Thursday, July 31, 2008
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Market forces at work

Even though I'm hitting myself on the head for gassing up the old car yesterday and the new car today, I'm glad that the oil businesses are already responding to market forces and competition which is the very essence of oil deregulation.

Given these trying times, at least, the "old boys' club" and "everybody happy" mentalities are losing their grip in Philippine business. And it only takes one person or one entity to break away from the norm. And that breakaway pioneer will really get rewarded financially and psychologically by the market. That first person or entity that paves the way reaps the rewards.

I am personally tired of how quickly these oil companies raise prices when the world oil price moves up and lower prices at a snail's pace when world prices come down. I'm tired of all their tired excuses.

I hope this breakaway mentality catches on in other industries, like the telcos. These companies have to realize that competition is healthy for them. Cartels are not good for their business in the long run and they have their respective stockholders to account to. And their "old boys club" and "everybody happy" mentalities leaves the rest of us suffering.

(Oh, it's Saint Ignatius Feast Day today...)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008
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Forced recovery

I was, until last night, still suffering from the flu.

But I had a lot of work to do. So I had no choice but to, as the famous sports apparel says, "just do it."

And for what it's worth, simply doing it forced my quick recovery. I even had a very long day today that started early, as in 5:00 a.m.

I had to wake up that early to take both Bea to school and my Mom back to San Juan for her aunt's interment rites. Going back and forth from that area these past few days took its toll on my body. And I'm glad I made it through today, recovered from the flu despite another trip there.

Then on to some paperwork at the office, half of which I opened because I was one of the first persons there.

Then to my consultancy for a few hours.

Then back to the office for our partner's meeting, where we talked about the crucial decision we had to make.

Then immediately on to another meeting, this time to compile and prepare documents for a bidding our client is joining. That lasted until about 7:00 p.m.

So now, I'm at home still doing some work and preparing for a hearing tomorrow, and spending time on the net, specifically, waiting for the listing of Ynzal's Red Tag Sale.

Speaking of which...

I'm pretty saddened about what happened to Ynzal. It's our nearest Apple products seller. It's practically a few steps from our office. And despite the fact that we have another Apple reseller as a client (which we had only recently), we are loyal Ynzal patrons.

And in hindsight, I bet these other Apple resellers have committed greater sins against Apple than Ynzal. And it has done more to promote Apple products than the others combined. As far as I know, no other reseller has a trade-in program, which keeps you coming back to Apple again and again. This strategy is ideal in third-world countries like the Philippines, where Apple products are slightly out of reach, even from those who are better off.

And it is an open secret that Ynzal sells Apple products at a significantly lower price range, even without the trade-in option, which probably led to it losing its reseller status.

I think Ynzal lost its Apple reseller status not really because of its failure to properly handle the complaint of a customer. I think the decision was influenced by other resellers that have been out-competed by Ynzal. Consequently, I don't know what will happen to the sale of Apple products henceforth.

With what happened, I don't know if there will still be a secondary Apple market in the Philippines. I sure hope there will still be one. Because that makes it easier for me to keep coming back to buy Apple products. I really don't know if I can still but another laptop with the trade-in option gone. Or if I want to.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008
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Feeling better

I was recovering somewhat last Sunday. But the late night driving errand made me relapse on Monday, making miss my hearings yesterday and today...

And I had to work today, even if I'm still recovering today...

Anyway, I was listening to yesterday's SONA and I thought, "The people will be utterly satisfied with that announcement of the rate reduction of text messages."

But then this blew in their face today, because according to the telcos, it was just a promo, valid until October 2008. And worse, you still have to register your number to get it, which I don't usually do, for privacy concerns.

Sniff... sniff... what's that I smell?

I smell heads rolling...

Sunday, July 27, 2008
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Bout with the flu

Just slowly recovering from the flu...

I, however, managed to drive for my mother as she attended a wake of her aunt (hence, my grandmother, too) in San Juan. But I was already feeling ill at the time. I managed to sleep in a closed-off car in the scorching heat and hardly breaking a sweat.

