and a lesson: NEVER MESS WITH A LAWYER!!!!

Right now, she she's back to where she started six years ago. From the proverbial mattress, she got demoted to the dungeon floor, with cases breeding down her neck.

For me, I ran a neutral experiment. "What if I enter into a marriage where only one party is prepared and/or capable?" You get mixed results. Some parts you regret, like all the hurt. Some parts you cherish, like beautfil kids like the ones I have now. Over-all, I got neutral results because, I think, the prepared/capable party and the one who is not cancelled each other out.

For my kids? The greatest of experiments is just unfolding:

Objective :

To find out how two children, a six year old girl and a year old boy would fare in life with a disadvantage (having only one parent)

Hypothesis :

They would fare well (depending on the materials used)

Materials :

One (1) unit devoted father
Several units of equally supportive and loving extended family
Several units of equally capable and supportive friends
Countless units of love and attention
One (1) unit overriding faith in God and that all will be well in the end

Procedure :

Mix them up and observe results.

Result :

Yet to be determined.

Torn between two practices

Lawyering was not my childhood dream.

When I was a small boy I stood up during nursery school graduation and shouted "I'm *Punzi* and when I grow up I want to become a pilot!" Then my parents promptly pinned a gold medal on me (for the "Most Outstanding" honors).

When I was in grade school, I listed "Structural Engineer" as my ambition. Then my parents pinned an "Academic Excellence" ribbon on me during that graduation.

But then when I was in high school, I attended the graduation of my cousin, the valedictorian of the State University's Law School. My dad just planted something inside me. "Try considering a career in law."

At that time, I excelled in mathematics and the sciences. Although the grades could never be better, English, both as study of language and literature were not my strong points.

I was even one of those few students who were computer literate back in 1983 when my first computer was a Commodore VIC-20 with (get this) 5k of RAM and a tape drive. One of my teachers, my computer teacher, even encouraged my to take up computer science.

My life would have been soooo different had I taken the path that is not law.

Had I taken a career path than was not in law, I would probably be writing this blog somewhere outside the Philippines, in a comfortable first-world country and on a state-of-the-art laptop instead of this Celeron 433 clunker that I affectionately feed viagra to because the lcd panel cannot stand up anymore.

Just to give you an idea of what could have been, I have a cousin that is merely a year older than me that shared my interest in computers at a very young age. He had a Commodore 64 during my VIC-20 days. Unlike me, he chose the computer career path. Where is he now? Well, somewhere in Japan, a highly-valued (and pressumably highly-paid) expat for AIG (the New Jersey main office and not he measely Philippine branch). He's just serving a tour of duty there before returning to the New Jersey main office.

That could have been me... Instead, I'm a struggling law practitioner deep in financial, emotional and situational debt due to the events of the past year. (More on this on another blog.)

Well in fairness, he's far more intelligent and gathered far higher honors and grades that I did in my academic career but that's beside the point. Had I chose another path, I would probably experience, even to a lesser degree, a life similar to my cousin's

So instead, I ended up in law practice. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a terrible lawyer. Had my fair share of triumphs and losses, but I'm probably batting in the middle 90's. That's not bad. And I have not grown tired of being a lawyer. As a matter of fact, I can't imagine doing anything else.

Which brings me to the topic of this blog...

Why torn between two practices?

Right now, I'm living a double life insofar as my law practice is concerned. On the one hand, I am a consultant for a government agency catering to the urban poor. Here, it's called alternative lawyering, a break from mainstream practice where the focus is mainly revenue/fees generation. Here, the service is public service in its truest form. Here, I'm helping the people that need legal protection the most-- the helpless, the powerless, the people that do not have places fit to be called homes.

On the other hand, I have a mainstream law practice where I handle "traditional" cases like collections, family cases and some criminal cases. This is my "bread and butter," where I get my money to pay for my 6 year old's tuition and my 1 year old's milk and diapers.

The reason for my being torn? Sometime's I feel that I'm a jack of all trades but a master of none.
Looking back, as seen above, it seems that I have been allowing life to take me where it wants me to go. To use my native tongue, nagpapadala lang sa agos ng buhay. I'm just letting life take me where it wants to go, like a paper boat thrown to the mercy of waves.

Sometimes I feel that I have to stop going where the waves take me and start steering and plotting my own course. I feel I have been sitting on the fence, playing safe for all too long. I feel I have to take control of my life.

But where? Alternative... or Mainstream? Have not decided yet. I'll let you know.

ED the TV series

Have you ever watched ED?

For those who do not know, this is a TV series about a former high-calibre Manhattan lawyer who experienced on ^&*!#$@ of a bad day.

He lost his job in the morning because one misplaced comma cost his firm a bazzillion dollars? (How much do you think that is in Philippine pesos, given our &*@#*^ exchange rate?)

Apparently that was not enough. Since he was fired, he went home unusually early. What did he discover? His wife doing the horizontal dance with a mailman she met at Starbucks...

So he gets divorced and comes home... to Stuckeyville, his hometown where he practices law and runs a bowling alley. The premise is quite wacky but the series is good.

Enough of that, discover it on your own at

The show has ended in the States but is still running in Asia, specifically here in the Philippines.

Why do I like it so much (even though I don't get watch it often)?

Story of my life... that's why! But man! That Rena Sofer's (that played the character Bonnie Hane) a real looker! She can prosecute me and lock me in her jail cell anytime...

More on this later...

Monday, December 06, 2004
This day in history from:

(Not so) First Entry

OMG! I lost my first entry!!!

Somewhere out of ignorance, I lost my first entry. Pushed the wrong button probably.

So I have to do it again...

Hi! My friends from way back in High School to today call me Punzi. I'm a practicing lawyer from the Philippines. When I tried to create this, I found out that that username "attypunzi" was already taken. So there must be another punzi who is lawyer out there. Whoever he(or she) is that is not me!!!! I'll try to look for him(or her) after I finish this.

As I am new here this blog will just contain random thoughts without focussing much on any particular subject. Slowly, I will reveal myself through these pages.

So to whoever wants to read this, please bear with me.

Thank you very much for your patience...

Disaster relief, sustainable development & community service

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Side Prayers

Lord Jesus,
Teach me to be generous,
Teach me to serve You as You deserve
To give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not to heed the wounds,
To toil and not to seek for rest,
To labor and not to ask for reward,
except that of knowing
That I do Your Holy Will. Amen

May every word I speak be from Your Truth...
I ask come from Your Wisdom...
May every case I handle receive Your Guidance...
May every heart, every life I touch, feel Your Love.

And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying,
"Oh, that You would bless me indeed,
and enlarge my territory,
that Your Hand be with me,
that You would keep me from evil,
that I may not cause pain."

So God granted him what he requested.

Side Oath

The Lawyer's Oath
I do solemnly swear that
I will maintain allegiance to
the Republic of the Philippines,
I will support its Constitution
and obey the laws as well as
the legal orders of the
duly constituted authorities therein;
I will do no falsehood,
nor consent to the doing of any in court;
I will not wittingly or willingly
promote or sue any groundless,
false or unlawful suit,
nor give aid nor consent to the same;
I will delay no man for money or malice,
and will conduct myself as a lawyer
according to the best of my knowledge
and discretion with all good fidelity
as well to the courts as to my clients;
and I impose upon myself this voluntary obligation
without any mental reservation
or purpose of evasion.
So help me God.

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