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Thanks and good afternoon, IGNITE-NCPAG, organizers, Eldon Dionisio, my fraternity brother in the UP Alpha Sigma Fraternity . I apologize for the fact that it took me quite a while to confirm my attendance. As a law clerk or court attorney for the youngest and newest Justice Marvic Leonen, who was my professor and dean as a student of the UP College of Law, I had to ask permission. As a law clerk, my duty is to assist the Justice who employed me in drafting of his decisions of which he is the ponente or writer, as well as his concurring, dissenting or separate opinions. I gave him the letter from IGNITE-NCPAG, and he encouraged me to go and said that it would be very good for me to attend and give a talk. In fact, he is kindly requesting a copy of the movie. Peram na lang ng DVD. ‘Pag hindi ibalik, punta na lang kayo ng Faura, 6th Floor, hanapin niyo chambers ni Justice Marvic Leonen.Sabihan niyo iyung security: May utang siya sa’ming DVD.” I was asked to give insight on Give Up Tomorrow, based on my experience as a lawyer. Unfortunately, I’ve only been a member of the Philippine bar for a year and a half, and in the Supreme Court for under a year. As such, my experience does not count for much. I can, however, give a small amount of insight of the role of the judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court in the reality of our justice system in the Philippines. I’ve been with the Supreme Court for a less than a year, but I can tell you that the Filipino is a very litigious people. We have around 600,000 unresolved cases collectively, in all of the Courts of the land. The numbers don’t lie. We love to go to the Courts to enforce our rights. Maybe it’s because growing up, we can always remember Atty. Jose Sison telling us, “Kapag May Katwiran, Ipaglaban Mo!” on Sunday afternoons. Maybe because we believe in the underdog, so much as evidenced by our collective fascination with Manny Pacquiao, and Kim Chiu. Maybe because as a people, we are both patient and tenacious, willing to wait an average of ten years before the Supreme Court rules with finality on our cases. That’s how long it takes before a case which originated in the Regional Trial Court or Metropolitan Trial Court reaches and is decided by the Court of Last resort, by the way. Yes. Sa Supreme Court, ang term na “ten years na akong naghihintay” is neither hyperbole nor a throwaway expression; it is a categorical fact. That’s why I had to ask permission, outside of the fact that he is my boss. I enjoy my work, and would gladly do it for free. But it’s cases like that of Paco Larranaga that serve as a rude awakening as to the gravity of the legal profession and the realities that limit the Philippine judiciary and the justice system. The case of Paco Larranaga has reached the Supreme Court in numerous cases. These are cases that come to the Court in its appellate jurisdiction. They were convicted in the RTC, affirmed by the CA, and arrive to the Court through automatic appeal, because of the fact that they involve a penalty of

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and as a people are up against. we’re better off. make our decisions in a vacuum. stating that given the seriousness of the allegation against him. (Ask if some excerpts can be flashed or read). All is not lost. an innocent person languishes in jail. 138874-75. promulgated on February 4. XI.000 pending cases in all the courts of the Philippines. The Supreme Court is an institution of human beings. the test papers that showed he was at school . there’s a little something called the 600. Collectively. Paco was entitled to a full preliminary investigation and not a mere inquest. X. . stated that the trial court did not err in finding that Paco’s defense of alibi and that guilt beyond reasonable doubt was established. A Supreme Court Justice of the Philippines has a docket of some 500-1000 cases. Aznar. The Minor Francisco Juan Larranaga v. That case actually enumerated the evidence in Paco’s favor: the affidavits of some 40 friends and family. The Court. I am not here to make apologies. but we do not. I have to respect that process and allow it to take its course. that process has to be respected. The Decision. obtaining justice is a process.reclusion perpetua. we have a collective sense of social upheaval. it undergoes deliberations. either in Three Divisions of five justices each. 2004. In short. All things considered. in a Per Curiam Decision. We may decide based solely on the legal arguments raised on the pleadings and the letter of the law. there is still reason to hope. Right now. an innocent minor who was raped by a scheming and malevolent man still lives in fear. the highest court of the land. as a judiciary. a single parent is denied his or her backwages for being illegally dismissed. G. XII. XIV. the Supreme Court. Every second that one of those cases is not resolved. We saw it last year during the Corona impeachment trial. As a legal researcher and media relations officer for Congressman Miro Quimbo. XIII. affirmed the conviction in the lower courts. Justice delayed is justice denied. But let me tell you what we. As you can see. IX. I saw firsthand the pessimism and outrage that eventually led to the former Chief Justice’s removal from office. seems to have failed in the service of justice for Paco Larranaga and the people who believed in him. Larranaga. as a people. VIII. A painstaking and deliberate process. or as one Supreme Court En Banc for grave and important cases. The Court of Appeals and the People of the Philippines. the Supreme Court would not rule in Paco’s favor.000 citizens marching to Luneta to convey their dissent to the excesses of government. That may be a bitter pill to swallow for some of us. But as a lawyer. and the picture of him partying. because what the Supreme Court says has the force and effect of law. First. in People of the Philippines v. the Court ruled in his favor. We have the seething rage that led to 400. In 1997. Unfortunately. No. I am here to tell you all that. If anything. and should not. Before a Decision is promulgated. Cano et al. or a scheming official in a government agency continues to abuse the powers of his or her office.R. as the message of this film says. or forty years in prison.

XVII. your passions. we have a judiciary. That’s Latin for the law is hard. In my case. again. that’s certainly good news. But realize that you have an indefeasible voice. I was fortunate enough to have a career and work that I would gladly do for free. In the end we are all asked to take ownership of what we can do in term s of our collective consciousness as a people. Be the cog that begins turning the wheels of change. said lex. maybe you want to become a lawyer or a politician. On our end. decided to attend today. because swerving is not an offense that allows them to take your license! Know your rights. XVI. And finally. even if you have no plans of going to law school. And I get to assist in the facilitation of justice for the people of this country. And everyday as a court attorney for the Supreme Court. Refuse to be victims of a system. Okay. take that lightly. your political beliefs. and will not. And rest assured that we cannot. Dura lex. we have films and endeavours such as this haunting and harrowing film. maybe not for free. That rage about the lack of justice in this country has to be distilled and refined into concrete action on our part everyday as citizens of this country. but for a lot less than what I’m currently getting paid. the students and Filipino citizens. XIX. a country that I love and will continue to serve. and change the system from within. so is our resolve as a people for a better future for our children and their children’s children. Start with your families. as well. And know that every Filipino is entitled to those same rights. a bench that is willing to undertake reforms but is not alienated from the human experience. XVIII. I will continue to do that. Be the system. More importantly.. . Or maybe my talk and the film have made you decide that you want to be neither. but it is the law. Don’t offer to bribe the MMDA official if you get caught swerving. that among all the ACLE topics. We have more and more graduates in prestigious universities and law schools that are willing to work in government. Fight for those rights as individuals. You are our secret weapon in realizing and actualizing justice. Considering the thrust of the organizers and the venue of today’s event. we have you. which never allows people like yours truly to forget that we have our work in dispensing justice cut out for us. But then. your significant others. Take ownership of it. but learn to realize the value of being collective catalysts for social change. For you.