And before that, I somehow managed to go on grocery errands.

Then, I somehow managed to get myself to choir, with the help of Bioflu and about an hour's rest.

But payback came last night, as I was already suffering from chills.

Fortunately, a good night's rest solved that.

Now, I'm just resting up, gathering strength for the week ahead...

So that's it for now. Happy weekend!

Friday, July 25, 2008
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So you think you can juggle?

Try juggling these:

1. Being a full-time practicing lawyer with a full day consisting of a ton of paperwork, multiple appointments, a consultancy that requires some days of your week... with all persons expecting quality work every step of the way...

2. Being an advocate that had too much on the plate today that will make one miss an important function with a party list group...

3. Being a single parent that has to find time amidst all of these to compile his son's documents and trek to his alma mater to file his son's grade school application...

4. Being a mentor in to office to guide associates so they get more experience in practice...

5. Being a partner in a law office that has to deal with administrative matters in the law office...

6. Being a father that, after coming home, helps his son with his homework because he suddenly had the "urge" to do it and putting it off would discourage rather than encourage the formation of his study habbits...

7. Being a blogger that has to get his blogging fix almost everyday...

8. Being a school bus driver who has to take his daughter to school at 6:00 a.m., his son at 9:00 a.m. and pick him up at 11:00 a.m. and wallow in paperwork in between...

If you can juggle all of these, you had the same day I had...

Thursday, July 24, 2008
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Running after time

One major meeting yesterday that took a lot out of me and my time. I did not get to do anything else after that.

It's going to be a hectic day today simply because I have to squeeze an errand to my regular schedule.

I have to go to my old school to schedule Nico for the entrance test.

I have been thinking much about where I will enroll Nico next year. I wanted to enroll him in a nearby school, but it's not a Catholic school and I've heard that its standards have been declining since an ex-politician (and owner of the school) started to intervene actively in its affairs.

So now it's down to two Catholic schools nearby, one of them, I attended since high school. But the very high tuition fees in my old school is also becoming a factor in my decision. Before, parents would ask when applying for that school, "What if our child does not pass?" Now, parents ask, "What if he passes?"

I'll just try Nico out for both of them and decide when I need to decide.

Then, off to my normal workday. Consultancy in the morning, office in the afternoon and that meeting I was writing about in the evening. One of my partners already quipped that he will already vote down the merger offer if this meeting will not push through tonight.

So, it's another day of running after time today...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008
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That crucial meeting I was talking about got canceled yesterday. It will be reset to Thursday.

But I had a hearing in the afternoon in Pasig City. I wish I can say more about it but previous incidents have given me the prudence to keep my mouth shut. Let's just say it was very heavy.

It's supposed to be an uneventful day today also, according to my PDA. But I'll probably be reporting to my consultancy and do some paperwork here at home first.

That's all for now. I'll try to catch up on my sleep then wake up in a few hours to take Nico to school.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008
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Crucial meeting

Yesterday was uneventful. A trip to my consultancy and some paperwork and meetings over at the office.

Feeling really lethargic today. I have a ton of work that remains untouched as of this posting. Reeling from a lack of inspiration that has been nagging me for some time now.

I also have a hearing in Pasig City this afternoon, a place I really don't like to go to because of my recent vehicular mishap going there.

Finally, I'm still on the fence if I will attend a crucial meeting tonight on that new prospect we have been discussion during our planning session.

Why don't I just practice my flute instead?

Sunday, July 20, 2008
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Mid-year Planning Session

The travel took a lot out of me, as any road trip would. I missed my chamber session and choir yesterday and the discussions were heavy.

But it was all worth it.

First off, my room was fantastic. Too bad I did not have anyone to share it with.

Second, the discussions, while heavy, were very promising. And it's actually beyond promising and nearer to reality already.

I just have a basic distrust of the people we are dealing with. These people crossed me before and there's no indication that they will not cross me (personally) again.

But if talks push through, our firm will become a very powerful one. But at the same time, I think we can achieve the same things without their help in any case, though I may take a little longer.

