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NARRATIVE REPORT INTRODUCTION Experience is the best teacher.

This general principle of learning also finds its direct application in legal profession. For a neophyte like me, a junior law student whose knowledge and understanding of law and legal principles are so limited and nave, an emersion in the real world of work called the practice of law would provide me with vivid and relevant learning opportunities that concretize the abstract concepts and ideas taught in law school. Experiential learning is therefore highly significant and appropriate in legal education as this would enable students to practice learning, deepen understanding and widen perspective, more so this would develop positive work attitudes and right values in dealing with clients and in helping them with their legal concerns. Last January 30, 2013, I and my partner, Ms. Lilet Matutino, were scheduled to render our services or some sort of free legal clinic at the Public Attorneys Office (PAO), Capitol Compound, Mankilam, Tagum City. I arrived at exactly 8:10 a.m. and was then introduced to Mr. Maclin Yuson, a staff who would assist us in our tasks. There was no formal orientation; instead, a bunch of papers, containing the guidelines, services and all related information about the PAO, was given to me for reading. I learned that the said office provides free legal services or assistance especially to indigents or those whose net income does not exceed P12,000.00 a month if residing in places other than Metro Manila and other cities, where net income must not exceed P14,000.00 and P13,000.00 respectively. This is pursuant to PAO Memorandum Circular No.2 series of 2010, where indigency is determined in consideration of the amount needed by an average Filipino family to buy its food consumption basket and pay for its household and personal expenses. While our first 30 minutes in the front desk, which was installed along the alley of the Hall of Justice, was quiet and calm, the succeeding moments became rush and toil. Clients flocked in, one after another, with varying interests and purposes. THE FACTS Our first client was a 51-year old resident of Prk. Pagkakaisa, Pagsabangan, Tagum City. He is Mr. Ulderico F. Sapuez, Filipino, married but separated in fact with his spouse. He was born on January 29, 1961 but the fact of his birth was never registered at the Local Registry of Tagum. Moreover, his first name was erroneously indicated as Uldarico in his SSS records and Voter certification. For these reasons, he and his competent witnesses, Ms. Diosdada Vasquez and Mr. Rufino Bargan, came to our desk to request for the draft of necessary instruments or affidavits. Our second client requested for a notarization of a Deed involving Business or Trade and real properties. Without delving into the personal circumstances of our client, our assisting staff referred her to the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor. Our third client came all the way from Compostela, ComVal Province. She presented an Affidavit of Declaration of Source of Income of a certain Mr. Noel S. Gambong, her husband; however, the same could not be notarized in the absence of the real affiant in person. Our fourth client inquired on a change for surname because her full name as appearing in all her records is MYRNA CEDEO but her surname as appeared in her NSO Birth Certificate is CEDONIO. I ask her to refer the matter to PAO lawyer because for me her dilemma cannot be resolved by mere execution of affidavits. She was advised by the PAO lawyer to visit the Local Civil Registrar to verify on the proper procedure for the correction of surname as provided under a special law. Our fifth client, Mr. Emmanuel Caparos, is a Scaler Officer of DENR-CENRO Tagum City. On interview, he narrated that the CENRO apprehended at Tagum City one (1) truck of Gemelina lumbers last October 4, 2012 for want of necessary permits in the cutting and transporting of such products. He also informed us that his office had received a prior complaint from a Barangay Officer in Sawata where these products came from, and that the irony of the matter is the fact that the truck used was a Government Dump Truck. I referred him to Fiscal Sharon Serasin-Galgo, my professor in Laws on Natural Resources for the criminal prosecution in violation of PD 705 or the Forestry Code of the Philippines. Our subsequent clients brought with them prepared papers for notarization. One of them is Ms. Lelanie Del Valle, a resident of New Corella, Davao del Norte. She presented a document denominated as Omnibus Certification of Authenticity and Veracity, which is a requirement for teacher employment application at the Department of Education. The rest of our clients were college students of ACES, Tagum City Campus, who presented documents constituting the terms and conditions of their On-the-Job Training (OJT), where a provision thereof expressly waives liability on the part of the industry and the school in any case of untoward incident that may occur within the period of their training. THE THEORY True it is that our first client, Mr. Sapuez, had been remiss on his personal duty, considering his age and maturity, to have processed a long time ago the late registration of his birth, he cannot be deprived of this right. The remedy of late registration at LCR is imprescriptible as a matter of public policy for the protection of his rights. In addition, a correction of his first name erroneously encoded in some public records should be given consideration for practical reasons; otherwise, some benefits or future privileges may not be accorded to him on account of discrepancy of his personal data. In accordance with PAO Memorandum Circulars, the said office has specific and limited services, and such do not include notarization of a Deed involving business or trade or documents involving real properties; hence, outright referral of the same to the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor is the most proper thing done. As regards notarization and acknowledgment of documents, actual physical presence of the affiant before the Notary Public is mandatory because taking an oath is a personal act. Thus, the wife cannot validly represent on behalf of her husband in processing any document for notarization. Considering her place of origin, our third client was advised to ask her husband to personally present the document to PAO or Provincial Prosecutors Office in ComVal Province. Cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry, especially surnames, is a special proceeding. Under Art. 412 of the New Civil Code, no entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order. Therefore, a petition before a proper tribunal must be instituted to obtain the necessary court order directing the LCR to effect the necessary changes of entries in the civil registry. Affidavits will not suffice as in the case of our fourth client, Ms. Myrna Cedeo. However, considering the emerging new rules and special law on changes of entries, there seems a cloud of confusion on the proper procedure. Thus, the most practical advice is to verify at the office of LCR itself the said matter.

There is no doubt that our fifth client, through the DENR-CENRO, can maintain a criminal action against violators of PD 705 for illegal cutting and illegal transporting of Gemilina Lumbers. However, as the law requires, exhaustion of administrative remedies must first be observed before resorting to criminal prosecution; otherwise, the latter would be dismissed for being premature or failure to comply with the condition precedent amounting to lack of cause of action. On the other hand, taking into account the use of Government dump truck in the illegal transport of these lumbers, criminal and administrative actions against erring officials would prosper. There is a prima facie case against public officers for their direct participation in the perpetration of the violation since a Government vehicle was actually used. With respect to our last clients, particularly ACES students, full understanding of the terms and conditions of their OJT contract must be demonstrated to ensure that they are fully aware of the agreement and that consent was never vitiated. Waiver of liability must be clearly understood by the parties although such is holds no water because vicarious liability would always attach in case of injury or damage sustained by trainees within the custody of the company or school training in-charge. Thus, before their documents were notarized, they were first asked with questions that attest the truth of the facts therein. THINGS DONE We were able to produce an Affidavit of Late Registration re: Birth (Annex A hereof) and a Joint-Affidavit of Two Dis-Interested Persons (Annex B hereof). For most of our clients, legal advices, referral and instructions were given to them to guide them in their course of action so they could accomplish their purposes conveniently without much delay. Finally, I used to have the impression that legal service is difficult, stressful, delicate, critical and onerous. My short stay at PAO proved me wrong because right there and then I was inspired and motivated, after all, it was a challenging, worthwhile and rewarding instance of my life.