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Who Speaks for this House? May 30, 2007

Posted by Janjan in All, Armchair Politics.
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The Challenger The Reigning Champion

Even before the ink has dried on the COMELEC tally sheets, the forces of Kampi are already squaring off against the forces of Lakas-CMD, all for the purpose of wresting control of the House of Representatives as its much-coveted Speaker of the House. In the red corner, we have the Kampi challenger, wearing the beige gusot mayaman barong, weighing approximately 150 lbs. He is the former Governor of Cebu Province, the Honorable Gentleman of the Second District of Cebu, a father and a former top-notcher of the Bar Exams, Atty. Pablo Garcia (“Pabling”). In the blue corner, we have the reigning Lakas-CMD champion, wearing the off-white pinya barong and weighing in at approximately 149 lbs., a long-time national political stalwart and president of the Lakas-CMD, the Honorable Gentleman of the Fourth District of Pangasinan, Speaker Jose de Venecia (“Joe de V”).

It looks like it will be an interesting fight. Other names have been mentioned, but I believe the real showdown is between Joe de V and Pabling.

Statistically speaking, Kampi by itself does not have enough votes to place Pabling into the Speakership position. It has only 65 members in the Lower House as against the 116 votes needed to win the position. Hence it needs 51 more votes to lodge Pabling as Speaker of the House. In turn, Lakas-CMD has around 92 members, but it’s up to Kampi to convince the other parties (i.e., Liberal, Nacionalista, and the like) to swing votes their way.

The determining factor in this debacle, I believe, will be up to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (“GMA”). Her favorable endorsement over either Pabling or Joe de V, will determine who the other Congressmen will support, as the President has the power to hold or release funding for the Congressmen’s various projects. So, to ensure that the flow of money remains unhindered between them and GMA, these Congressmen will scramble to show support on the nominee who has GMA’s blessings.

The President’s official stand is, of course, to say that she will leave the matter up to the Congressmen to decide, as she refuses to interfere in a co-equal and separate body of government. But of course, everybody knows that’s just the propaganda. The real score is that the President has very personal vested interest to see who will become the next Speaker of the House, since this Speaker virtually wields the Sword of Damocles hanging over GMA’s head, namely the impeachment proceedings that her now more-powerful opponents from the Genuine Opposition will surely launch against her once the election fever has abated.

As every law student worth his Constitutional law eyebags knows, impeachment proceedings against the President must be initiated with the Lower House. Hence, it is imperative for GMA to ensure that the Speaker of the House is her man because it will be the Speaker of the House’s job to quash and utterly destroy any impeachment proceeding launched against her.

In this matter, the President has a Solomonic decision against her as she will determine whether Joe de V or Pabling should be her soldier in the upcoming battle that lies ahead. On one hand, Joe de V is clearly on her side. He’s a very powerful force to reckon in national politics, and being a veteran of impeachment proceedings, Joe de V will know the twists and turns and the strings to pull to swing things in the President’s favor. Should GMA not protect him, Joe de V will prove to be one dire enemy against her.

On the other hand, Pabling Garcia represents the one last bastion that has consistently proven loyal to GMA in both the 2004 and 2007 elections, namely the Province and City of Cebu. Cebu’s support is crucial since it is one of the most vote-rich provinces in the country, and because it is not that easy to cheat in Cebu, Hello Garci scandals be damned. Pabling holds both power and influence in Cebu, being a former Governor of the province, and because the incumbent Governor, Gwendolyn Garcia, is his daughter. Plus, he has his son Pablo John as newly-elected House Representative for the Cebu Third District, and a host of other relatives and friends holding key positions in the government.

So who will the President endorse? Choosing one will alienate the other. Both men are loyal to her, and both men have vested interests at stake in becoming Speaker of the House. Both men will destroy her if they do not get what they want.