Anyway, we can just start off to talk first. And then try out the arrangements if it will fit.

But then again... that nagging feeling... of why I will hit my head with a hammer for a second time.

But enough of that. The firm has prospects for itself apart from this one.

We have our personal and firm mid-term goals. And of course, we have our long term goals.

And of course, we have our course...

That's it for now. I'm tired from the road trip as I just got home. Time to rest.

Here's to a very good week ahead of us.

Saturday, July 19, 2008
This day in history from:

The City of Pines

The travel was relatively light.

The atmosphere is likewise light. Since my last visit I stayed in a budget location right in the heart of the city, it was only this visit that I could smell the pine trees. And right now, I'm grateful that I can still them again here.

Also, my room here is about three times bigger that my room at home, with almost the same amenities. I did not bring Scarlett, right?

But I did bring my new flute. I figured playing and practicing in the high altitude here will do my flute breathing only good.

Anyway, the agenda today is heavy and the firm may have reached a turning point. All I can say now is we may go down from the City of Pines a bigger and more powerful law office.

That's all for now. I just followed my partner's computer with a WeRoam connection.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, July 18, 2008
This day in history from:

Off to the City of Pines... again...

Just packing some stuff for my second trip to Baguio this year.

This trip will be for a mid-year assessment and planning session for our infant but rapidly growing firm. One of my partners suggested this to assess the year so far, discuss our major cases and plan again.

Between today and our planning session early in the year, much has happened. There will be a few tweaks but I don't anticipate a major shake-up.

Also, it will also be some time off for me (and my partners) coming off a major case that started two weeks ago. It will also be another bonding session for us.

All in all, I think this will be a welcome break and a lot of good will come off this.

Anyway, we already took care of business for this week. We already had our lawyers meeting last night and the rest of the office people have their marching orders. We will still be available remotely, in any case.

Unless I can steal some time from the planning session and my partner's computer, I maybe off the net until Sunday. I will probably go online just to check my email. I'm not planning to bring old Scarlett with me on this trip.

The only thing I don't like about this is I will forgo attending my chamber session, choir practice and service tomorrow. I don't even know if I can hear mass this weekend.

So a happy and restful weekend to you all.

Thursday, July 17, 2008
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The soaked streets of the city forced me to work from the house instead of wasting my time through traffic and floods. Good thing my hearing was just nearby.

But this does not mean I did go to work. As a matter of fact, I got a lot of things done. And through the wonders of the internet, I even got these to the office.

I even got to be school bus driver and picked up Bea from school personally.

There are still a lot of major things pending that I have to attend to. But I'll work from here first.

And we have a lot of things to day, as our lawyers meeting will be today instead of tomorrow. My partners and I are off to the City of Pines tomorrow for a planning session. I thought we might postpone it because of the inclement weather. But it's improving today and so are our chances of getting away for a little while to plan the firm's future.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008
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Of all the insensitive... as it seems

Browsing through a post in a friend's blog about the rising gas prices, I could not help but notice the post/reaction that stated:

what i can't understand is why pinoys insist on using cars that drink up a lot of gasoline, like fords!

gas prices here go up, too, but the traffic is so light and the city is so small and a trip from one point to any point in the city will cost $2 max.

while we don't have our driver's licenses and a car, we're going around walking or by bus or cab (cheaper than a cab when all 5 of us are travelling). we've also bought bikes. it's fun ... until winter comes.

My first reaction was "Of all the insensitive..."

Well, you know what I mean. This Fil-Am, who supposedly worked for NGOs here, is now obviously living a sheltered life in Canada, insensitive to the present plight of Filipinos here. First of all, we don't all own Fords. I personally think owning a Ford (Expedition, or any other gas-guzzling SUV) in the Philippines today is already a mortal sin. Some of us don't even use our cars anymore. Second, she has obviously not been to the Philippines recently and attempted to commute here with all the traffic, dust, heat and smoke. She obviously has not tried our public transportation, either. And people here are actually walking (and biking) already despite the dust, heat and smoke because of lack of money.

