Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pizza Republic "Pick + Mix" - Cebu

There's this new pizza place along Salinas Drive in Lahug, Cebu City where you can actually pick the ingredients you would want to be placed on your very own pizza. If you remember the noodle joint in Ayala Center, Cebu, called Kublai Khan, Pizza Republic Pick + Mix would be the Kublai Khan of pizza. The service is good, and your pizza will be made according to your exacting specifications.

I was able to visit Pizza Republic Pick + Mix with my girlfriend to try out what they had to offer after hearing good things about it. In what seemed like an assembly line, you get to choose your ingredients and the crew will prepare it for you. A few short minutes later, your pizza is ready to be devoured. The ambiance was nice, so was the pizza, and of course the service. HOWEVER, what irked me a bit is the southern wall of the pizza joint. A few of our friends pointed out that it was not filled with graffiti and post-it notes a few months back.

I've seen so-called coffeeshops (mostly Korean-styled coffeeshops) where their walls are bedecked with post-it notes and graffiti. I've always frowned upon those coffeeshops, those things on their wall remind me of some bathroom in a highschool for juvenile delinquents. I don't really know why people would want to uglify an otherwise wall with all those graffiti and post-it notes. It actually becomes a turn off. If that's your thing, well, you're in luck.

Going back to Pizza Republic, I don't really know if the joint is trying to sport a public toilet look, but those things on their walls look unsanitary, unsightly, and ugly, but more importantly, it cheapens the place. Even their Facebook page sports that ugly wall full of awful grammar and ugly graffiti. Obviously they allow people to scribble stuff on their walls or post post-it notes but I wonder how they would react if I brought with me several cans of spray paint and tag the whole wall with my name. What would be the difference? I see none.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pick up After your Dog

Dogs. I love dogs but I hate dog shit and their owners who indiscriminately let their dog take a shit without picking up after them. There should be a City Ordinance about responsible pet ownership.

I find it bothersome that most people with dogs would take them out for a walk and have them shitting all over the place and not pick up after them. Every morning, I find pieces of dog shit scattered outside my front gate and in the afternoon, it would be scattered all over my driveway as I drive over it. That's not responsible pet ownership. How would you feel if I let my dog shit in front of your gate or on your driveway?

There was this one incident where I caught one of those dog-owners walking his dog, then it started sniffing and circling around, as a dog owner myself, I know that it's one of those telltale signs that her dog was about to take a dump. I immediately called the attention of the dog owner, telling her, "sakwata ang tae sa imong iro", to which she retorted, "uga bitaw ang tae sa iro, sir". That is not the frigging point, I told her. I immediately handed her a plastic bag (good thing it wasn't a Saturday, otherwise, I'd hand her a flimsy paper bag) and told her once again, "sakwata ang tae sa imong iro". She looked at me strangely, as if she did not understand the reason why I gave her a plastic bag, and I pointed to the steaming pile of dog shit and said, "hiposa ang tae sa imong iro". She then tried to say that her dog took a shit on the sidewalk, a public thoroughfare, and I said again, with all the more reason you should pick up after your dog. People might step on it, nothing can be as bad as stepping on dog shit on the way to work, or home, or where ever.

So she begrudgingly scooped up the stinking pile of dog shit using the plastic bag I gave her.

It's nice to own pets, it's wonderful taking care of pets, but people just have no discipline or sense of responsibility. Be a responsible pet owner. Pick up after your dog. It won't take five minutes to take care of the mess.

Legal Advice, Legal Opinion, Legal Onion.

I've always had this policy of providing free legal advice/opinion to students and former students about their personal legal concerns. I must emphasize the term "personal legal concerns", it does not cover matters relating to inquiries from their employers. Like this one student who sent me a message stating that she wanted to ask me something, so I gave her my email. As it turns out, it was not a personal matter at all, but a matter pertaining to her employer. I stopped reading the email when it became apparent that the question did not involve her (directly), so I messaged her that if her employer is amenable, I shall be assessing the company where is employed my standard consultation fee.