Allow me to play the armchair political analyst and reasonably deduce that the President will rationally choose the incumbent Speaker of the House, Jose de Venecia. Why? There are two factors. One is that Joe de V is already a seasoned veteran of impeachment proceedings, having successfully quashed two attempts against GMA a few years back. He possesses all the clout and innings to all the other House Reps and Senators that Pabling does not have. Pabling, a newcomer to national politics, could not reasonably hope to even match the political prowess and legedermain of the more experienced Joe de V. The second factor is that Joe de V is a force to reckon with on his own, with ties, I suspect, to the military, as well as loyal political allies under his wing. GMA does not want him for an enemy, and it’s clear that Joe de V would consider the loss of his Speakership position as one involving a loss of face and honor. He would not take Pabling’s intrusion lying down. GMA better watch out.

However, GMA cannot afford to alienate the Garcias for the reasons above-mentioned, more so considering that the Garcias are the future leaders of Cebu. The Osmena clan is already waning as its only political stalwarts are feeling the inevitable pull of time and age. The Garcias however has fresh and eager blood waiting in the wings to replace the current generation of politicians.

So, to appease Pabling, GMA will dangle another juicy position in lieu of the Speakership. I do not know enough of the game to guess what this position might be, but for sure it’s going to be big and powerful. I’m reasonably deducing that if the Constitution is not tampered with in the next coming years, this offer could either be a Senatorial slate, or an opening to run as Vice-president. However, if I were Pabling, I would hedge my bets and make sure that the President will deliver on her promises. After all, her future as Commander-in-chief of the land still remains dark and murky, what with the new crop of Opposition senators waiting in the wings to kick her out of office. Perhaps he will demand for more concessions, like funding for Cebu, spots for the Garcia clan in the administration, and many other deals.

I believe however that Pabling made a big big mistake in taking on Joe de V. Judging from what I’ve read in the newspapers, Joe de V’s pride and territoriality has been encroached by the Honorable Gentleman from Cebu, and believe me, no one wants to be in the wrong side of Joe de Venecia. But apparently, no one told Pabling about that. Has the hubris gotten to his head? Barely one week into the national game, the Garcias, it seems, have made one very powerful enemy. I would tread carefully in the future if I were them.

Well anyway, that’s just my analysis on the matter. We still have to see what transpires ahead.

Keep close tab on this fight. It will have repercussions on the fate of Cebu.

The Supreme Court Promulgates Love May 29, 2007

Posted by Janjan in All, Legally Opinionated and Jurisprudent.
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I got a text message from my good friend Gremz this morning, which went something like this:

“A law student was asked to explain:

How is it that even when it occurs so abruptly, erupts so passionately, and end so violently, love can still be eternal?’

To which, the law student replied:

‘That is because love is like a person’s DOMICILE. Once established, it always continues…

….until there is intent to abandon.”

The topic reminds me of an old 1990 Labor case called Evelyn Chua-Qua vs. Hon. Jacobo Clave, et al. (G.R. No. 49549 August 30, 1990), where the controversy dealt with the illegal dismissal case of a 30-year old teacher from Iloilo who married her 16-year old student. This was way back in the 1970’s, when children aged 16 and 17 were allowed to marry provided that they had parental consent. At any rate, the school where the teacher was employed, promptly dismissed her on the grounds of immoral conduct. The teacher fought her dismissal all the way to the Supreme Court where 14 years later, they came up with this ruling:

“With the finding that there is no substantial evidence of the imputed immoral acts, it follows that the alleged violation of the Code of Ethics governing school teachers would have no basis. Private respondent utterly failed to show that petitioner took advantage of her position to court her student. If the two eventually fell in love, despite the disparity in their ages and academic levels, this only lends substance to the truism that the heart has reasons of its own which reason does not know. But, definitely, yielding to this gentle and universal emotion is not to be so casually equated with immorality. The deviation of the circumstances of their marriage from the usual societal pattern cannot be considered as a defiance of contemporary social mores.” (Italicized for emphasis)

Now who says that the Supreme Court cannot set love down into jurisprudence?

Pentecost May 27, 2007

Posted by Janjan in All, I, Lawyer, Seriously now….
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What is an adventure? Does it involve a headlong careen from a ravine with nothing but a parachute strapped to your back? Does it involve riding a mountain bike while racing against a rampaging buffalo? Does it involve a feeling of giddy excitement and exultation?

