Monday, May 29, 2006

I'm a Frustrated Lawyer

The company I work for was commissioned to design the structure as well as interiors of some of the new courthouses planned to be built by the country's Judiciary. In order to familiarize ourselves with what the space planning requirements of the courts are, we held a site tour of current facilities this morning.

We visited the Manila Regional Trial Court at the upper levels of the Manila City Hall. To say that the condition of the courthouses was apalling was to me the biggest understatement of the year! And we are talking here of the MTC of the premier city of the country!!! I'm hard pressed to describe the squalid state of our judiciary.

The rooms were all cramped and dingy. The benches were falling off, the wall paint looks dirty. The clerk's office was just as bad. Reams and reams of documents were stacked to overflowing along the corridors (yes!! legal documents just lying on the corridors for lack of storage space) One court, the IPR court was half buried in documents (from all those illegal dvd cases i would imagine).

The worst part was when we entered a courtroom with live deliberations going on. We saw our judiciary in action. And boy what action!! One dumb lawyer was questioning an affidavit of a policeman who arrested his client (the plaintiff). The lawyer de campanilla (who was wearing a suit inside the stifling hot and unventilated courtroom) questioned the validity of the policeman's affidavit of apprehension questioning about the statement "subscribed and sworn to before me" of the notary public. Was he trying to question a notary's legality??? Should congress rewrite the law??? How stupid can one get? (am i in danger of contempt by publishing these?)

Anyway, the best part of the day was when we toured the plenary session hall of the Supreme Court in the afternoon. As I entered the chamber, I got the feeling that I was on hallowed ground. I was in awe of the grandeur of the place. At that point in time, for a split second I wanted to be a lawyer and I wanted to be presenting oral arguments to the highest court in the land; the final arbiter of justice; the final say, so to speak.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Da Vinci Conspiracy

I haven't watched the Da Vinci Code.

It's not because the movie represents an affront to my religion - I don't have one! It's not because I fear that the movie will change my belief - I don't believe in anything.

It's because the movie sucks. The book sucks. It plagiarized a lot of myths and conspiracy theories and melded them all into a James Bond plot. And James Bond sucks! I do not see any redeeming value in the film to merit a trip to the cineplex. Which is why I watch with amusement at all the brouhaha about the film.

So why all the fuss? The Presidential Spokesman had something to say, the city council of Manila tried to ban it. SM cinemas would have wanted all that profit except that they tried to ride on a high horse and banned all R18 movies from all their malls. a cachophony of congressmen and senators had their photo/video op for the news cameras. And for what?

If you ask me, all this brouhaha isn't about blasphemy, it isn't about the erosion of moral fabrics, it is about thought control. It is about power. It is about keeping the status quo.

Of course the Catholic Church doesnt want the dogma questioned. They dont want people questioning their teachings. Faith is about belief without question. Should people start questioning their belief, thats the ballgame!

The politicos and the government doesn't want the movie because they dont want the masses to learn "critical thinking". They want as meek and subservient like lambs being led into slaughter.

Now thats a conspiracy theory!

Friday, May 19, 2006


Why is it that whenever you are at the head of a line at an intersection, the next car always sees the light go green a split second before you... and honks his horn insessantly to remind you to get moving?

Why is the other lane always faster... and when you do decide to change to the faster lane, the one you just left becomes faster?

Why is grass greener on the other side? (because they use more manure)

Why is it that when you hit two keys on your keyboard, the one you dont want always get prosted on the screen?

Why is it that when you think you've finally hit bottom, someone always tosses you a shovel?

Why is it that the toast never pops up when you are standing beside the toaster?

Why is it that no matter which train you are waiting for, the wrong one arrives first?

Why do we ignore the ones who adore us and adore the ones who ignore us?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Operation Pretzel

I now believe that law enforcement does work in this country... sometimes.

Last month, our beloved pet Pretzel, a purebred shih tzu was dognapped in broad daylight right in fromt of our house. A neighbor saw the suspect fleeing with Pretzel in his hands.

Naturally, our first course of action was to report the matter to the police. The police, upon hearing the testimony of our neighbor started a search for the suspect. My sister was so distraught about the incident that she even printed leaflets and flyers promising a reward of three thousand pesos for any information leading to Pretzel's recovery.

A few weeks have gone with no leads. Then in an unfortunate (but lucky) turn of events, someone living in the same community also lost shih tzu dogs - two of them!! The same suspect was spotted by the village guard a few minutes before the dogs disappeared. A pattern was emerging. The police redoubled their efforts in searching for our suspect.

This morning, we were summoned by the police who finally got the suspect in custody. Upon arrival at the precinct, our neighbor positively identified the suspect as the one who carried Pretzel away on the date of her abduction. The suspect, a thirteen year old boy who has been in and out of juvenile detention for years, promptly admitted to crime. Case solved.

But we still didnt have Pretzel.

The suspect confessed to have sold Pretzel to a shopkeeper in the public market for one thousand pesos. He also identified the recepients of the other two dogs. The police asked us to join them in an operation to recover the dogs.

I boarded a police van with the precinct chief, four police officers and the suspect. We sped off to the public market with sirens blaring! If any of you saw me and though I was an apprehended criminal in a police van, sorry to disappoint you. I even felt like I was in a TV cop drama while riding in that van. It gave me rush!

The suspect pointed to the direction of the shopkeeper who upon realizing he had been fingered as a buyer of stolen goods, promptly surrendered the dog. I did my role to the best of my ability - identifying the dog as indeed ours. I got pretzel back.

The police advised us to file charges against the suspect or he walks away free. They said that the boy needed rehabilitation in a juvenile facility like Boy's Town or else, he will grow up to a life of crime. We have got to file charges if we wanted the boy reformed.

My dad will do that on Monday - with a plea not to try the kid as an adult. He needs reform, not punishment. If for anything, it's the parents that should have to answer to society.