This was my first reaction... and an understandable reaction at that even if it was my last.

But then again, I could not blame her. She has probably lived a sheltered life in a first-world country. Technically, she's a foreigner already, whose idea of poverty is not having enough vacations. And their idea of charity work is merely writing the occasional check or volunteering an hour or two (which is already "precious" and "valuable" to them) to her favorite charity.

She doesn't understand what it's like here today. Hence that seemingly insensitive remark.

I can't blame her. Her world, her first world, is truly and verily detached to ours already. She can only judge from her present world view which is a sheltered one.

(But then again, she apparently lived, studied and worked here eons ago. So WTF? The only explanation I can think of at this point is she likewise lived a sheltered life here or the Philippines she knew then is completely different from the Philippines now. Or has she been living in a virtual paradise where she is right now? If she is, I better set my sights in migrating there.)

Just to be clear, I have nothing personal against the one that made the reaction. I do wish, though, that people like her be a little more circumspect in their reactions.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008
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Note to self

Bench lifting, especially regarding one's alma mater (or to some, one's alma mother), may be dangerous to one's professional health.

Came across this article about this administrative case where a judge was reprimanded by none other than the Supreme Court for his condescending remark about a lawyer's alma mater.

Moral of the story: rely on one's ability and not one's alma mater, per se.

I would like to say more than a mouthful at this point but I will choose not to (except for a quiet snicker...) else I draw the ire of lawyers (judges included), law professors and law students anew...

I'd better just share my views on this topic with my partners, associates and colleagues while slightly inebriated...

Sunday, July 13, 2008
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Bea as Lector

Went out with the kids for some errands at the mall. You know the drill: grocery shopping for necessities, buy the kids some clothes, buy the parents what they asked your to buy at the mall and then feed the kids a little something so they would feel they did not go to the mall for nothing.

But the highlight of the day was Bea's first stint at a lector in the Holy Mass. They were practicing this for almost a month now and she led the congregation for the Prayers of the Faithful.

She did pretty well. Her diction was good and her pacing was relaxed. Well, I practiced her about an hour before on the pacing and on the pronunciation of some of the big words.

I've uploaded a video of that on my Facebook account so the access is limited.

It will be a busy week again next week as my daily hearings will start anew. More bombshells ahead, I guess.

Here to another productive week for all of us. And enjoy what's left of your weekend.

Saturday, July 12, 2008
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The Replacement

Started the day with the dental appointment. My dentist did not want to perform the root canal on my tooth because according to her, it was still perfectly fine and the problem was probably caused by trauma to the tooth. And that, in turn, was caused by my chewing habits.

So she just put me on anti-biotics and asked me to chew on the other side of my mouth.

The healing time may be too late for the implant, but at least my tooth will be saved.

Then I got a text message that our regular choir organist was down in sickbay. Fortunately, I was not called to replace him today. They got another one, the guy that plays on Sundays.

So I was glad and grateful I played flute today instead of keyboard. And choir went well.

I'm now just resting up for another week of marathon hearings.

Oh, and it will be Bea's turn to do the "Prayers of the Faithful" for tomorrow's mass. Hence, I will attend two masses this week.

Here's to a good weekend for all of us.

Friday, July 11, 2008
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Hotdog Gold

First of all, thanks to Micketymoc, for pointing out this newly-discovered goldmine of a blog.

Dennis Garcia, one of the founders of the legendary "combo" (as they were known during the 70s) The Hotdog started sharing their "betamax" footage from his vault. Well, I'll let him speak for himself:

A strange thing happened when I went up my attic. A boxload of Betamax tapes dropped out of a crevice and when I previewed them... I knew I just had to share these goodies with Pinoys who grew up in the 70s or younger folks who are fascinated by the era. Of course, I'll go beyond Betamax tapes and share lotsa photos, kuwentos, music and memories... to make the trip a delightful one. Sakay na! (Pero, wag Sulpicio ha.) (Come aboard! But not in Sulpicio [Lines], ok?)