I’ve been having an adventure since Sunday this week, and no, it doesn’t involve fighting off pirates with a rusty cutlass, swinging through buildings using a symbiotic web. I think in order to ideally constitute an adventure, the experience must be one that totally catches you by surprise and has you dealing with one unexpected situation after another, thrilling you till no end.

For the past few days, I’ve been the lead counsel of Joker Arroyo in the Province of Cebu. The adventure has taken me to the social hall of Capitol Province where I saw the proclamation of the Honorable Nerissa Soon-Ruiz and her Governorship, Gwendolyn Garcia. I’ve seen an army of the Philippine National Police camped outside the COMELEC Regional Building amidst a restless throng of Martinez and Salimbangon supporters. I’ve had sleepless nights spent staying awake protecting the integrity of the national votes, and moments of rushing through the streets of Cebu when I shifted from election work to law firm duties and back to election work. I’ve ridden an army truck wheeling down the highways of Cebu, accompanied by the loud, blaring sirens of a police motorcade, with six tin ballot boxes to guard and protect as we brought them safely to the COMELEC en banc in Metro Manila. I’ve taken part in the national canvassing of votes for Senatorial candidates and witnessed the showdown of two election law giants, Atty. Romy Makalintal and Atty. Sixto Brillantes. I’ve witnessed first-hand how election fraud and cheating unfolds in the end-game and how it fits in the grand scheming of our country’s national representatives.

And finally, the adventure culminates, as last night I shook the hand of my client, the Honorable Joker P. Arroyo, when he invited the members of his legal team for dinner at his opulent house in Dasmarinas.

What a memorable week it has been! An unpredictable thrill with one big event after another. It was an experience of a lifetime that this humble new lawyer could not in his wild imaginings ever believe he would have the fortune to encounter.

Today, as I am typing this blog entry in the quiet solitude of my hotel room, I struggle to remember each and every nuance and observation during the conversation and discussion that I have had with an important figure of Philippine history, one of the great lawmakers of our country. I’m reeling from the realization that I serve one of the heroes of EDSA, one of the giants who brought down both the Marcos and the Erap regimes. I’m awestruck at the quiet humility of this frail greatness, who talked to me as if my legal opinion mattered, as if my advice was worth considering. He is the same man who served me food and beseeched me to stay longer in Manila and take part in the national canvassing as a member of his legal staff… the one who’s urging me to learn and become a good election lawyer.

I am humbled by my part in all of this. Who am I to represent a legend? Who am I to be handed this experience on a silver plate? Somehow I feel the spirit of my grandfather, the Honorable Judge Rafael Ybanez behind all this, the same man who was, in his own lifetime, a kingmaker and a political stalwart in the Cebuano election community.

Somehow, it makes sense. The Holy Spirit is nudging me and answering my prayer… nay, not nudging, but pushing me off a precipice and launching me headlong into adventure. Two days prior to that fateful call one Sunday, I was in church, petitioning the Holy Spirit to address the restlessness and indecision in my confused heart and leading me to where the Father wants me to be. And the Holy Spirit answered.

I am a lawyer. I uphold the Constitution and defend people’s rights. I protect the sanctity of public process and uphold the majesty of the law over all, whether king, pauper, or prince.

It all makes sense now. I am where I should be.

The Joke’s on You May 23, 2007

Posted by Janjan in All, I, Lawyer, Idiocy.
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Janjan’s Log, 2:30 PM, May 22, 2007

I’m at the Comission on Elections (“COMELEC”) Regional Office as I’m typing this entry, at the branch near the Basilica sto. Nino del Minore. Today, we are canvassing the votes for the municipality of Bogo, in the province of Cebu. The COMELEC officials have declared a recess as their packed lunch has arrived. (They are carrying the steaming styropor of cheap-grained rice and half-cooked viands. At this moment, I respect the COMELEC.)

There’s a tense and somber mood in the air, a bit like the tenseness one would find between a pack of lions squaring off with a pack of hyenas for the carcass of a fallen caribou. In this case, we have the Kampi party, representing Third District House of Representatives candidate Benhur Salimbangon, squaring off with the LAKAS-CMD party, representing Mr. Salimbangon’s opponent, Celestino Martinez III . Who are the lions and who are the hyenas? I leave that up to you to decide.

