Tuesday, May 31, 2005
This day in history from:


I was busy reading other people's blogs. Then a thought dawned on me. Can I navigate back to by own blogsite using only the blogrolls/links of my blog-friends? Can I form a "blogloop"?

The answer would be an obvious yes, simply because most of the blogs I read and link have linked me back. But the rule is, you have to use the blogrolls (or links page). If the blog has none, then it's a dead end.

But I had to verify this theory. Also, how long would the chain be?

Initially, I counted 14 blogs long. Of course, it could be longer if I give this more attention.

Here's my initial "blogloop":

Jeff Vergara
Ron Allan
The J Spot
Prada Mama
Major Tom
Bing (Warmstone)
Teacher Sol
Alan Joesel

Ironically, I had to pull out the old reliable "pencil and paper" for this one.

I think the more accurate term for this is a "blogchain" because it comprises of "links" (get it?).

How about you? How long a "blogloop" can you form? I'm sure it's longer than this. Or are you thinking, "I have better things to do..."

Monday, May 30, 2005
This day in history from:

What are you "jueteng" for?

My, my, my! How the plot thickens...

A word to the beleaguered family. Your counterclaims of "destabilization," "sedition" and "undermining" are just as well-worn as your adversaries' alleged tactics. I'm guessing tomorrow, you'll let out the attack dogs to threaten everyone with prosecution. If that happens, I'm going to post a big "SEE, I WAS RIGHT!" tomorrow.

Now is simply the time to meet the issue head on. How you deal with it may define your days in power. Putting on the chiller with threats of suit may just work in the opposite and instead, fan the flames.

Good thing Miss Universe is on tomorrow. With the Filipino's legendary short-term memory, this issue may be skirted. Those who can, please vote for our Miss Philippines, Gionna Cabrera, here.


Sunday, May 29, 2005
This day in history from:

Kids' Update

Seeing the blog of The Prada Mama and how lovely her little angels are, I decided to update you on how my kids are doing. Never mind me, I'm busy as the proverbial bee with work. But somehow, I still find the time to post entries everyday. And I even have some "canned" posts ready for publication, just in case I run out of things to say someday...

My kids are doing fine. Bea, my eldest, only has a week to go before her summer vacation ends. She will be Grade I this June. From what I hear, elementary school today is murder. In my day, there was no "child stress syndrome" and the stuff they teach kids at this age today is so advanced for my taste. I always joked that at the rate the kids are going now, they would not want to attend college anymore.

I also have to furnish her school a copy of my custody order so that she will not be disturbed by that girl in school. Anyway, I can always rely on my sister to guard her there. It's so reassuring to have a court order, don't you think? But then again, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance...

She also figured in her first Santacruzan. It's probably not the last. I have the pictures in my Flickr photo sharing account if you're interested. Just click the Zeitgeist below.

Nico is also doing fine and I always see some sort of development (motor, physical and even personality) in him everyday. He never ceases to amaze me everyday with his new "antics." Plus, he's getting to be more affectionate and hence, more amiable and likeable (lovable).

Only problem is that her nanny is leaving permanently this June and her two other "ates" have "volunteered" to step up to the task (so they can share the nanny's wages, of course) so I would not have to find a replacement. I basically don't agree with this new set up but I'm willing to take this as far as it could go. I don't have the capacity now to increase their pay any other way. Of course, I made it clear that Nico and Bea's well being are the paramount concern so I will find a replacement immediately if problems occur. On the other hand, though, Bea's extended hours in school means she'll need lesser attention from them, anyway. Scholastic attention, I can share with my mom (a retired public school teacher with a career of 40 plus years). No problem in that front.

Well, I basically covered all fronts coming into the school season. Of course, I sometimes think my children could use a mother (but not their mother, mind you) at this point in time. But with a mother like that girl, it's better they don't have one. Oh well...

And no, I'm not shopping around for any "mother" candidates now or anytime soon...I'm contented with our present situation so why complicate it?

But I know, we'll manage in the end, even if I had to take care of them all myself and run a decent law practice at the same time.

In a way, though, I also feel bad for Nico. He does not realize it yet, but the one that mainly takes care of his day-to-day mundane needs is leaving in a few days. But then again, there are people who will stay with him no matter what. Us.

Finally, the so-called "second"visit of that girl is coming up in about two weeks. Judging from the so-called "first" visit, this second visit will have the same results. A no-show.

But just in case she does visit, I was thinking of setting-up my webcam into some sort of surveillance/time lapse system to monitor the visit. Can anyone help me in this regard?


Addicted to Vicks...

Blogging is but the newest of my addictions...

Sure, we all have our own little addictions. To some, it's the vices (sex, drugs, alcohol, etc.) which is bad. Some have good vices (oxymoronic?). To some, it's gaming, chatting, friendster, surfing, etc.

But I have an addiction that I had since high school. Sniffing Vicks Vaporub.

I have a big jar near my bed for easy access. You can see easily it in the picture of my laptop posted in my friendster account. As a matter of fact, there is also a small vicks container there that I take everywhere I go. And I'm actually sniffing it while blogging right now...

In fact, I immediately buy one from anywhere if I forgot to bring it with me. My high school classmates know this so well that they looked for my Vicks during our 10th anniversary reunion in 1997... Clients are not offended. In fact, they borrow my Vicks whenever they see me using it.

Mind you, I know I'm not alone in this addiction. During our family reunion last Christmas, I went up to the mic and asked, "If you have a Vicks container, please raise it up." Half the people there raised their Vicks. Genetic and/or hereditary... Some people even raised their "White Flowers."

Now that's really hardcore addiction!

Saturday, May 28, 2005
This day in history from:

A Blog-lecture on Philippine law

I'm going to do something different today. I'm going to merge my two current activities (namely lawyering and blogging) in this one blog. I believe I'm doing what La Vida Lawyer said he could do, but actually did'nt. He said he could give you this lecture. Of course he can. But I'm actually going to give it to you.

This will probably by the first of many. My first law blog-lecture.

Of course, I will not lecture my entire law school curriculum here. Just those useful to bloggers. And of course, I can only cover Philippine laws. So are you ready class? Let us begin.

