May 27, 2008

Life Lessons Learned, Grandly

(A send-off to UP Law Batch 2007-2008, taught in the grand manner, and hopefully to become great lawyers and even greater Filipinos)
[NB. Supposed to come out in their Annual, Memorandum '08; first time, the OLA director's been asked to write something there.]

While I was still a student at Malcolm Hall, I heard someone say, “you don’t have to love the law to serve the people, but you do have to love the people. That got me thinking.


I did not love the law then—there was very little about it that I could love; it was (and still is) written in archaic language and embodied concepts that were, to my mind, not directly relevant and even, to some extent, greatly oppressive to the people I aspired to serve. I did love the people I aspired to serve—then as a paralegal and later as a lawyer. It came to a point that I was in despair that I was going to be a lawyer because I felt, then, that lawyering would be useless as the law I did not love had very little relevance in the lives of the people I did love.

Of course, I later did become a lawyer and a law professor—helping to train litigators and form advocates; struggling to instill character and inculcate values; trying mightily to witness to batch upon batch of wide-eyed and idealistic law students the scarred beauty of the law and the limited justice it could render; always, conscious of my role to help each batch passing through Malcolm’s portals understand that the law is but one of the many things a lawyer can use to truly help.

Each year, I look at the graduates and wonder, “did these streams rise higher than the source? This year, I take a look at you, Batch 2007-2008 and ask myself the same question- have these lives, these hearts, these souls, been transformed, changed, inspired and moved to become great lawyers and even greater persons?

I have seen many of you learn valuable life lessons in the year you were at OLA in the many instances of helplessness when you just had nothing to file or argue to help your clients, or nothing left; in the many instances when you held back tears as you empathized with the poverty of resources of the many lives who walk in through Malcolm’s Room 107; in the many instances when clenched fists and whoops of joy were the order of the day as unexpected surprises and wins came our way; in the many instances when you just shook your head in awe at the reality that the cases you simply read before were coming alive before your very eyes. Two semesters is not a lifetime but for all the lessons you have encountered, it might as well have been.

I have seen how, despite the many frustrations and the few joys, many of you marched on with great passion, heedless of the obstacles in your way, mindful only of the rare opportunity you had to show that while you may not love the law you are studying, you love the people you are serving.

All these gives me the confidence to boldly hope that, from your ranks, will come the next great nationalist, the next great professor or dean of law, the next great advocate, the next great litigators, the next great corporate or tax lawyers, or even the next great rebel or social gadfly or simply the quintessential UP lawyer, one who loves the people, if not the law.

Alan Dershowitz, in his Letters to a Young Lawyer, writes, “(i)f you don’t love the law, what should you love. . .? Love liberty. Love justice. Love the good that law can produce. Aspirations don’t disappoint, so long as you realize that the struggle for liberty, justice and anything else worth pursuing never stays won.”


As you temporarily step out of Malcolm Hall (because no one ever leaves Malcolm forever as little fragments of memory remain with us—be it a funny anecdote, a favorite nook in the library, a particularly detested/respected/admired professor), I congratulate you for allowing yourself to be moved by the experience of learning law and, more importantly, life in the years you spent in Malcolm Hall. May you continue loving the people whom the law seeks to serve, the very same people whose toil and tears you have shared and whose very lives have helped you to receive what many only dream of—lessons in life and law learned, grandly.

May 10, 2008

dalawang tula

nahalungkat sa baul ng ala-ala ang una,
katha ng walang magawa ang pangalawa.

ang una'y inspirasyon para sa pangalawa,
bakas sa iisang paksa.

dalawang tula, para (pa rin) sa mga nawawala.
pasensya na po at mahaba.

Ang Una...

Ang mga nawawala
Jose F. Lacaba
(mula sa Kung Baga sa Bigas, Mga Piling Tula;
U.P. Press, 2002)

Isang araw sila'y
nawala na lang at sukat.
May hindi pumasok sa opisina,
hindi sumipot sa apoyntment,
nang-indiyan ng kadeyt.
May hindi umuwi ng bahay
at hindi nakasalo
ng pamilya sa hapunan,
hindi nakasiping ng kabiyak.
Ang inihaing ulam ay ligalig,
at ang inilatag na banig
ay ayaw dalawin ng antok.

Nang hanapin sila'y
walang masabi
ang kamag-anak at kaibigan,
walang ulat ang pulisya,
walang malay ang militar.
Kung mayroon mang nakakita
nang sila'y sunggaban
ng malalaking lalaki
at isakay sa dyip o kotse,
pabulong-bulong ang saksi,
palinga-linga,
at kung pakikiusapang
tumestigo sa korte,
baka ito'y tumanggi.

Pagkaraan ng ilang araw,
o linggo, o buwan, o taon,
pagkaraan ng maraming
maghapon at magdamag,
pagkaraang ang agam-agam
ay magparoo't parito
sa mga manhid na pasilyo
at ang pag-aasam-asam
ay mapanis sa mga tanggapan,
pagkaraan ng luha't tiyaga,
ang ilan sa kanila'y
muling lumitaw.

Lumitaw sila
sa bilangguan, sa bartolina,
sa kubling bahay na imbakan
ng ungol, tili at panaghoy,
himpilan ng mga berdugong
eksperto sa sanlibo't isang
istilo ng pagpapahirap.
Lumitaw silang
bali ang buto o sira ang bait.
O kaya'y lumitaw silang
lumulutang sa mabahong ilog,
o nakahandusay sa pampang,
o umaalingasaw
sa mga libingang mababaw
na hinukay ng mga asong gala.
Lumitaw silang
may gapos ang kamay at paa
na wala nang pintig, o watak-
watak ang kamay, paa, ulo,
o tadtad ng butas ang bangkay,
likha ng bala o balaraw.