And that was that, the former student found it steep, and it should be. For the legal concern her employer had involved thousands of pesos (thankfully it was not in millions of pesos) which it had no legal right to withhold. To cut the story short, I did not dispense any legal advice since her employer  was not agreeable my proposed fee assessment.

It may be perhaps unfortunate that I'm teaching Labor Laws and some former students, by the time they are employed, will perhaps try to seek legal advice/opinion for their bosses, and try to get it for free. Alas, those matters aren't personal in nature and I do not provide pro bono services to companies/organizations who, in my considered opinion, had caused form of injustice to their employees.

I guess that's just how a LEGAL ONION would work. No legal opinion, just a legal onion for you.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

SSS release of salary loans thru prepaid cards now possible

Members of the Social Security System (SSS) now have the option to receive their salary loans through Citi Visa Prepaid cards that provide borrowers a quicker, safer and more convenient means of receiving their loan proceeds.
SSS Vice President and Officer-in-Charge of Lending and Asset Management Division May Catherine Ciriaco said the agency will pilot the SSS Citi Visa Prepaid Card on March 6, 2014 for members applying for salary loans at SSS branches in Diliman, Quezon City and in Buendia, Makati City, which both account for a high volume of salary loan applications.
“Members with the SSS Citi Visa Prepaid Card can get their salary loan funds electronically within days, instead of waiting for two weeks for their loan check to arrive through the mail. They no longer need to encash the check at the bank since they can already conveniently access their funds through ATM withdrawal, or by swiping their card for purchases at Visa-accredited merchants in the Philippines and overseas,” Ciriaco added.
SSS' partnership with Citi Philippines and Visa is in line with the pension fund's thrust to improve service delivery, enhance loan processing, and eliminate fraud. It also addresses problems with misdelivered, stolen or lost checks, which take time to replace, further delaying the loan release to the member.
Citi is proud to partner with SSS in this innovation, which will offer advantages not only to SSS members across the country, but also to SSS the institution,” remarked Batara Sianturi, CEO for Citi Philippines. “Electronic payment is the wave of the future, providing convenience as well as speed and enhanced security to every user. This partnership gives testament to Citi’s commitment to serve as payment solutions provider not only to the private companies, but to the public sector as well.”
The SSS Citi Visa Prepaid Card is accepted at more than 15,000 automated teller machines (ATMs) and over 200,000 Visa partner merchants in the Philippines, as well as for online purchases. Members can use their cards globally wherever Visa is accepted, at tens of millions of retailers and to withdraw local currency at 2 million ATMs in more than 200 territories and countries worldwide.

“Visa has helped governments worldwide to operate more efficiently through the use of electronic payments. Our collaboration with SSS and Citi Philippines is a great example of how a Visa Prepaid card can be used to provide a more convenient, secure and efficient system to disburse salary loans to the tens of millions of SSS members in the country.” said Peter Maher, Visa Group Country Manager for Southeast Asia.

Ciriaco noted. “The prepaid card requires no maintaining balance and can be used for various promos offered by Visa partner merchants.”To avail themselves of this service, interested borrowers must first file their salary loan application at SSS Diliman or SSS Makati-Buendia. After securing SSS' approval of the loan, members must submit their SSS Citi Visa Prepaid Card Application Form and a photocopy of one government-issued ID to the designated Citibank lane at the same branch.

Ciriaco said the SSS will release the card directly to the member on the same day, with the loan proceeds credited within three to four days. The SSS Citi Visa Prepaid Card will be issued free to members, while P150 will be charged as replacement fee for lost or damaged cards.

“The card will be valid for three years from the date of issuance. It is also reloadable, so members renewing their salary loans can get their new loan proceeds using the same prepaid card, as long as it is within the card's validity period,” she said. “Members will be notified thru text message if their loan has been already loaded into their account.”