A Blog-lecture on Libel


Libel is defined in Article 353 of the Philippine Revised Penal Code as follows:

A libel is a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act or omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.

For an imputation then to be libelous, hence criminal, the following requisites must concur:
(a) it must be defamatory;
(b) it must be malicious;
(c) it must be given publicity; and
(d) the victim must be identifiable.

By requisites, we mean, all of these must be present in any potential case for libel. Hence, there is no libel of any one of these is absent.

Let us tackle each requisite in seriatim (one after another, in series):

1. Defamatory Imputation

According to Article 353, a defamatory imputation attributes to any legal person (natural or jurdical; alive or dead), any of the following (aka, let's break it down...):

a. a crime (ex. Mr. X is an estafador, a murderer or [insert your favorite crime here];

b. a vice (ex. Ms. I is an alcoholic, a drug addict, a compulsive gambler, etc.)

c. a defect (ex. Mr. Z's has only four toenails, or has low sperm count)

d. any act or ommission (ex. Mr. S does/does not donate to the sperm bank, Mr. E conned me out of 50 bucks, etc.)

e. a condition (ex. Mr. MT is pscho, OC or AR)

f. a status (ex. Mr. BF is a bar/board-flunker, an ex-con or an ex-convento)

g. a circumstance (ex. Ms. BK's car got repossessed, etc.)
that tends to cause the one defamed dishonor, discredit, or contempt. If the person is dead, the foregoing tends to blacken his memory.

The important thing is the effect. If such imputation tends to the dishonor, discredit or contempt, or if the person is dead, tends to blacken his memory, the imputation is defamatory.

The characterization of a statement being defamatory is likewise important because of the next portion.

2. Malicious Intent

There is malice when the author of the imputation is prompted by personal ill-will or spite and speaks not in response to duty but merely to injure the reputation of the person who claims to have been defamed.

Under Philippine laws, every defamatory imputation as stated above is presumed to be malicious, even if true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown. Hence, if the imputation is qualified under No. 1, malice is presumed and need not be proven. The burden, then, to prove that it is not malicious shifts to the one accused (the one who made the defamatory imputation).

Truth is therefore not a defense, unless it is shown that the matter charged as libelous was made with good motives and for justifiable ends. Article 361 of the Revised Penal Code provides, in part, as follows:

"ART. 361. Proof of truth. — In every criminal prosecution for libel, the truth may be given in evidence to the court and if it appears that the matter charged as libelous is true, and, moreover, that it was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the defendant shall be acquitted."
This presumtion is not applicable to all cases. In the following situations, however, malice, is not presumed and must, therefore, be also proved to make a libel case:
1. A private communication made by any person to another in the performance of any legal, moral or social duty; and

2. A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or remarks, of any judicial, legislative or other official proceedings which are not of confidential nature, or of any statement, report or speech delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by public officers in the exercise of their functions.
The privileged character of these communications is not absolute, but merely qualified since they could still be shown to be malicious by proof of actual malice or malice in fact. Here, the burden of proof to prove malice is on the plaintiff or the prosecution.

3. Publication

Publication means "to make public; to make known to people in general; to bring before the public." In the Philippines, the act of communicating the imputation to a third person already constitutes publication. In letters and correspondences, the cc: is enough to be considered publication.

Specifically put, publication in the law of libel means the making known of the defamatory matter, after it has been written, to some person other than the person of whom it is written. If the statement is sent straight to a person of whom it is written, there is no publication of it.

Putting it out in a blog is definitely publication because third persons definitely read it.

The reason for this is a communication of the defamatory matter to the person defamed cannot injure his reputation though it may wound his self-esteem.

What is punished in libel is the destruction of his reputation, what others think of him and not what he thinks of himself (his self-esteem). The only way that is accomplished is by attacking his good name in public.

4. The person defamed must be identified

Face it. The only way ruin one's reputation to actually identify the person. Each person's reputation is unique. If the character attack is general (all/some generals/government officials/[insert your favorite character] are corrupt/immoral/etc.), there is really no particular reputation destroyed. Hence, to prove libel the victim thereof must be identified.

Remember, identified does not equal named. If the description is precise enough that people will make no mistake or reasonably conclude that it is a particular person, there is already identification even if no names were mentioned.

The principles of libel become a little bit more complicated when the victim is a public official. That will have to wait for another blog...next time.

*(taken/derrived mostly from the Supreme Court case Alonzo vs. CA, GR. No. 110088, 01 February 1995 that quotes other cases)

But at this point, do you have any questions class?

Friday, May 27, 2005
This day in history from:


No matter who you are, you always fail to find the right words when faced with people you idolize.

Yes, I mean, this even applies to me despite attending college twice. (Once for pre-law and the second for law proper, or "Juris Doctor" as conferred upon me).

Despite being a new lawyer way back in 1996 (hey! That's almost ten years ago...), I was already working for a good half year and was being introduced as a lawyer by the firm I was working for before I even passed the bar (That was scary...what if I didn't pass?...). One of my first assignments as a newbie lawyer was Assistant Corporate Secretary for our firm's client, a famous beach resort (where Angelo just spent his vacation on).

As it was a class resort (then a membership club), I was given the royal treatment during my first visit. I mean the works! Free food (always my weakness), amiable and nubile hosts (they were so pretty to look at and some of them are still my friends) and a helicopter ride to the resort!

(An aside: That resort is a four-hour drive from Quezon City, maybe three hours now given the North Luzon Expensiveway. But with a helicopter, you're there in 15 minutes from Makati! The trip was so short that once, a group left that resort by land at 2:30 pm. We left at about a quarter to 5:00 pm. by helicopter. When I arrived at the law school where I committed to play for that year's bar reviewees, they were utterly surprized when I said I just arrived from that resort fifteen minutes ago. The ones that left by land were still probably somewhere in the Pampanga that time...Helicopter rides are fantastic, but so scary...)

Now on to the main story. I arrived during the time Michael Biehn and Adrian Paul were shooting a movie nearby and hence, were billeted there. Forget Mr. Biehn, I've been following Highlander: the Series back in law school! Since I did not have the time to watch TV during weekdays, I "acquired" the appropriate degree to program my VCR and tape this show. Then, I watch a month's supply per sitting.