So let me start with a counterculture band called Charing, that I just discovered from the blog that Dennis and Rene produced as a counterpoint to Hagibis.

B.A.D.A.F. Forever!

I say, put out some more footage, Mr. Garcia! And thanks for the memories!


It was a good hearing today. Suffice it to say I dropped a bombshell that rattled opposing counsel and probably, his client's entire case.

Again, that's all I can say about that. But there will be more bombshells during next week's hearings.

Then a long stint over at my consultancy during the afternoon, followed closely by a lawyers and partners meeting that lasted until about 8:00 p.m. due to extensive discussions about that big case of ours.

Ended the day with dinner with my law partner at Crustacia Trinoma. But I had to return to the office because of some prep work I forgot to do when I was there that afternoon.

So for tomorrow, it's a dental appointment in the morning (a root canal.... oooohh!) then probably some grocery shopping in the afternoon and of course, choir at night.

That's one thing I'm grateful for and looking forward to about tomorrow. There's no chamber session tomorrow, by the way.

A good weekend to all.

Thursday, July 10, 2008
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Into the Groove

It is the fourth day of my marathon two-week hearing today and I'm slowly getting into my groove.

Then I went to the office to prepare for my hearing tomorrow.

But that's all I'm authorized to say about that because of firm policy.

Don't have much to blog about other than what I already stated, so how about a flute piece instead?

Nina Perlove, Sankyo 5K gold flute
Jan Corrothers, piano

"Pan" from Albert Roussel's Joueurs de Flute
Recorded at Northern Kentucky University

Wednesday, July 09, 2008
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Divorce Advocacy

Some members of a women's rights advocacy group paid me a visit at the office this evening to get my views on divorce in the Philippines. They discovered I have blogged about the topic in the past.

This group has two seats in Congress and they already filed a divorce bill which has not reached the committee level.

I have to admit, the bill they espoused was very good. They knew the sensitivities of this country and the huge influence the Catholic Church still has and its stand against it.

I would not want to go into the details of this bill because I have not really studied it. I can only say what I said above about it.

I gave some observations on it at first impression. I think I gave valid ones. I hope they think I did, too.

So now they have been invited to their advocacy network to push for "divorce" in this country. But mind you, this is not the typical form of divorce. This is a different form altogether. They even call it "Pinoy-style" Divorce.

You can't even call it divorce.

My beliefs about it? Personally, I think there has to be a way to end a marriage that cannot be saved. But I also think marriage cannot simply be terminated by the mere will of the parties. Marriage is a special contract and it the foundation of the family, and hence, the foundation of society. So terminating it should not be easy as changing one's mind about it.

Anyway, I have a lot of things to digest about this topic. Let me rest first.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008
This day in history from:

Oh no! Not another meme!

Go this one from Abigail, a friend I met through my online choir...

Do you believe in magic?


Have you found the one you want to spend your whole life with?

I thought I did but apparently not.

Are you happy with your life now?

All things considered, yes. I am happy and grateful for the life I have now.

Do you think there's still a chance for past lovers to get back together?

As a general proposition, why not?

How did you spend your Christmas last year?

Just as we spent the ones before it, with the extended family in a family reunion.

Who was your Valentine's date?

Myself. But we got take-out in the house in the evening so technically, my family.

What song are you listening to right now?

I'm watching TV while doing this right now...

Last person you texted?

My assistant in my consultancy to greet her a happy birthday.

Last person who texted you?

The person I texted, thanking me for the birthday greeting.

When was the last time you smiled?

Smiling right now.


I'm always smiling. Even when hurting.

Ever loved someone so much that it hurts?

Of course.

What do you hate most about school?


Still close to any of your ex(s)?

Ex-girlfriend, no, physically but we're still very good friends.

Ex-wife, are you nuts?

Would you kiss the last person who kissed you?

Of course. The persons who last kissed me are my children.

Do you think there's such thing as Fate?

Yes. Again as a general proposition.

What were you doing an hour ago?

Taught Bea Math.

If you could have a special power what would it be?

Ability to fly.