Only SSS can deposit funds into the prepaid card accounts. For secure access, a Personal Identification Number or “PIN” is required before any card transaction can be made, Ciriaco explained.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

SSS cuts UMID processing time, cites steps for claiming RTS cards

The Social Security System (SSS) has cut down the processing time of members' identification cards to 10 working days, enabling it to eliminate its production backlog and bring the total number of SSS-issued IDs under the Unified Multi-purpose Identification System (UMID) to over three million so far
The 10-working day processing time starts from the date of application up to the date the UMID card package is released to the Philippine Postal Corporation (PhilPost) for delivery to the member's mailing address.
“UMID production entails much more than printing a member's photo and personal details on a plastic card. The system uses biometric technology to confirm a person's identity and prevent issuance of multiple UMID cards that may be used to defraud SSS of undeserved benefits and services,” SSS said.
UMID applications start with the data capture, or the enrollment of biometric information – such as fingerprints, photo and signature – and encoding of the applicant's name, address, parents' names and other demographic data. To ensure that only one UMID card will be issued to an individual, the member's fingerprints are compared with other fingerprints in the database during the centralized biometric data matching process. This is done overnight, after the applications are received at the branches.
Applications with a fingerprint match are immediately investigated by SSS, while those passing the uniqueness check are assigned a Common Reference Number (CRN), and then sent for card printing and personalization of the contactless smartchip, which takes three working days.
To ensure good quality, each printed card undergoes visual inspection within one to two working days, depending on the volume of cards, and then forwarded for card packaging, a one-day process that also includes the readability check and data verification of the smartchip. Afterwards, the UMID card package is sent to PhilPost for delivery via registered mail as the final step. Mailing takes five to seven working days for addresses in Metro Manila, seven to 10 working days for outside Metro Manila, and 10 to 20 working days for remote areas.
For applicants still waiting for their UMID card after two months, it is likely that their UMID application was rejected due to a previously issued card with the same fingerprint but different SSS number --- which indicates a fraudulent application using multiple identities. 
“Another, and more common, possibility is that their UMID card was declared as RTS (return-to-sender) and sent back to the SSS by PhilPost after three unsuccessful mailing attempts. RTS cards are caused by the change in the member's mailing address or the lack of people to claim the card during the time of delivery,” SSS said.
Members can claim their RTS card at the SSS branch where they had applied for the UMID. To check their UMID card status, members can check the list found in the SSS Website (www.sss.gov.ph), email sss_id@sss.gov.ph, contact the SSS Call Center (920-6446 to 55), or call the concerned SSS office, using the SSS Branch Directory uploaded at the SSS Website as reference.
Members claiming their UMID cards must present one primary ID or document such as government-issued IDs, birth or baptismal certificate, or company ID. Two secondary IDs and documents, one of which bearing the member's photo, can also be used in claiming the card.
“A representative can also claim the UMID card on behalf of the member by showing a letter of authorization. The letter must be signed by the member and mention the IDs and documents of both the SSS member and representative that will be presented while claiming the UMID card. SSS' identification requirements for the representative are the same as those for members,” SSS said.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