Here I was, standing mere inches away from someone I have only seen (and admired) on TV...There he looked on the thin side. In person, he was a well-built and tall man, with pecs that would make beauty queens insecure about their chests. And he really knew martial arts, not merely acting that he knows.

So the host introduced me to Adrian Paul, and he was so friendly. "Hi, Punzi," he said. (Of course he said my first name, but I don't want to say it here....)

Literally looking up to him in utter shock, what did I say in reply?

"Loved you in Highlander!"

OMG! He slowly backed away, probably thinking I was actually "in love" with him. Well, of course not! But that only goes to show (from personal experience) that even a lawyer who uses words for a living cannot find the correct words to say when starstruck...

Thursday, May 26, 2005
This day in history from:

Do the math...

There is a serious question that bugs my mind...

How can a President, who probably earns less than a junior executive in a bank, in an economy that is suffering last year and still continues to suffer, given also a world economy under the same hole actually EARN money during these times? She must probably be a financial genius!

I just hope our President transplants her secrets to this personal financial success into the Philippine economy. That's what we are paying her to do.

Starbucks: The Board/Bar reviewee's new study place

For people reviewing to pass any governmental licensure exams, finding a good place to study is also key.

Personally, I have found my house, with all the creature-comforts (and distractions such as my bed...), to be the perfect place to study then. Even during law school, I would study at home and only leave when I'm have finished the day's assigned readings. You see, I worked/studied (and continue to work) alone.

During bar review, La Vida Lawyer went to the review school's library (a mere ten minute's walk away), while I stayed in the condo until review classes start.

For some people, however, study equals group study. Some students need the reassuring presence of peers to encourage them to press on. Some students need friends to do all the "nitty-gritty" detail work so they can just build on what these tedious ones have accomplished so far.

I have been noticing that Starbucks has been a popular review place, particularly the branches in Rockwell, Quezon Avenue, Katipunan and Tomas Morato. I also heard the new Commonwealth branch has been host to a lot of reviewees, not just for the bar but also for nursing licensure exams.

Believe me, I can spot a law student (or a bar reviewee) from miles away. They carry hard bound books with their names engraved on the cover. They usually have book holders in their tables as they sip their latte, capuccino, or whatever italian beverage they ordered. (I personally prefer german beverages, but I digress). Also, they are usually heavy smokers. Caffeine and nicotine are powerful companions of the reviewee.

It's therefore the accessibility to caffeine, the comfy furniture (if you can get to them first), the possibility of studying in groups, and access to nicotine fixes that makes Starbucks the place to review. The lighting, however, is bad.

Since it has also been "in" to study law nowadays, law school/bar reviewee girls are becoming better looking. Sometimes, my friend (another lawyer whose name sounds like a famous actor) and I just go to Starbucks Katipunan just to admire "the view."

With that, I secretly wish to conduct a "review" class in Starbucks on how to pass the bar, using some of the tips I have blogged before. So I can impress, these nubile ones...Oh just please bear with me, I'm as dry as Death Valley right now!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005
This day in history from:


(With apoligies to Marvin Hamlish and Carol Bayer-Sager)

I’m afraid to fly
And I don’t know why
I’m jealous of the people who
Are not afraid to lie

It’s just that I recall
Back when my blog's small
Someone promised that they’d catch me
And then they let me troll

And now I’m trollin’
Trollin’ fast again
Why do I always make a troll
When I troll in blogs

You’d think by now I’d learn
Play with fire you get burned
But fire can be oh so warm
And that’s why I re-tagged

Turn and walk away
That’s what I should do
My head says go and find the door
My heart says I’ve found you

And now I’m trollin’
Trollin’ fast again
Why do I always make a troll
When I troll in blogs

Help me I’m trollin’
Trollin’ fast again
Why do I always make a troll
When I troll in blogs

Hatin’ someone, losin’, myself
Only got me to blame
Help me I’m trollin’


Catch me if you can

Maybe this time I’ll have it all
Maybe I’ll make it after all
Maybe this time I won’t troll
When I troll in blogs...

An appeal to smokers, please stop

Samuel Bilibit's post inspired me to write this one. Well, I have to give credit where credit is due. But I also make this blog motivated by nothing else but sheer concern for you and your well-being.

I know you smokers think smoking relieves your stress, is good with coffee, is already a hard habit to break, is great after *beep*, projects a lot of sex appeal, yada, yada, yada. I know a lot of your reasons. We used to live with a smoker. You can think of a thousand and one reasons why continue smoking.

I can only think of a few to quit.

1. Don't complain that times are hard because you can still afford a puff or two.

Our retired driver once told me a story that made him quit.

Once, times were hard and they were barely surviving. One of his children asked him for 25 centavos to buy some snacks because he was hungry. He said he had no money. But almost at the same time, he habitually and mechanically bought one stick (then also worth 25 cents) and began to smoke it. The sheer magnitude of his realization came down on him and his conscience. So much that he threw the stick away after only one puff and vowed never again to smoke.

2. Smoking kills.

Yeah, you all know this. Smoking causes cancer. I could show you graphic images here but I'm squeamish too. Just let your fingers (on the keyboard) do the walking...if you want.

A doctor-guest in my dad's radio program on alternative living (I'll plug it on some future blog because it's beside the point), pointed out that when you are diagnozed with lung cancer, don't attempt to treat it because it'll just be a waste of money. It cannot be cured.

We recently lost a cousin (and a dear friend of my father's since they were the same age. Yes, we are a big clan, but again I digress) to lung cancer. And from what I have seen, dying of cancer is not a good way to die.

We also lost a good teacher more than a few years ago (no, not the one I blogged about recently, but another priest, Fr. Jess Lucas, S.J., the only teacher that gave me a grade of 100...in RELIGION! May he rest in peace...) to lung cancer. From second hand smoke. Yes, our dear teacher was a non-smoker but was in the company of quite a few during his lifetime.

So it's bad enough that you are killing yourself. Technically, you are killing the people around you, as well.

There you have it. Only two reasons. I hope they're enough.