Ang iba'y hindi na lumitaw,
hindi na kailanman lumitaw,
nawala na lang at sukat,
walang labi, walang bangkay,
hindi malaman kung
buhay o patay,
hindi mapaghandugan
ng lamayan, pasiyam, luksa,
hindi maipagbabang-luksa,
hindi maipagtirik ng kandila
kung Todos los Santos.
Nakaposas pa ba sila
sa paa ng kinakalawang na kama
sa loob ng kuwartong may tanod,
busog sa bugbog,
binabagabag ng bangungot,
sumisipol kung nag-iisa
ng "Saan Ka Man Naroroon,"
iniisip kung ano ang iniisip
ng magulang at anak,
kasintahan o kabiyak?
O sila ba'y
umayaw na sa pakikibaka
at nagtaksil sa dating buhay,
at nagtatago sa takot,
o nag-asawang muli
at nangibang-bayan,
o tinamaan ng amnisya
at lalaboy-laboy sa lansangan,
o lihim na namumundok
at nag-iba ng pangalan?
O sila ba'y pinagpapasasaan na ng uod?
Nag-ugat na ba ang talahib
sa mga mata ng kanilang bungo?
Bahagi na ba sila
ng kanilang lupang tinubuan,
ang lupang kanilang ipinaglaban?

Sinusulat ko ito
para sa mga kakilalang
hanggang ngayon ay nawawala,
para kina Charlie Del Rosario
at Caloy Tayag
at Manny Yap
at Jun Flores
at Rudy Romano,
sila na kahit hindi ko
nakilala nang husto
ay alam king naglingkod
sa api at hikahos.
Buhay man sila o patay
sa aking alaala'y
mananatili silang buhay.

- oOo -

Ang pangalawa...

Ina at Anak
sa pag-alala kina Jonas, Karen, Sherlyn at
marami pang ibang nawawala ngunit
di nakakalimutan

1.
Pinuno ang parang ng katahimikan
Ng pagtatangis ng
Inang,
Naghihinagpis,
Nagsusumamo;

Tila bang panibagong Sisang
Naghahanap,
Naghahagilap;

Umaasang makita muli ang
Minamahal ngunit
Nawawalang
Anak.

2.
Pinunit ang parang ng katahimikan
Ng pagngingitngit ng
Inang,
Nagdadalamhati’t
Nagagalit;

Tila bang panibagong Lorenang
Tumitindig at
Kumikilos;

Nananalig na makamit ang mithiing
Hustisya’t Katarungan
para sa nawawalang
Anak.

3.
Pinaligiran ang parang ng katahimikan
Ng alingawngaw ng
Inang,
Nananawaga't
Naninindigan;

Tila pang panibagong Gabrielang
Poot ay lumalagablab at
Ngayo'y lumalaban;

Nang wala na muling mga inang
Magdadalamhati’t Maghihinagpis
para sa nawawalang
Anak.

Ted
2007


May 04, 2008

...but Samuel L. Jackson is uber, uber cool!

Now that Omar has blown the lid off the post-end credit scene of Iron Man, I can now write about it. Didn't say anything about it in the previous blog because didn't want it to be a spoiler.

BUT, YES, there will be a sequel... and it has Samuel L. Jackson in it as Nick Fury of Supreme Headquarters Intelligence Espionage-Law Enforcement Division or S.H.I.E.L.D. and he ends the movie with this..."I'd like to talk to you about the Avenger initiative."

Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine,Kelsey Grammer as Hank McCoy aka The Beast and, let's see...

Natalie Portman or Kiera Knightley as Wanda, The Scarlet Witch
Johnny Depp as Pietro or Quicksilver
Orlando Bloom as Hawkeye
Eric Bana as The Hulk
Brad Pitt as Captain America

As Stan "The Man" Lee would say, 'nuff said.

May 02, 2008

Robert Downey Jr. is the man...

... the Iron Man!

I succumbed to temptation yesterday and went to watch Iron Man, even though I was supposed to work (on Labor Day). . . and, in response to a question, "is it as good as people say it is?", YES!!!

I am biased because I've waited sometime for this one but it was worth the wait.

Robert Downey Jr. is really one of the BEST actors of his generation--demons and all. He is an incredible Tony Stark/Iron Man--funny, witty but also quite credible as the industrialist/weapons manufacturer who has an epiphany after being kidnapped and subjected to a front row view of what his weapons are actually doing. His transformation from Tony Stark--playboy industrialist--to Iron Man, with a an artificial heart that is more of flesh and blood than many others is quite good.

The effects are great--much, much better than than the Transformers; and the fight scenes are equally good. Of course, the proliferation of credible actors (Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Terence Howard) makes the film a notch higher than your usual super hero movie.

Is it as good as they say it is? it's much, much better.

Go watch it!

PS. Now, for "The Dark Knight" and JJ Abrams "Star Trek", then I'll shut up and stop raving.

I don't believe in destiny (cable) and I hate sky(cable)

... because I don't get the NBA anymore!

It's the NBA play-offs and things are really getting exciting but because Solar sports is no longer on skycable, I don't get to watch the games anymore. With the schedule I keep, the news (late news) on GMA and CNN, BBC and the NBA on solar sports are practically the only things I get to watch. . . and because sky yanked out the NBA from its line up, I don't get to watch the NBA anymore!

Good thing, I can catch up online.

PS. Go, Celtics!