IBP Cebu City & The Palace of Justice

 January 14, 2014.
 President – IBP Cebu City

It will officially be two months since the October 15, 2013 earthquake and it will also be two months that Cebu City is without a Palace of Justice. It will also be two months since the operations and basic delivery of services in the Judiciary has been interrupted, hearing of cases delayed and legal practice among lawyers affected. IBP Cebu City has for the past terms, passed resolutions requesting for the renovation of the Palace of Justice. We have requested for the installation of elevators and ramps for elderly and PWD clients and lawyers as well as the setting up of clinics for emergencies. These were never acted upon by the Supreme Court. Then came the inevitable damage brought about by the earthquake which makes addressing the issue imperative on the part of the Supreme Court. Unfortunately to this day, we do not see any sense of urgency or at least a pinch of empathy to the plight of our respected judges, court personnel, fellow lawyers and litigants in Cebu. Immediately after the earthquake, IBP Cebu Province and IBP Cebu City passed a Joint Resolution after a consultation with the Judges asking the Supreme Court to 1) Identify and determine a suitable and decent relocation site which can properly accommodate the displaced courtrooms and court staff offices; 2) Call and convene a meeting to be attended by the concerned stakeholders with the participation of IBP Cebu and Cebu City Chapters. We did not receive any reply from the Supreme Court on this resolution. Undersigned, as President of IBP Cebu City chapter has sent a letter to Chief Justice Sereno and Court Administrator Marquez, asking them to come to Cebu to dialogue with all the stakeholders and discuss, map out a plan and set a clear direction for the Palace of Justice in Cebu City. We have yet to receive a reply to the said letter. Court Administrator Marquez has issued a Memorandum directing the judges of the Palace of Justice of Cebu City to immediately transfer to Quimonda IT Center in North Reclamation Area, Cebu City. The said memorandum merely ordered for their transfer but never even provided for a logistical plan as to how to go about such transfer. Issues regarding the safety of the building, accessibility and safety of all stakeholders have been brought out but was never addressed if at all these were taken notice of by the Supreme Court. The judges have passed a letter of reconsideration to the Court of Administrator stressing out the said issues and concerns among others. As per verification, our distinguished judges are still waiting for the Supreme Court’s comment and action on their letter. IBP Cebu City has passed a resolution supporting the letter requesting for reconsideration by the judges. We have likewise passed a resolution reiterating the need for the Chief Justice and Court Administrator to come to Cebu and dialogue will all the stakeholders of the Palace of Justice and the need for the Supreme Court to act on this matter immediately. It is due for submission to the Supreme Court within this week. After which, we will again wait for the highest court’s action and whether or not it will once and for all merit its attention. It is the position of the chapter that the Supreme Court should once for all address these issues among others: 1) Given the fact that the Office of the Building Official has issued a certification that the Palace of Justice only needs retrofitting, what is its plan? When will it be implemented?; 2) In the meantime, where will the courts hold office? How will the transfer be implemented and where will the courts get the funding for the transfer and renovation of the office. In order for the Supreme Court to properly decide on the above issues, it is but necessary for them to hold a dialogue with all the stakeholders, take note of their concerns and come to Cebu to personally see the situation of our courts. The situation in the Palace of Justice, the makeshift courts made of tents in a murky parking lot in which our judges, court personnel, lawyers and litigants are forced make do with does not speak so well of our judicial system. Not only does it demean the profession but it has dulled the sparkle of the nobility of the Judiciary. What was once a majestic structure that used to symbolize hope, justice and equity has now become an uncertain and useless edifice. Unless the Supreme Court will take immediate action in addressing the problems of the courts in Cebu City, then this part of the judiciary will continue to violate the basic fundamental freedoms of every litigant thereby defeating the very purpose by which the said office was created. IBP Cebu City strongly subscribes to the principle that Justice delayed is Justice Denied. Cebu will never be privy to such injustice. Unless the Supreme Court will once and for all take notice and action to the final resolution which the chapter will send this week, then perhaps with the support of the general membership it is time to explore other possible options if only to bring our message to our esteemed majesties in Padre Faura. In the meantime, let us remain hopeful. 

Cebu City Tents of Justice

The October 2013 quake practically destroyed the Marcelo Fernan Palace of Justice in Cebu City. From a non-structural engineer's point of view, the building looks relatively okay, save perhaps for the fourth floor which sustained what seems to be massive damage when the corbels and beams broke. Nearly three months have passed and our courts still do not have a decent place to hold hearings.

The Regional Trial Courts as well as the Municipal Trial Courts in Cities are holding office in tents at the back of the Palace of Justice as well as in the Cebu Capitol Building parking lot. We all know that this is but a temporary affair, but for how long? In December 2013, the Supreme Court stated that the occupants of the Palace of Justice are to relocate to the Qimonda IT Center near the port area but sadly, there are no developments as regards the move.