I represent Senatorial candidate Joker Arroyo, a member of Team Unity (which is a neutral third party in this affair), and the only representative of any national candidate. To take the analogy of hyenas and lions further, I guess I’m a vulture, waiting to see if there are any remnants (or additional corpses!) for me to take advantage of. Gruesome.

Kampi has brought in the big guns, with an expensive-looking Manila lawyer taking helm as lead counsel. (This guy looks like the respectable version of a dangerous Cuban drug lord. For further reference, we shall call him “Fifi”) With him are a battery of lawyers and paralegals, some of them speaking Tagalog and some of them whom I recognize as Cebuano lawyers. In particular, I spot Atty. RM, a former upperclassman when I was still in law school. We greet each other in acknowledgment. Too bad we’re both at different sides of the fence.

I’m afraid to note that I’m the only Lakas lawyer in attendance, to date. Hopefully, more lawyers from my side will be added, because I am the least prepared election lawyer in Cebu up against the well-researched and well-prepared litigation arm of an expensive-looking law firm in Manila. It would be like Frodo duelling with the army of Saruman with nothing but a stupid ring of invisibility and a gay manservant named Samwise.

The COMELEC staff and officials have finally had their lunch, and are finally in a lighter mood. Fifi and his lawyers are opening law books and studying their cases. Meanwhile, the Magnificent Atty. Perez is typing this blog entry and wondering what color of font to use when uploading this to his website. The Chairman of the Board of Canvassers has declared that session is starting, so I’m going to have to shut my laptop.

Oh shit. I have to pee.

————-

Janjan’s Log, 2:45 PM, May 22, 2007

We are on another recess. The troops have rolled out to pick up the ballot boxes at Capitol, and when I say troops, I mean TROOPS. Two large trucks filled with soldiers armed to the brim with sub-machine guns and hand grenades are guarding the ballot boxes, in case they are met with force by hot, angry, stone-wielding fanatics from both the Salimbangon and Martinez camps.

Earlier today I had befriended one of the COMELEC staff and he offered that I ride with them when they pick up the ballot boxes at Capitol. He said, “You will enter Capitol and you will tell them, ‘I represent Joker Arroyo, the Dragon. ‘Pag good kayo, okay lang, pero kung bad kayo, lagot kayo ni JOKER!'” For the sheer absurdity of that suggestion, I wanted to ride out with them. But reason and good sense took over (Demmit! I hate it when that happens!) and I decided not to go. After all, my presence as one of the legal counsels might give an appearance of impartiality. Still, I wanted to ride the big truck, wave my hands, and pretend that the angry mob of Martinez/Salimbangon fanatics waiting for our arrival was actually a contingent of my die-hard fans screaming bloody hell for me to hold an impromptu rock concert.

But here I am, at the COMELEC regional office, blogging away while the opposing counsels are busy reading law books and studying COMELEC rules and jurisprudence. For the love of my sanctity, it feels too much like being back in law school. (Where’s Ed Suson and Kelly Lim to coach my answers when I need them???) I wonder if I could tap Fifi on the back and ask him “Classmate… can I also read your notes?”

I was wrong after all. I am not the only Lakas lawyer. There are also other counsels in attendance, each representing their own candidate. Gwen Garcia has one. Benhur Salimbangon has another. Even one of the Provincial Board candidates sent a rather quirky lawyer who looks like he needs a good haircut. Come to think of it, I need a haircut too. Damn. The other lawyers must think Joker couldn’t afford a decent-looking legal counsel.

I just talked to Fifi and this other mustache-d lawyer (We shall call him Rico Suave”) and found out that they are both fraternity brothers of my deceased boss, Atty. Chito Teleron. I envy that they have this law school paralegal from Aquila Legis helping them do research and buying them mineral water. (I wonder if I can implore my old organization, The Fraternal Order of Tequila, to send me my own simpering minion as well) I envy that they have research materials and notes. I envy that they have well-trimmed beards and mustaches. Demn, they look like really expensive lawyers with fashionable facial hair. I think I should grow my own and start charging absurd rates for mustache upkeep and maintenance. I wonder if Bench Fix has a facial hair specialist for that purpose. I have to ask Junior Suave where he had his mustache done. And…. awmyged, is Fifi wearing a fanny pack over his expensive barong???? Silly silly old man.