Do you know your best friend's crush?

At our age, we're past crushes.

Do you agree that usually the second to the youngest children are the troublemakers?

No. Where did you get that?

Do you like guy/girls with dimples?

Yes. Girls, that is.

Honestly, do you think you are tall?

Of course not.

Who's your cutest/prettiest class-muse ever?

Has to be Frederick, our classmate who dressed up as a girl in school uniform. I'm from an all-boys school, so that's the punchline.

Any talents?

Flute, Saxophone, Clarinet, Keyboards

Single, Taken, Naked, or Flirt?

Functionally single, by choice. Legally, still married.

With whom?

Better not name names.

If someone liked you right now (not your boyfriend/girlfriend), would you want them to tell you?

Yes. I'm tired of games. But if he's a guy, better keep it to himself.

Do you believe in long distance relationships?

No. Been in one. Did not work precisely because of the distance.

How old will you be in 3 years?

Taking the fifth on this one.

Do you think you'll be married by then?

Oh no! Not again?

Who was the last person you called, and who called you last?

Somebody from my bank/ One of my partners.

What were you doing at midnight last night?

Watching TV

What happened at 11:00 a.m. today?

Picked up Nico from his school.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be?

At the Smithsonian.

What is your favorite dessert?

If I could have it everyday, without guilt or consequence, a tall fudge sundae (from a legit ice cream parlor, not those sissy ones from some fast food joint), or a large Butterfinger Blizzard from Dairy Queen.

Do you like coffee?

Nope. Gives me sleep disorders.

What do you drink in the morning?

Water, juice or Milo.

Would you rather kiss someone with or without a tongue ring?

Would rather NOT kiss anyone, with or without a tongue ring.

Do you sleep on a certain side of the bed?

I sleep in a single bed. There are no sides to it.

What's so good about Fridays?

There will be chamber sessions/choir the next day.

Do you keep a piggy bank?


Do you prefer the beach or a pool?

A swimming pool. Believe it or not, I hate sand on my feet.

Can you roll your tongue?

No. But Nico can.

That's it. Again, answer the questions if you like. No tags here.

Monday, July 07, 2008
This day in history from:


Our big hearing started in earnest today. With the volume of documents we have to pre-mark, we may even need more time.

But I had to cut today's hearing short because of my dental appointment.

As I have said in previous posts, this appointment was for my screening as a candidate for a dental implant.

I was a perfect candidate for one, except that there is a problem with the adjoining tooth that had to be addressed first. So I will not get an implant in this round. Perhaps I will in the next round of implants.

My dentist cousin said I have to address the problem in that other tooth anyway, I'll have it fixed (with my regular dentist) and it may be fixed in a month.

So my hearing continues tomorrow... I hope I get more done tomorrow than today...

Sunday, July 06, 2008
This day in history from:

Overtime Sunday

Yes, today is Sunday and we had to work today.

And I was in awe about the work we had to do between now and July 18. I am used to doing what we have to do for the next two weeks on a small scale. But I was in awe with the ton of evidence I have to get marked for this case.

That two weeks may not be enough.

It took us from morning to a little after the midday just to map out our strategy in marking the documents we have to pre-mark.

And when I got back home, I found out Nico has a fever and I had to give him extra attention. We gave him something to bring down his temperature and we'll be watching him all night.

So it was double-overtime for me today, both as a lawyer and as a father.

So that big hearing will start tomorrow, and then I have my dental appointment in the afternoon. Looks like I will be in overtime tomorrow as well.

Now, off to rest... and recharge for the week ahead...

Saturday, July 05, 2008
This day in history from:

Time flew...

It was a hectic day today. It started with helping my children with their homework. I had to do it with the this morning because it was the only chance I had, considering my schedule for this weekend.

Then, it was off to my regular bi-weekly chamber session, where I scored a first. I was able to hold a high A for the last three measures at the end of the "Intermezzo" piece where I am the soloist. Took a very deep breath before that last note and my "mates" where laughing as they noticed I closed my eyes all throughout that ordeal. At least I know now I can hold a note that high for that long. I did not know I can hold a note for that long, period.