Now that the rainy season has come, holding hearings inside a Tent is becoming more untenable with each passing day and with each drop of rain; not only does it cause more delays (think leaking tent, wet documents, cramped spaces, vehicular noise, humidity, radiant heat, flies, mosquitoes), most of the areas where the tents are situated would be flooded.

I personally don't think that the Courts will be moving to Qimonda IT Center soon. Why? In December 2013, the RTC-OCC announced that they would not be receiving notarial reports since they have no place to stockpile them, then suddenly during the middle part of the month, that order was recalled. Obviously, where will they stash the notarial reports? At the Marcelo Fernan Palace of Justice. I've been inside the RTC-OCC inside the Palace of Justice and it's clear that they are still using the building to stockpile the notarial reports. Using that as a gauge, I cannot possibly see the probability that the courts will be transferring soon. It just does not make any sense if documents are still in the Palace while hearings and other court transactions are being conducted at some other location.

Be that as it may, the court employees have major concerns with the building where the courts would supposedly move in to which have not yet been addressed. Up to now, there are no updates as to when we will finally have decent court rooms. I wonder when, or if ever. So, in the meantime, we shall have to be content with our TENTS of JUSTICE.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Comments on the Judicial Affidavit Rule Part 2

It is a practice of some courts in Cebu that a witness' Judicial Affidavit is to be marked as exhibit, however, that practice is utterly unprocedural. Let it be recalled that under Sec. 2 (1) of the Judicial Affidavit rule, it states, to wit:

"The judicial affidavits of their witnesses, shall take the place of such witness' direct testimonies;"

With that in mind, the Judicial Affidavit should not be marked as an exhibit as it is explicitly clear that it takes the place of the witness' testimony. This very same issue was discussed by Justice Hernando during the MCLE hosted by IBP-Cebu City and FIDA. It should be very clear by now that the JA should not be marked as an exhibit.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Comments on the Judicial Affidavit Rule

Earlier this year the Supreme Court implemented the Judicial Affidavit Rule. Instead of making a witness sit on the stand, a judicial affidavit will be submitted which will take the place of the witness' testimony in open court. How does a judicial affidavit look like? Aside from the novel additions, a judicial affidavit is, in a nutshell, in the form of questions and answers. These questions and answers will SERVE as the direct testimony of the witness. All that needs to be done once the JA is submitted is for the witness to identify his JA and cross examination will now commence.

The Judicial Affidavit Rule (JAR) seeks to shorten the time of judicial proceedings, however, five months into its full implementation in civil cases, I have made the following observations, especially on the subject matter of what will be testified to by the witness:

  1. Too much time is wasted in drafting questions and transcribing answers especially when such questions and answers pertain to matters which will be admitted or stipulated during Pre-Trial. 
  2. Portions of a witness' testimony which are admitted / stipulated during Pre-Trial would have to be marked as admitted or stricken.

Possible solution: 
I humbly submit that a witness' judicial affidavit should be submitted after receipt of the pre-trial order or at least a few days before he/she is will be presented to give his/her testimony in court.

While the JAR may streamline the job of the courts in hearing witness' testimonies, it will bog down the work of a solo practitioner handling hundreds of cases. Imagine, you have to submit the JA at least five (5) days before pretrial. That may be for the advantage of the plaintiff, but what about the defendant? After submitting his answer, a lawyer will have to scramble to secure witnesses and get their testimonies. What if the testimony is technical, say for example, something that would call for accounting, or the testimony of an expert? The transcriptionist (most likely the attorney taking the JA) will have to make sure that what he is transcribing is accurate.

For the solo practitioner, it is another burden, and time management is key, but with so many cases, I foresee that Motions to Vacate Pre-Trial (for want of a JA) will be prevalent, or the lawyer will have to risk paying the penalty for a late submission of the JA.