Speaking of which, Fifi just asked me to vacate the table while he and his team of lawyers and paralegals hold a caucus. That fanny bag-wearing mustache’d bastard who looks like a Cuban drug lord!!! I was occupying that table even before they arrived!!!! I even graciously offered to share the table with them! I left after cursing Fifi’s mustache with dandruff. I am now sitting at my vantage point from the other side of the room wondering what the heck those people are whispering about. A pretty lady lawyer soon joined them. She is dressed all in white. (For this reason, we shall call her “Blackie”)

Rico Suave just exhaled deeply and looked with much concern at his cellphone. I can imagine it is his wife telling him, “Dear, your son just ran out of the house in the nude, screaming that the ghost of Christmas Past is chasing him with a rabid purple weasel. Everything is normal in the house, good luck on your case. By the way, on your way home, please drop by the baker’s and get me a raspberry Danish.”

Mmmm. Raspberry Danish. Man, I’m hungry. I wish they would deliver us some food.

Fifi also looks very concerned as he’s talking to his cellphone. I hear the words “mustache cream” and “Bench Fix” being mentioned. He’s probably planning the next case and coming well-armed for battle.

Which reminds me, I ought to focus on the task at hand. Let’s see, I boned up on election law last night and the only thing I can remember is that my sole ground for a pre-proclamation controversy is “a showing of manifest errors on the face of the election returns.” Manifest errors, check. Wait… what the heck is a manifest error??? “Your honor, I would like to manifest that the election returns have skipped a page. From page 1, we are now on page 3.” “Your honor, I object. Using a pink colored paper for election returns violates every known rule of good color coordination. It clashes with your yellow election folder!”

Paging Ed Suson and Kelly Lim! I need you A-S-A-P!

The caucus has ended so I went back to the table and sat with Fifi, Junior Suave and Blackie. I look around.

The other lawyers on the other side of the room are yakking it up and cracking jokes. My side of the room, however, looks busy, with three lawyers reading and discussing their notes, one diligent paralegal tacking on post-its to their jurisprudence, and one rather serious Magnificent Atty. Perez, writing a rather magnificent entry on his blog. Lagot kayo ni Joker!

Okay. It’s time to get serious and work on the task at hand. But first, I need a cappucino.

—————-

Janjan’s Log, 4:30 PM, May 22, 2007

The big moment has arrived and I’m actually insanely jealous. 26 ballot boxes are getting better press coverage than ME! That’s not fair! I’M the rockstar of the legal system!

From the outside of the COMELEC Regional Office, it looks like a warzone. All you can see is a sea of soldiers running helter-skelter in a flurry of green fatigues and sub-machine guns. Yeah, right. Like a bunch of fully armed NPA Soldiers are going to burst out at any time and take over the Bogo polls. Inside, the people look a bit antsy and tired. It’s 4 p.m. and we haven’t had snacks yet. I crave for siopao.

I’ve been here at the regional office since 8 in the morning, waiting for a canvassing that occurred at 4:30pm. Demmit. That’s a lot of wasted time where I could have been at the comfort of my own office surfing for porn and updating my Friendster profile. Or writing a survey.

They finally brought the ballot boxes in, just as I lost my last joule of cellphone battery power. Demmit. With that lost power goes my last hope of calling Ed Suson and Kelly Lim for answers before I get called up before the Board of Canvassers.

The ballot boxes look like an ugly yellow taro of ube, except there’s no ube inside, just election returns and spoiled votes. I wish there was ube ensaimade instead. I’m still waiting for my siopao to arrive.

The reporters are all flocking around the Board of Canvasser’s documents like a crowd of dirty old men around an underaged stripper. I wonder what the big fuss is about. Can’t they see a rockstar when they see one? Demn election returns, always upstaging me.

I keep thinking that all this fuss would be better solved if we only had some lechon and a case of tequila. But no… the people’s mandate has to be followed. Demn you, people’s mandate!!