So to all you smokers (my friends, relatives, officemates, and you, Sam) please stop. Please.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005
This day in history from:

Endangered Species

Not only is the Philippines a "murderous" place for journalists. It has also become a "dangerous place" for us lawyers and judges. See the related news article here.

According to that report, there were 11 harassment cases, 3 lawyers and one law student killed since this January.

First, a side (lawyer) joke:

Q: What do you call 10,000 lawyers under the sea?
A: A good start!

To this people who would do such acts against us, here's what I want to say:

1. Your actual beef is with our clients, not us. And killing us will not contribute to your cause a single bit. Another lawyer (yes, we literally grow on trees) will just take our place.

2. If you DO have actual beef with us, you know where to complain, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. There are only a few of us who will sacrifice his/her license for a single client or cause (unless it's a personal one, of course). Personally, I'm not about to throw away all the hardship and pain I went through law school, bar review and actual bar exams only to throw it away to push something that is wrong, unethical and/or illegal. I can only think of only two people who did this and both of them were law professors in my law school. And they thought they were doing the right thing. They did it for principles, according to them.

3. Contrary to popular belief, we do not make right any wrong, or vice-versa. We just exploit (remember this well) exemptions to laws. Do not refer to them as loopholes since it sounds bad.

One of the first things you learn when studying law is its structure. I'll share it with you:

"For every law there is and exemption, and for every exemption, and exemption to that exemption."

4. Don't scare us. We're already scared.

5. Don't shoot the messenger. And don't shoot the one who sent the message, either. Bad yun. ("That's bad.")

Greenhills: A Gadget Freak's Paradise

This place never ceases to amaze me.

When I was small (to be precise, very young) this was the only place where you can really go to. You see, I used to attend school near there (not La Salle Greenhills, mind you...) and that was the nearest comparison to a mall at that time.

When all these gigantic malls have been put up, this place still has a niche. Now, it's the celphone, "DIBIDI," PS2, PC software and gadget heaven. Being a gadget freak myself, I am naturally drawn to this place.

I recently bought a wireless gun controller for my PS2 but the input jack is the standard "yellow" RCA plug. I have been used to plugging my console through the "S-video" jack, through a specialty AV cable since the picture quality improvement is significant. Hence, I had to switch back to the "ordinary" cables everytime I play Time Crisis 3, Crisis Zone or Vampire Night. Reaching down the back of the console that is "well-entrenched" in its place is likewise a hassle.

Surfing the net, I discovered the existence of a specialty cable that has S-video output but also has a guncon port near the plug to the console. It looks something like this:

Made the rounds of almost all SM, Ever Gotesco and Robinsons malls, the specialty store salespersons did not even know what this looks like. I thought I'd have to buy the thing from the net, something I have not even tried for security reasons.

As a last resort, I went to Greenhills. I had no idea where to look because I heard Virra Mall was renovating. Fortunately, there were poster saying Shopsville hosted all the PS2/PC stores that used to be there. So I went in to look and guess what? I found it in the second store I entered. HOOOORRAAAAY! And it works (spoken in the accent of the girl in La Salle Scandal)!

I now have S-video quality picture for my guncon games, without straining to change cables every time I play them.

And the image quality for these games likewise shows a remarkable difference.

And of course, some of you cannot relate to this. Some more are thinking: Why is this mid-thirties lawyer still playing video games? I'm not alone, mind you. Ron Allan and I are two peas in a pod...

To them, I just plead to bear with me. At least I don't smoke, excessively drink or womanize...

By the way, I almost bought a new celfone, too...good for me I was able to resist....

Monday, May 23, 2005
This day in history from:

Raise your hand to the level of your eye...

I was not intending to write about this but Em2em's Blog on it made me do it.

I said to myself some ten odd years ago that I have to watch this broadway musical (by Andrew Lloyd Weber, et. al.) sometime before I die.

Call me a hopeless romantic (with emphasis on the hopeless), but I'm such a fan (like I'm such a fan of the Highlander, but I already met Adrian Paul in person, more on that in another blog...). I bought my tape of the musical excepts way back in 1991. When I finally can afford to buy the double-disc version of the original London cast recording, it became a "hard to find" item. I somehow located it in an obscure section of a popular record store. I also bought the songbook (the original score), which I ocassionally play for fun.

Then, this life-long wish came true when they made this musical into a movie. The first song, "Think of Me," melted me at once. "Music of the Night" (no, not "All I Ask of You"), finished me off.

Who cares if I will not see Sarah Brightman (as Christine Daae) and Michael Crawford (as the Opera Ghost) perform their epic pieces. No one will again, anyway, unless they plan a reunion performance. I still have that CD to remember them by.

Anyway, the actors in the movie did it justice, particulary Emmy Rossum (drool...). It's so much different when you just hear the music and watching the musical in film.

So now, if I could just find a way to see the Vatican, the Louve, Venice, Egypt, the Holy Land and the Smithsonian, my life would be complete. Perhaps Teacher Sol can help me with that last place...but that would asking too much...

Oh, well. Perhaps someday...

Sunday, May 22, 2005
This day in history from:

Blogging for Apples

Bing's blog on Some Bloggers has something to say. If you have not read it by now, READ IT. I believe this will be the buzz around the Philippine Blogging scene for days to come. Someone has to say it and it took Bing to say it. For that alone, I salute you.

Reactions to this blog range in the extremes.

JJ Disini chose to treat it as "practical advise on how to handle yourself as a blogger." A sober and safe comment. If I was in his situation, I'd comment the same way, if I would comment at all.

Jove, on the other hand, wanted to capture that blog's essence even in his blog's title Superiority Complex. I think he succeeded.

As for me, I have a pretty good idea on who Bing referred to in her blog. Personally, though I never met this blogger in person (did not go to the summit due to a previous commitment and do you think I will even reveal the gender, eh?), I cannot pass judgment on the blogger. That person may be a good one once you get to know the same (still no gender hints...).

But I can certainly say something about the blog. I personally have nothing against the blog or the blogger but I find the writing style too much like a newspaper column already. The writing already assumes that this blog or its blogger already has the power to shape or form public opinion when of course, its influence only stretches our blogging community. In short, I find the blog a wee bit too arrogant for my taste. In two words: Not impressed.