Furthermore, there is a rather troubling matter that this JA introduced and that is the inclusion of the Lawyer's attestation which is herein-below reproduced:

Sec. 4. Sworn attestation of the lawyer. - (a) The judicial affidavit 
shall contain a sworn attestation at the end, executed by the lawyer who 
conducted or supervised the examination of the ·witness, to the effect 
(1) He faithfully recorded or caused to be recorded the 
questions he asked and the corresponding answers that the 
witness gave; and 
(2) Neither he nor any other person then present or assisting 
him coached the witness regarding the latter's answers. 

Some of you will ask, "Atorni! ngano disturbing man na?". Regarding the lawyer's attestation, I don't think there is any lawyer worth his salt who hasn't briefed (let's face it, COACHED) his witness in eliciting a favorable response/testimony. Only the extremely gullible or naive will believe the lawyer's attestation at the bottom of the judicial affidavit. 

Five months into its implementation, the JAR has several impractical sections. It must be amended in the interest of substantial justice and fairplay (not just to lawyers, but to the courts as well).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bedlam at Marcelo Fernan Palace of Justice, Cebu City

 Atty. Achas sprawled on the floor of MTCC Br. 6

At 8:30 o'clock on January 22, 2013, John H. Pope, 65, Canadian National, murdered the private complainant Dr. Rene Rafols, a known Cebu pediatrician, and his lawyer Atty. Jubian Achas inside the Municipal Trial Court in Cities Br. 6 at the Marcelo Fernan Palace of Justice in Cebu City.

John H. Pope was able to enter the Palace of Justice after concealing his .357 revolver in his ankle (other reports stated he concealed it in his crotch), and a sling bag full of ammunition as well as a .45 caliber pistol. 

After shooting Dr. Rafols and Atty. Achas dead, he then walked to the other wing of the Palace towards Municipal Trial Court Br. 1 which is roughly 50 meters away and fired at Asst. Prosecutor Casino, hitting her at the back of her head, as of this writing, she is in stable condition at a local hospital awaiting surgery. He then doubled back and proceeded to look for the other Prosecutors who filed cases against him. John H. Pope's extremities were shot by PO1 Hagupit near the ground floor close to the Cebu City Prosecutor's Office before turning his own gun on himself in an apparent suicide.

It is a sad day for the legal profession and a wake up call for us lawyers, members of the judiciary, the Department of Justice, and the security personnel manning the Palace.

Bloody courtroom floor of MTCC Br.6 after the bodies of Dr. Rafols & Atty. Achas were taken to the morgue(Photo by Marion Singson)

Our colleagues had this to say:

"MY FLAG IS AT HALF-MAST TODAY. A lawyer was shot dead inside the courtroom this morning, presumably while preparing for his hearing. His client was also shot dead with him in the same courtroom. The client was a doctor.

After shooting the lawyer and the doctor dead, the gunman went to the other side of the Palace of Justice, all the way to the other wing. There he met a prosecutor and shot her, too. The prosecutor is now fighting for her life in a local hospital, and if my information is correct, if she dies, she will leave behind very young kids. She allegedly gave birth only 4 months earlier.

The reason for the shooting: the doctor sued the gunman for Illegal Possession - pending in the sala where he was shot with his lawyer, and for Grave Threats - pending in the sala where the prosecutor was shot. Despite security measures in the Palace of Justice, the gunman was able to bring in his firearm allegedly by hiding it inside a roll of newspaper.

When clients come to our offices and ask us to help them with their cases, many of them take our services for granted. Unlike doctors, the benefits we bring to the client is abstract, often unseen. And when we give them our proposal, or our bill, they often scream that we ask them for too much money.

But do we, really? What clients do not realize is that when we take on their cases, we step right in the middle of their personal wars. And while we are technically not the protagonists, we are often treated as such, and if we are not killed directly like what happened today, we still get harmed in the crossfire, one way or another.