A short snack and a few minutes of rest then it was off to a wake of the father of a good friend. That became a mini-reunion of sorts. I reunited with my law school friends who I used to go home with everyday. And judging by their stories, I think they are all doing pretty well, including the one whose father just died. And I'm very grateful for that.

Time flew and before I knew it, we already spent more than three hours together and I had to leave for choir practice and mass. But they still went to dinner and tempted me to ditch choir and go with them instead. The lure of very good Chinese food and the continued company of good friends were almost irresistible. But in the end, I chose choir and the mass.

Choir and mass went well and I find myself coming into my own with my new flute. In the end, I'm glad I chose choir and mass. We still had time to meet again, anyway.

So now I'm just resting up for work tomorrow. Yes, you heard it right. We have work tomorrow as we have to prepare for a big case that will take the next two weeks. Work tomorrow may take all day.

Anyway, I already helped my children with their homework, as I have stated already. I'm sure they will understand why we will not go out this weekend.

It maybe a busy weekend for me by you enjoy the rest of yours.

Friday, July 04, 2008
This day in history from:

Working Weekend

As it turns out, from our meetings today in the office, that we have to work this weekend, particularly, this Sunday.

A bummer, that's for sure, but its a necessary step if we want to prepare for a very big case we have to litigate starting Monday.

We have, however, some sort of a day off tomorrow because our schedules will not give us a huge chunk of uninterrupted time.

It was a grueling day today: a meeting at my consultancy in the morning, some paperwork in the office in the afternoon and then the weekly lawyers meeting, topped off with a partners meeting afterwards.

Since we were so worn out after the partners meeting, we decided on the Sunday meeting as the most effective way to tackle the Monday case.

Tomorrow, as I have said before, is some sort of a break for us. But my day will also be packed. Not with work, but with some other pursuits: my chamber session in the morning, a wake (of my friend's father) in the afternoon and choir and mass in the evening.

I hope we have a productive week (actually 2 weeks) in the coming days.

More on my weekend on my subsequent entries.

In the meantime, enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, July 03, 2008
This day in history from:

Blog Lecture No. 83: Powers of Attorney

Finally, another opportunity to conduct a blog-lecture, just to bust some myths:

What are powers of attorney?

These are documents or contracts to establish an agency relationship between a principal and an agent.

So what is a contract of agency?

Article 1868 of the Civil Code of the Philippines states: "By the contract of agency a person binds himself to render some service or to do something in representation or on behalf of another, with the consent or authority of the latter."

So what is it in English?

The key word in the definition above is "representation." By the contract of agency, a principal allows his agent to act on his behalf, as if the principal is the one acting.

By this contract (generally called a power of attorney), an agent does something or acts on something, such as enters into contracts, not on his own name by in the name of his principal.

According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary, an attorney is one who is legally appointed to transact business on another's behalf. Hence the name "power of attorney"

Distinguish this from an "attorney-at-law" which refers to lawyers, who are persons authorized by the court to transact business in it. Think of us as similar to "certified public accountants." Anyone can be an attorney, if authorized by someone else, just as anyone can be an accountant. But being an attorney-at-law is a different matter, like a certified public accountant, we have to pass some stringent standard and specifically authorized by the government to practice such a profession.

So the myth that only lawyers can be given powers of attorney is simply not true. Those authorizations you give to your messengers to encash your paychecks makes such messengers your attorneys.

What are the kinds of powers of attorney?

They are:

(1) General
(2) Special

What's the difference between the two?

Simply put, a special power of attorney authorizes the agent to do specific tasks and functions.

A general power of attorney is broader and should be given only sparingly because the principal will authorize his agent to do almost everything on his behalf.

As stated by the law (Article 1876), a general power of attorney comprises all the business of the principal, a special power of attorney, one or more specific transactions.

Why did you say a general power of attorney will authorize an agent to do almost everything in his behalf?