————–

Janjan’s Log, 2:30 AM, May 23, 2007

It has been a crazy day. I was up all night until 2 a.m. looking for manifest errors on the national candidates’ election returns. And to think I’ve been in the COMELEC office since 8 in the morning! Weird things happened when I plugged on to my iPod. Everytime a song comes up, the whole world turned into a music video in MTV. First song was “Lover Lay Down” by Dave Matthews. There’s a pretty mestiza reporter here from Sun*star and when the song played, I saw her dancing against the cabinet, grinding against it like there was no tomorrow. It was like we were in a Tagalog movie and I was chasing her around the cabinet, and we were running in slow motion, laughing like we were an on-screen tandem matched by Regal Films and Mother Lily. I caught her by the hips and twirled her around and around, while she flung her hands upward, laughed and screamed, “Oh Jack! I’m flying! I’m flying!”

The song quickly changed into “Freestyler” by Bomfunk M.C.’s… one of my favorite dance music of all time. I stood up on the big table where they display the election returns and started doing some crazy breakdance moves while everyone around me started dancing. Fifi was shaking his bonbons like a back-up dancer for Ricky Martin with a bad case of hemmorhoids. Blackie suddenly took off her all-white ensemble to reveal her dressed up like a Bellestar dancer. Rico Suave started spinning on his head.

And then my iPod started playing the heavy rock riffs of “Claire Danes Poster” by Size 14. The Chairman of the Board of Canvassers, suddenly ripped off his pink barong to reveal a huge tummy, and tattoos of skeletons, knives, and naked women. He grabbed an electric guitar and had a guitar-gasm in the heavy rift. Soldiers came in and sang along with me when I shouted the chorus. “I’m gonna drink me some beer! Stay at home! And stare at my CLAIRE DANES POSTERRR!!”

Then somebody ripped off the headset cord from my iPod.

I was standing on an election return that had my shoeprints all over it and holding a mineral water bottle in my hand and pretending it was a microphone. The whole room was staring at me in shock, wordless, and shaken out of their drowsy stupor.

At that point, I knew it was time for me to go home and get some sleep.

Vox Populi est Suprema Magnifique May 23, 2007

Posted by Janjan in All, I, Lawyer, Seriously now….
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Pag bad ka, lagot ka kay Joker!

On Sunday, May 20, 2007, I was engaged to be Joker Arroyo’s lead counsel in the canvassing of electoral returns for the Province of Cebu. The engagement has been highly educational, and to some extent, enlightening.

It’s tiring to be an election lawyer, and confusing, if I may add. You work long hours. It’s not unusual to be be slaving away until the wee hours of the morning, doing menial work. Just yesterday, May 22, I spent 21 hours in the Commission on Elections Regional Office, which included 10 hours of waiting for the ballot boxes to be carted in, and another 11 hours pacing around the room monitoring the canvassing of electoral returns. I couldn’t take it anymore, I was there at the office since 8:00am, so I left at 2:00am. I honestly felt guilty looking at the dedicated and hardworking watchers working under my wing. They, the COMELEC officials and the respective lawyers of both Kampi and Lakas-CMD were there to finish canvassing until it was done, with no stopping.

Indeed, rest is for the weak.

I woke up at 7:00 am today, and hurried over to the law office to pick up a case file that I had to study for a sur-rebuttal examination that I was going to do for a witness. I wasn’t ready yet, and I barely have my questions prepared. From there, I rushed back to the COMELEC to see how everyone was doing. The watchers I had last night were replaced with fresh ones at 6:00 this morning. But the same COMELEC officials were still there, as well as the same lawyers. They have not gotten any sleep.

We resumed canvassing and just as we were about to decide a crucial question regarding the national election returns, the chairman of the Board of Canvassers suddenly had a high blood pressure attack. He went pale and started having deep breaths. It was at that point that I hated our media men for just standing there taking pictures instead of giving the man some privacy and breathing space. Instead of helping the chairman to come down, they were adding to his sense of panic.

I rushed outside and deliberated calling my dad, who is a doctor. One of the calmer lawyers around asked if we could get a medic. We all decided to put the chairman in a police squad car and have him sent to a hospital. The Board called a recess to decide what to do next. The canvassing would resume at 1pm.

