The dark side

By Farah G. Decano


“NO master but the law, no guide but conscience, no aim but justice.”

With more than eight thousand new lawyers in our midst, I cannot help but recall the above quote from Associate Supreme Court Justice, Jose Benedicto Luna Reyes, more popularly referred to as J.B.L. Reyes.  I wonder what the idealistic, bright-eyed new members of the bar have in mind?  Do they think that their newly earned license to practice law is like the Excalibur, the sword of power, pulled from under a rock at the bottom of a lake?  Do they think that with the A.T.T.Y attached to their names, they can now start swinging the weapon at whichever direction they wish?

he new lawyers must not be blinded by their recent impressive feat.  Instead, they must look into their core and ask themselves on which side they wish to be – for justice or for the dark side?

Having more than two decades of exposure to the present legal system, I had several glimpses of world that escapes public scrutiny.  In this parallel shadowy realm, public service is merely a charade performed by clowns, thugs, and monsters in barongs, robes, suits, and uniforms.  There are unaccountable power brokers who pull the puppet strings of these charlatans.  In this alternate universe, there is an unwritten law that governs the system – the law of money.  Those who agree to play a role in its theater will find themselves falling deeper in the stinky gutter.

The legal profession is clothed with the vision of honor, erudition, strength, integrity and honesty.  In fact, the halls of justice and other tribunals reflect the majesty and virtues of the Greek gods.   Lawyers must not lose sight of how society regards them – with trust and great respect. In return, they must be faithful to their oath and be observant of their sworn loyalties.   Attorneys must at all times swing their sword in defense of the truth and fairness.

It is when lawyers treat money, instead of the law, as their master that they start appearing as mere court jesters playing tricks in the dungeons of injustice.  I urge all new lawyers to always resist the temptation of the dark forces.

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The 1986 EDSA Revolution was a demonstration against what President Marcos stood for – dictatorship, corruption and curtailment of freedoms.  To skeptics, the historic event was a manifestation of the people’s power in Manila only.  Until now, some believe that it was not reflective of the entire country’s wish about the leadership.

This year, we are witnessing a different kind of EDSA.  The son of the deposed President Marcos is seeking the same post that his father was ejected from.   He enjoys the machinery of the incumbent while his staunch rival, Vice President Leni Robredo, has the support of volunteers. 

The result of the coming May elections may thus be seen as an assessment of the 1986 revolution.  If Marcos Junior loses, the people power three decades ago will be given an imprimatur thru a constitutionally recognized process.  The voting will not only involve the people from the National Capitol Region but the entire country, as well.  The polls in May will be a litmus test on the Filipinos’ sentiments on who really has the power of the people behind him/her. 

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With obstacles thrown against the campaign of VP Leni such as the sudden repair of roads that lead to her rally sites, unexpected cancellation of bus trips and unforeseen jamming of signals, it looks like someone is desperate to frustrate the people’s will in the coming elections.    Let us all be vigilant.

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