(Of course my opinion, supposedly, does not count to the blogger and the blog's devotees because they're "too high up there" to read my blog anyway. And if they do, what are they gonna do? Sue me? I eat, drink, sleep and breathe lawsuits... Troll? Then you'll really know they don't deserve attention since you'll see they're all insincere...)

That brings me to anyone's motivation to blog. I personally blog for expression and a chance to practice my writing. I did not (and still do not) blog for popularity, for "google points" or for "hits." I'm even thinking of removing all my tracking tools lest I be accused of being a hypocrite.

To blog for popularity, you don't even have to write well or write intellectually edifying stuff. Just ask Benedict XVI and view his blog. Res ipsa loquitur. But I like this particular blog, mind you and I read it everyday.

Likewise as Jove said, in the blogosphere, there are no leaders or followers. "This new frontier called blogosphere does not have room for leaders, just the assurance that the sense of individualism among us is protected and nurtured. we are not followers... we, in fact, came here to be ourselves. to be followers of our own choices."

Bravo! Well said, Jove!

My two cents on the matter. More power to you and Bing! The freedom of expression makes the blogosphere, and the internet for that matter, a truly great place to be in. And to stay.

Saturday, May 21, 2005
This day in history from:

Mr. Boy Bawang

A client of mine introduced me to the owner/proprietor of "Boy Bawang" cornicks a few days ago.

As I'm a fan of conrnicks myself, I particularly liked this product. Costing a measly one peso per pack, you'll never eat just one...But some people will scold you for eating too much salty food...And there has been some talk about the cleanliness of his manufacturing/repacking processes.

And Mr. Boy Bawang was likewise as humble as his product. He did not strike me as overbearing or arrogant. He even drives the same type of car as I do...and I know he makes my weight in gold in a matter of days.

This client of mine asked me if I wanted to have him as my client. Of course I did not want to appear too overeager. But secretly, I may even work for the guy for a continuous supply of his product...

If that deal materializes, all of us in the house will be so happy...

Friday, May 20, 2005
This day in history from:

The Pedestrian Traffic Enforcer

In my twenty-three years of driving (I learned how to drive when I was twelve), I have witnessed more than a lot of pedestrians crossing the street then raising their hands commanding you to stop like a cop. It's as if they have telekinetic powers or they have MMDA deputization to stop traffic just for them.

Ah, this is but one of the facets of the truly Filipino phenomenon called the "death-defying" pedestrian.

The evil side of me wants to see, for once, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle stuck in this position rigor mortis. Somebody slap me...that's too cruel. And it's not as if I never did this when I crossed the street...

Thursday, May 19, 2005
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In defense of Advertising Billboards

The Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines (the "OAAP") has been a client of mine for the past five years. And I'm the only one who has developed a practice in this field as a sub-specialty, as far as I know of course.

Detractors of this industry are not new given its forty-year history. From the time of Imelda Marcos clearing Roxas Boulevard of billboards to the draft bill of the good Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, characterizing billboards as "blight," hence her Senate Bill No. 1714 (the proposed "Billboard Blight Act"), the OAAP has been in the forefront of resposible, legal and ethical standards in outdoor advertising. I even helped revising their Code of Ethics and By-laws myself a few months back.

So why is there an uproar now?

1. Cause of Accidents?

Some attribute these billboards as a cause of traffic accidents. This is just a popular misconception and there was never a study of this in the Philippines. Sure, there may be studies abroad but even an ordinary person would understand the peculiar traffic conditions in the Philippines. If at all there are traffic accidents caused by these billboards (and I'm not even going to concede this), it would be only minor fender-benders, not the major life-taking ones. Everyone knows that in rush hour traffic, one rarely travels above 50 kph and the average speed is only in the middle 20s. People stuck in traffic have all the time to view Cindy Kurleto, Diana Zubiri, Aubrey Miles, Phomela Barranda and... shudder Kris Aquino and Sandara Park in all their glory. If they nick an ocassional bumper, fender or door, it's probably their fault already. They are the ones driving, not these women of billboards.

2. Clutter?

The OAAP Code of Ethics and Trade Practices prescribes a viewing distance of 200 meters line of sight from the intended audience in cities (300 meters outside cities). Too technical? It simply means you must see the billboard from 200 meters away. Anything nearer is considered blocking.

This rule not only takes care of the business ethics portion of billboard advertising, it should also theoretically take care of clutter.

So why is there still clutter? Simply because not all outdoor firms are OAAP members. Hence, not all follow this rule. Why are there still non-OAAP members? The advertisers patronize them, to get the "best" site. They do not care whether they clutter/obstruct or not for as long as their ads are seen.

Also, advertising on national road rights-of-way are clearly illegal under existing laws. (Road rights-of-way=middle of the road, from sidewalk to sidewalk).The only things allowed there are traffic/informational signs.

So why can you still see advertising along the MRT posts and on pedestrian overpasses? As in most Philippine issues, implementation problems, my friend.

In fairness, the MMDA tried to implement this rule on the MRT posts but they are still there up to now. The ad company (a non-OAAP member, of course) got an injunction and the case is still pending. It even made a press release that it won in the Court of Appeals but all they really won was the the right to change the ads periodically. The OAAP is following this case intently and will make the appropriate action in the appropriate time. But that's all I can legally say about that case.

The DPWH is supposed to be on top of the situation but it obviously is not doing its job simply because these illegal ads are still there.

3. Objectionable Content?

Finally, we move to the issue of content. To this I say the old "Don't shoot the messenger..." dialogue. For the record, I'll say that the outdoor firm does not have control over the content. It is the advertiser (translation: the owner of the product/service shown in the billboard) that dictates it. This is also the domain of the Advertising Board of the Philippines or simply the ADBOARD (although is one of the founding members).

Before, pre-screening of billboard content was done on a purely voluntary basis. But after that Kinse Años controversy, I think this rule has changed. The OAAP is in the process of requiring an ADBOARD clearance before it puts up the advertiser's sign.