And so we lose another brother in the profession today. And if we are even more unfortunate than we already are, we can lose one more. I wonder how many more lawyers will die like this in the future. There have already been many others in the past, and I do not know if the public even cares. From what I have seen, incidents like these hardly create a commotion. After all, when a lawyer dies, his client can always get another one, can he not?

I cry today not only in grief at the lives that have been lost. I cry because I don't think that the lawyer is getting enough respect from a public he so valiantly serves." -Atty. Aguilar
Bloody corridor near MTCC Br. 1 where Asst. Prosecutor Casino was shot at the back of her head.(Photo by Atty. Roxanne Tirol)

Another colleague likewise stated:

"The SC should realize that people who go to palaces of justice are not there to relax, enjoy or attain spiritual guidance. They are there to sue or to defend against being sued. It's already an antagonistic environment for everyone concerned. If places of relaxation put a premium on security, how much more for places where criminals and troublemakers are present on a daily basis. The presence of a lot of cops gives little comfort against deranged persons decidedly intent on a murderous rampage. We lawyers are putting ourselves in harms way everytime we go out there to advocate for someone. Sadly, no one cares about our well being than ourselves. Instead they are more concerned at burdening us more with additional duties." -Atty. Canares
Gunman John H. Pope lies bleeding from the 3 bullet wounds. 2 bullets came from PO1 Hagupit, hitting him near his hand and foot. The third bullet allegedly came from Pope's own gun as he shot himself in the head with his .357 caliber pistol. Photo from Atty. Cimafranca-Go

More poignantly, IBP-Cebu City Chapter vice president Atty. Elaine Bathan had this to say:

 "Perhaps he woke up early for today’s hearing, took a sip of his morning coffee and read the daily paper. Perhaps he browsed through his case folder before heading for the palace of justice.

Meanwhile, a lady fiscal woke up this morning to report for work. A job she swore to fulfill before this country. As a doting mother and loving wife, perhaps a part of her wished she’d have a few more hours with her little ones or that if only she could stay at home with them instead.

Both lawyers went to court this morning not so much for themselves but for the cause of their clients and the oath they took upon entering the Bar. And who would have thought that it would be a fatal end for one and the other is now fighting for her life, all because they decided to do their jobs.

When lawyers accept a case for a client, the public knows so little of the risk they take. Sadly the public is more inclined to think about the monetary consequence of such professional engagement. Little do they know that more often, a lawyer spends so many hours in and outside the office thinking, analyzing, contemplating how best he/she could help them. But does this make them the enemy? They merely represent the litigant in court, argue before the magistrate and hope for a favorable judgment.

The law is an essential part of everyone’s lives and so are lawyers to the society. For one man scorned to bring the law into his own hands and see lawyers as enemies of society brings into view the fact that perhaps, people know little of the legal profession.

The legal profession is not just an ordinary profession. It does not stem from science or mathematical equation but one that roots itself from morality, justice, fairness and equality. The demands of the profession require not only expertise of the law but the passion to uphold and protect it. Its remuneration transcends any monetary value because these lawyers are not just representing the clients, they are officers of the courts, defenders of justice and at the end of the day, they too look forward to coming home to their families as ordinary persons. Sadly one brother can no longer do that and the other still continues to suffer all for the cause of this most noble profession."

The penultimate question that comes to mind is how did the gunman, John H. Pope, enter the Palace of Justice with his weapons? The security personnel simply stated that he was "security-checked". I doubt if that is true. What is true is that most foreigners are usually waved through to gain entry into most government buildings, bypassing security checks, while the locals are frisked for weapons, and their bags checked for contraband. 

A public building such as the Palace of Justice should be easy enough to secure, however, security clearly failed. A blunder which cost the lives of a brother in the profession and a client and left a prosecutor clinging for dear life at the hospital. 

The tragedy should never have happened had security properly checked people who come in and out of the Palace. In the aftermath of this tragedy, I am certain, the Palace of Justice will be more secure (until laziness and complacency creeps again). This is a sad wake up call for all of us. A sad day indeed.