I said almost everything because under the law (Article 1877, to be exact):

An agency couched in general terms comprises only acts of administration, even if the principal should state that he withholds no power or that the agent may execute such acts as he may consider appropriate, or even though the agency should authorize a general and unlimited management.

This means, an agent, even if given a general power of attorney, cannot do acts of ownership over the principal's properties, unless specifically authorized in the general power of attorney over a specific property. In which case, that document becomes a special power of attorney already, insofar as that specific property and transaction is concerned.

Acts of ownership include, sale, mortgage or any other incumbrance over properties.

So where are special powers of attorney necessary?

These are necessary over the following cases, according to Article 1878:

(1) To make such payments as are not usually considered as acts of administration;

(2) To effect novations which put an end to obligations already in existence at the time the agency was constituted;

(3) To compromise, to submit questions to arbitration, to renounce the right to appeal from a judgment, to waive objections to the venue of an action or to abandon a prescription already acquired;

(4) To waive any obligation gratuitously;

(5) To enter into any contract by which the ownership of an immovable is transmitted or acquired either gratuitously or for a valuable consideration;

(6) To make gifts, except customary ones for charity or those made to employees in the business managed by the agent;

(7) To loan or borrow money, unless the latter act be urgent and indispensable for the preservation of the things which are under administration;

(8) To lease any real property to another person for more than one year;

(9) To bind the principal to render some service without compensation;

(10) To bind the principal in a contract of partnership;

(11) To obligate the principal as a guarantor or surety;

(12) To create or convey real rights over immovable property;

(13) To accept or repudiate an inheritance;

(14) To ratify or recognize obligations contracted before the agency;

(15) Any other act of strict dominion.

So why is the DOJ doing something good for a change and warning the victims of the recent tragedy about blindly signing special powers of attorney?

More likewise, these special powers of attorney contain a specific authority to collect the money being given by the shipper and sign the quitclaim on the victim's (or the heirs') behalf, and because they signed that special power of attorney, they will be bound (and they have to honor) anything the appointed agent does on their behalf.

Also, the so-called special power of attorney had the name of the agent in blank. It's like signing a blank check. Anybody (not any lawyer, as the myth perpetuates) can sign his name as their agent, collect the money and compromise their claim and then, may not even give them their money, because they don't even know who they appointed as agent.

So again, what is the myth you wanted busted?

The myth is only lawyers can be given special powers of attorney. An "attorney" in this document simple means representative and anyone, not necessarily a lawyer, can be a representative, an attorney of another given this document.

Happiest Guy in the World

I was having a beer with my law partner the other night and he mentioned a conversation he had with his family, with his ever-maturing kids in particular.

He said there, "I'm the happiest guy in the world. I have my wife and my dear kids..."

And then his witty first born added, "... and a PS3 and two Nintendo Wiis..."

And then we promptly broke out in laughter...

On second though, I can also say that.

I'm the happiest guy in the world. I have my two jewels, my two kids, my parents are still very healthy, I have my very supportive sister and my brother-in-law, my nieces...

Then Bea will probably come in at this point and say:

"... and your PS3 on an LCD TV with a fantastic home theater system, your Nintendo Wii, your Macs with a zippy internet connection, your saxophones, your clarinet and your three flutes, particularly your newest, most precious one..."

And then, we'll probably break out into laughter, just as well...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008
This day in history from:


There is one good sign with the high prices of petroleum. Everyone is looking for alternatives.

I hope a very big alternative to crude oil comes soon and those darn oil profiteers get badly burned, both literally and figuratively.

It's one thing to profit. But it's another thing to profit from the misery of others.

And if there's anyone I hate more than profiteers, it's those who pat themselves at the back and reward themselves for their incompetence. But technically, that's also profiteering. They're getting way more than they deserve. And if this is a fair world, they should be paying us for our trouble with them.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008
This day in history from:

Nothing much...

The day was mostly uneventful.

Three meetings. Some time with my partners. Some time with a blogger-lawyer friend who is in town on business. A few phone calls.

But it was exhausting.

I hope tomorrow is better.

That's it for today. Tired.

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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