I even had one client (one of the biggest outdoor firm here) almost sued because it refused to show an ad with the model showing moderate cleavage. The ADBOARD receives and actually acts upon complaints by issuing cease and desist orders (remember Nakatikim ka na ba ng kinse anyos?...), which the ADBOARD (PANA) member advertiser has to follow.

Besides, there are constitutional issues involved in the matter of advertising content which cannot be dealt with in a single blog.

I have presented the side of the outdoor advertiser in the interest of fair play and I'm not getting paid for this blog, mind you. Well, not directly at least. But I personally believe in their cause, otherwise I would have not accepted them also as clients the same way as I will not take any bus company as a client.

Of course, you will form your own opinion about these issues. But at least you heard both sides and not just the "popular, bandwagon" one.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005
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The four day workweek experiment...

As a government consultant, I'm not really affected by this new four-day workweek experiment.

But since the terms of my engagement in this government office sometimes require me to be actually in that office, I have my share of complaints...

1. It's counterproductive. Especially when the companion memorandum came out...the 8:00 am power up, 5:00 pm aircon shutdown rule. This makes these non-aircon hours almost (I take it back, completely) useless.

2. It's based on false economy (aka., false savings). The government does not really save on this because utilities make up a small fraction of its expenditures. The bulk of government expenses goes to salaries and wages that remained unchanged.

3. Causes sleep deprivation or biological clock disruptions. Face it, we're creatures of habit and we frown upon any change. Of course, people will get used to this in time, if we stick to it long enough.

Of course, there are advantages:

1. Long weekends. (To some, reason enough...gulp gulp gulp gulp gulp!)

2. Theoretical savings for employees since they spend on laundry, transporation, etc. on four days instead of five. (Of course, the gulp gulp gulp gulp glug glug glug brought about by the long weekend may counteract these savings, even overpower it.)

3. Theoretical traffic alleviation since the rush hour gets split into four periods (the 6:00 am, the 8:00 am., the 5:00 pm and the 6:30 pm) instead of just the 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.

How about my fellow government bloggers out there, what do you say?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005
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Police Story

Once upon a time, there were these policemen who were in counterinsurgency training in Cebu.

There were training very hard in honing their skills. They became very good at it and their superiors armed them with the latest weapons.

Then they were sent out to battle at sea. They lost.

To whom? Not the NPA. Not the MILF. Not the Abu Sayaf or Jemah Islamiah. They lost to DIKYA! (Jellyfish!)

This is based on a true story... They're better off playing Counterstrike instead...

Monday, May 16, 2005
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Pacquiao's "Pakyaw"

During the lunch break, I mentioned to Punk Sinatra that Manny Pacquiao's "epic" batte with Erik Morales was already released in DVD and VCD formats.

C'mon! Who'll buy this? You're better off selling these things to the Mexicans than to Filipinos. Admit it. You know while Filipinos love the underdog (which Manny was not), they hate losers (deep deep down...). Especially this one who was not even humble and blamed everyone else for his defeat in the talk show rounds. Well, those people blamed were not the one who lost in the ring.

Manny, just be humble enough to acknowledge you underestimated the guy and/or he was really better than you and vow to better yourself next time. Eating humble pie is definitely better than that arrogant stance. You'll sell this video better and get more product endorsements that way. Oh, by the way, Filipinos also hate arrogant people, too.

And no matter how many times you replay this video, Manny still looses everytime.

Saturday, May 14, 2005
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Journalist's Killing Fields

The Philippines has experienced a lot of publicized killings recently. The most common nowadays are politicians and journalists.

Let me focus this blog on the journalists since we bloggers may be counted as "one of them" already...

Why are they being killed in record numbers today?

I believe this phenomenon is a function of two things, namely:

1. The journalists are getting reckless. In the Philippines, there are two things that are not protected by the constitutional right to free speech. One is pornography, the other libelous (or slanderous) remarks.

Some journalists use their venues to malign and viciously attack characters, taking advantage of our "slap on the wrist" libel laws (though you can ask for a lot of damages) and our slow-grinding justice system (believe me, you'll be frustrated just how terribly slow it can be). Also, choose your words wisely and you can beat our libel laws but deliver the same malicious message to the public about someone.

I think that some journalists have styled their operations akin to "showbiz" or "entertainment" journalists. You simply cannot do that in serious matter, especially when the targets can retaliate in a major way, rather that just cry and issue counterstatements or denials.

Whoever said that "Sticks and stones..." quote may not have experienced having their persons or reputations savagely attacked in the airwaves or in print. Launching such an attack will surely be taken as an act of war. And with the justice system here, these recipients of such bad publicity may resort to taking the law into their hands. Some of them already did.

Did you know that if you're a police officer here, you get an instant "show cause" memo the moment your name gets mentioned in any one of the tabloids? In the Philippine National Police, get you're name into these columns, you are already presumed guilty until proven innocent. Believe me, I know, for this is first hand information.

Also, if you're a government official, any bad press you get is enough to trigger an Ombudsman investigation. If the Office of the Ombudsman accepts anonymous letters, what more the words journalists spew out?

Moreover, I've seen the demeanor of some hosts of this "tele-entrapment" shows prevalent now. When they don't have anything anomalous to report, they stir something up by provoking fights with security guards. When these guards fight back, they use the law pounce of these legally defenseless ones. How low can you go? Pick on someone your own size...

To these journalists, Sun Tsu said, "Know your enemy and know yourself." Those who managed to get themselves killed apparently did not listen to this golden advise. Of course they can always say,"if I'm killed, you know who did it." Really? And if we do know, you're still dead and your family suffers your loss...

Just remember this: Walk and talk like you're untouchable and someone is bound to test your arrogance... and succeed.

2. There is a perceived lack of effectiveness in our police. While indeed, the actual killers have been apprehended, their masterminds have been elusive. Also, I think the police are less visible now than with the last police chief.

With less police visibility, there will be a perception that you can get away with murder. And that's how this killers and their employer's think.

With these two factors, I believe the solution is two-fold:

1. While the government cannot regulate journalists for obvious constitutional reasons, the journalists themselves should regulate their own ranks. They have to draw the line at some point, a balance between delivering the truth and merely assassinating characters.