I hurried over to a nearby coffee shop in order to study the case files that I had with me, in order to prepare for my sur-rebuttal examination. As I was beginning to figure out the Complaint, my client’s son sent me a text message informing me that his dad (the witness we were about to put to the stand), was out of the country. I hurriedly had a txt conversation with the partner who was supervising the case and he told me to prepare an urgent motion for postponement, asking the court to reset hearing when the client gets back from abroad.

So, from the coffee shop, I hurriedly caught a cab and got to the office to have my motion printed and sent by our messenger. Since it was already 30 minutes from 1pm, I hurriedly caught another cab and went back to the COMELEC Regional Office. When I got in, the Board of Canvassers replaced the chairman with another member, and the former vice-chairman was now the new chairman. Canvassing of the national returns has resumed.

At around 3pm, the lawyers of Lakas-CMD were protesting the canvassing of national returns, arguing that it should be canvassed together with the local returns. Their intent was to prevent the lawyers from Kampi from delaying the case. At that point I got mad. They were dragging the rest of the national candidates along with the controversy by insisting that our returns be canvassed simultaneously with the hotly contested local returns. So, I stood up and debated against it.

Errr. Debated is such a strong word. Let me explain. The COMELEC Rules only allows the lead counsels of each party to speak in argument, hence, even though the two local parties had a battery of lawyers each, only their best and most veteran lawyers got to speak as lead counsel.

And then there was me. The only lawyer for a national candidate. With media flashing their lightbulbs and videotaping everything behind me. So, I did not so much as debate as squeak my argument against Lakas’ contentions. It was a bad case of stage fright. But I did manage to get my argument out, as convoluted as my speech was, and surprise, surprise… my contention won. The national canvass was to continue without the local one.

Finally the day was over. The only thing left to do for our part is to wait for the Statement of Votes tomorrow morning, and pray that our boy Joker will be among the Magic Dozen.

(By the way, during lulls in the canvassing, I wrote something really idiotic. I’ll post it after this.)

Peeking inside my legal briefs… May 11, 2007

Posted by Janjan in All.
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Ah yes, after a much ballyhooed departure from Friendster, the Magnificent is back in prime blogging form. I’m glad to be here. I’ve decided to give blogging a more serious treatment, after getting sick of Friendster’s wonky controls and idiotic formatting. See? It works! Doesn’t my new blog look much nicer? And the ads are at the side. That means no more irritating zwinky ads, or even worse, smiley ads that scream “Oh my God! No way!!!” for all the office to hear.

I’ve decided to change hosts, change looks, and more importantly, change content with my legal blogs. I don’t know, I was getting sick of hearing myself bitch all the time about how hard it was to adjust to my job as a lawyer. That’s called wallowing in self-pity, and that is something I am markedly against. As my former teacher in the CPA Review Center once said, “If you can’t get what you want, why don’t you want what you can get?” Or, as my good friend Matet clarifies further, “If life hands you lemons… add salt and tequila and then call me over.”

I’m going back to what I originally intended for my old blog, “Peek Inside My Legal Briefs” which is an insight and discussion on the practice of law (particularly mine), and of law as it is applied to everyday life. I’m also planning to put up my own professional business-related website down the line, with its own domain, a separate hosting, and hopefully designed by one of the best graphic artists in the business, Kenneth Ruelan. But that will come in due time. In the interrim, we will use this wonderful space on WordPress.

Don’t worry though, I don’t plan on losing the personal touch that I added to my old Friendster blog, namely the little jokes I threw here and there (most of them green), the occasional wisps of inane wisdom, and the more than occasional bouts of delusions of grandeur. This is still going to be a fun blog, sprinkled with delightful sarcasm, with the intent of insulting my readers’ intelligence. (Working hand in hand with my Friendster bulletin surveys and the Tagalog movie industry to collectively lower the IQ level of your average Filipino.)

So here we go again! A new blog, a new look, a new layer of magnificence. Bringing you piss and vitriol to soothe your heathen soul, here comes the Magnificent Atty. Perez.

The practice will never be the same again…