If you're a reporter, stick to reporting. There is a phenomenon here that even reporters already inject opinions into their reports. Their editors should be vigilant of this.

If you want to comment on the news, make it clear from the very start that it is merely your opinion. If you can't but still want to express your opinion, just blog, get a column or a talk show. But blogging is the most accessible for you. Of course libelous remarks are easier proven in print (even e-print) than in radio. Just be mindful of that so pick your words very carefully.

Also, try to practice some professionalism in your trade. Treat every person the way you want to be treated. You know, there is a reason why The Golden Rule is called golden. (No, it is not the rule that says: "He who has gold, rules!")

2. To the law enforcers, be visible and erase this perception that you can get away with murder these days. But do not resort to mindless arrests because we will skin you alive in court and before your superiors when you loose your badges and get thrown in jail with the ones you put there.

My two cents on the matter.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005
This day in history from:

Fr. Prudencio Macayan, S.J. , 84

Last night, I met some high school friends at the wake of our 3rd year moderator (or class adviser), Fr. Prudencio Macayan, S.J.

He taught Mathematics (in our case, Geometry) for 33 years in the Ateneo de Manila High School. He died last 08 May 2004 at age 84, after being in retirement for only two years. I was even surprised about the "who's who" that came yesterday, that these people went through Fr. Macayan.

I personally had a bad feeling already when I saw in the Ateneo's website that the high school was looking for a new Physical Plant Director, a position Fr. Macayan occupied all this time.

Known as a "terror" and a strict disciplinarian during our time, he never forgot to address us as "men" back when we were in the throws of puberty. During last night's homily, his fellow Jesuits called him "Fr. Mac." We used to call him "Mad Mac," alluding to some sort of a "Mad Max" driving a "pimp'd out" Volkwagen Beetle.

He taught us geometry under a mango tree, back in 1986 during the time when the Philippines was about to throw out a dictator.

Hindsight is always 20/20.

How we hated, despised and, at the same time, feared, respected and even loved this mentor of ours. He brought order into our chaos, discipline into our unruliness, direction into our scatteredness. Again looking back, he never failed to address us as "men," and it was even the first word that we heard during third year. And he did transform us into men during our time.

We were the most undisciplined, unruly, scattered and disunited class during our second year. That is probably the reason why God sent Fr. Macayan on a mission to transform us into men. After he was through with us, a lot of his fellow teachers wanted to be our class moderator going into 4th year (of course, our 4th year class moderator was equally worthy, but that's another story). We became men. He succeeded.

Now, we appreciate him, respect him, love him for what he has taught us. More than the theorems of geometry, which we may have forgotten now. He taught us how to be men.

I still remember his famous quote, "Remember men, CRAM does not pay!"

"Mad Mac" is dead. We thank him and we will miss him. And the world will not be the same without him.

Monday, May 09, 2005
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Our Mother's Day

I did not want to post this until our Mother's Day was over. So this is how our day went...

1. Had to leave to meet my witnesses for today's hearing and to see the "scene of the crime."

2. Bought children their regular rations (you know, milk, diapers, insect repellent, etc.)

3. Played video games the rest of the afternoon.

This was supposed to be the first visit of that girl to her children. But she texted me that she had a fever and may not come. When I told this to Bea, she breathed a sigh of relief. Tells you something how she feels about her mother, doesn't it?

But knowing her for so long, she probably went on a drinking spree the night before and was just anticipating the hang-over. Believe me, I have covered for her work lots of times with that "fever" excuse. When I relayed this news to Bea's yaya, we both laughed because we knew that was just an excuse. And a lame one at that. We all know her equation: Lagat equals Lasing (Fever equals Hang-over).

It's a shame she's still using that even on her own children. Shows you what kind of a mother she is and why I have sole custody over my children to take her place. My children deserve better.

Anyway, my sister and nieces came over late afternoon and my children had a wonderful time playing with their cousins. It was a good thing I bought a ton of fish crackers during my grocery run...

Bea gave my sister two, count 'em, two mother's day cards that she made herself. She said the other one's from Nico... Such a sweet kid.

I was happy for my children. Well at the same time, I pity them because their lives will never be normal. At the very least, every Mother's Day henceforth...

Sunday, May 08, 2005
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My Computer History

Only a few people know this but I could have been in computer industry.

My so-called "love affair" with computers goes all the way back to the late seventies. Though not technically a computer, my dad bought me an Atari 2600

and it was not strictly a computer because it only played games. But I remember the countless hours I spent on it.

In 1983, however, I got the Commodore VIC-20:

This was my first formal "computer." A quick review of its specs floored me. Run by a CMOS 6502 1Mhz chip, it has 5k RAM and 20K ROM and loaded programs by a tape drive for an average load time of 5 minutes.

Imagine that. I used to get by with these specs. A typical MS Word document occupies more memory that this baby's RAM. And in 5 minutes, one can download 5 mp3 songs (with a DSL connection, of course).

With this computer I leaned to program in BASIC and machine language.

I could have gone further in computer programming. However, I was sidetracked into pursuing law and hence, those days were over.

Then, I had my PC-clones:

1. An XT-286 with a 20MB Hard Drive, 64K RAM, running Wordperfect 5.0, Lotus 123, Harvard Presentation Graphics

2. A 386 running Windows 3.0 and related applications

3. A 386 monochrome laptop, running Windows 3.0 with a 2.4 Kbps modem. I used to visit BBS's with this baby...

3. A 486 DX2-66Mhz running Windows 95, a CD-ROM drive and an external 14.4Kbps modem

4. A 486 DX4-100Mhz with the same specs.

5. A Pentium-100.

6. A Pentium II-350Mhz (which I still have). Originally, it had an 8Gb Hard Drive, 32 Mb Ram. Now, it has 256Mb RAM and 20 gigs of hard drive space,
a 16X CD writer, a USB 2.0 expansion card that runs its WiFi USB dongle. Still works well although my father uses it now. Surprisingly, it now runs on a Windows XP OS with some minor speed irritations.

7. An Acer Celeron 433 clunker with 160Mb RAM, 6Gb Hard Drive, a 24X CD-ROM and a built-in 56Kbps modem. It still works and my daughter uses it for web-surfing as it also has a WiFi dongle.

8. A Duron 800Mhz, now pimped up with DVD-ROM, a CD writer, 512 Mb RAM, 40Gb Hard Disk and WiFi.

9. And my latest baby, my Celeron 1.3Ghz laptop.

Here, my computer use was limited to applications. Never got around to taking up programming again.

Of course, I had my share of PDAs:

1. My first one was a Sharp organizer I won in a company Christmas Party raffle. I think it had 8Kb of memory.

2. Then, I got a Palm M100. It was a good device, though lacking in memory (only 2Mb) and ran on 2 AAA batteries. Backing-up to a computer was a must.

3. Though easy to use, I was not satisfied with the Palm OS so I got a iPaq 3760 with a CF adapter with extra batteries and a 64 Meg CF Card. I ditched it when the internal battery gave out and HP refused to repair it.

4. Now, I have my iPaq 2210 with an extra battery, a 256Mb SD card, a 128 Mb CF card, a CF Modem and CF WiFi adapter and an extra 128 Mb SD card for songs.

Looking back even on my own computer history, I am amazed how things have progressed. From being satisfied with 5K of RAM, even the 256 Megs on the SD card
(even with the extra 128 megs on the other card) and the 40 gigs from the hard drive will not satisfy our needs anymore. Now, even my PDA is faster than my Pentium II-350 that still works...

Try tracing your computer history and see how far you have come... and where we are going...

Saturday, May 07, 2005
This day in history from:


Sorry guys for not blogging recently...

Last week was murderous. Had a lot of work to do compounded by the May tuition rush. There was so much work that my small mom-and-pop operation (excuse me: pop only to be technical, more on that later) could not handle the load. Had to outsource them to my two affiliated law firms.

Of course that means more revenue which is always good. But the workload approaches the level I was in before my hiatus. You know, before all the things I have blogged about came to pass.

That's the beauty of a free-lancer. You get to chose how much or how little you can work. For the past two years, I'd say I was at 80% tops (80% of what? My workload when I was chief legal of the National Food Authority, I bet you did not know that...). Now, I'm approaching 100...but this may increase in the coming days. The sad part is I'll definitely blog less...

Hence, I have not given much thought to my planned spin-off/change in blog name so I decided to give it a pass for a while . With the workload, how can I even think of maintaining two blogs?

As I blog, I also only a few minutes (notice the time of this post) before we have to travel to Laguna for my cousin's wedding. My daughter's a flower girl...will post pictures....of course.

As you have noticed, I have succumed to a photo-hosting service. I was planning to keep us as anonymous as possible. But I can't help it. Too damn proud of my kids.

Anyway, that wedding is also the reason why I could not attend the iBlog summit today. So fellow bloggers, good luck on that summit. To those abroad, wish you were here to attend.

Oh, and finally, my court order came today. I officially have sole custody of my kids but not yet officially a single dad because I haven't got the time (and the extra resources) to get my annulment. The bad news: she visits the kids on Sunday afternoon, on Mother's Day even. So ironic.

So you can still expect a blog after that happens.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005
This day in history from:

Change of Blog Name/Spinning Off

I'm thinking of changing the name of my blog and/or spinning off into two blogs: one as a personal journal of what's happening in our lives and the other, my legal commentaries on current events and other professional (that is, lawyerly) concerns. What do you think? I beginning to think my current blog title is a little bit lame. I couldn't think of any name when I started.

Any suggestions regarding both of these directions via tag-board, email or comment is most welcome.

Couldn't say much more for today. I have a lot of work to do. And I'm still working right now.

Monday, May 02, 2005
This day in history from:


What can I say?

They are bundles of joy and heavy burdens, givers and takers of tensions, sources of glee and fret, all at the same time.

Some prepare for parenthood. Others have it "thrust" upon them (because of their fondness for "thrusting" heheheheh!).

All I can say is this: there is never any "right" or "wrong" about parenting. We just have to do the best we can. Especially for my children, since I am the only one they have now. Oh, and they don't come with an owner's manual but some say Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care comes close. You can only know what it feels like if you are one. No, having nephews and nieces, even if they live with you, is not the same.

But if you're prepared for them enough, you'll never trade being a parent for anything else...Let's put it this way: I would have regretted having married if it wasn't for my children.

Sunday, May 01, 2005
This day in history from:


Well I heard this joke: "A lawyer is an expert on justice as a prostitute is an expert on love." Funny.

So to blog today about this topic is very ironic for me. I may be so unqualified to say some things about marriage. But I think you can learn from me about what NOT to do...heheheheh!

First of all, marriage is not for the weak of heart. Or the undecided. To enter into marriage entails not only control of your own life, but the life of your entire family. Remember responsibility. From that day on, after the first night (if it's still relevant), hangover and the tension from the "perfect wedding," you start on the "perfect marriage." And this is always a work in progress.

You start with the choice. Pardon me but from experience, I cannot overemphasize the correct choice. Forget the "heaven and "earth" romance crap you see in the movies and on TV telenovelas, chinovelas, koreanovelas, etc. Choose one who is in "your level." Believe me, this will be the most crucial factor in the marriage.

Then you move on to the reason. Never marry for the wrong reason. Yes, you know what the wrong ones are.

Focus on the marriage, not the wedding. I think a wedding that will totally sap your finances is preposterous. My rule of thumb: If you can still put up a downpayment for a house after spending on your wedding, go ahead. If not, that's too much.

Then, the decision/committment. Marriage is supposedly forever so there must be a commitment from each other to contribute to this "work in progress" continually. There is no time limit. You cannot say, "If this does not work out for four years, I'm withdrawing my committment." There is also no condition. You cannot say, "If our financial situation does not improve after four years, I'm calling it quits." (Again, these are true-to-life experiences, *cough! cough!*)

Lastly, the consequences. Especially when there are children involved. Upon getting married, think about not only you, or your spouse, but the marriage itself and your (immediate) family, your extended family and society in general. Will your marriage contribute to mankind or just be a statistic?

I think I have said enough. Two cents from a non-expert on marriage.

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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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