A good name is our responsibility

By Farah G. Decano


IN informal settings, I have generally introduced myself using my first name.  I don’t flaunt my title because I prefer to be treated in the same way as others.   I don’t even identify my car with a “lawyer” sticker or plate.  It is just not my bag of chips.

The reason people remember me as “Atty. Decano” is because I added the prefix “ATTY.” to my name on my campaign posters when I ran for councilor in 2001, 2004 and 2007.   It was the easiest way of informing the voters about my qualification without having to explain that I have two degrees and that I passed the bar.

For more than a decade, I was known as the only female Atty. Decano in Pangasinan.  There were others but they were all male: my father, my brother and my uncle.  Hence, whenever one spoke of a female Atty. Decano, the immediate impression was that it was me.  Yes, my mother is a lawyer but she was often referred to as “Judge Decano.”

In 2013, another female Atty. Decano who was raised in La Union decided to practice in Pangasinan.  Unlike me, she uses the generic “Atty. Decano” more often.    Many of her dealings have been mistaken as mine.  I now wish to clarify that there have been two female Attys. Decano in Pangasinan for several years now.    Thus, if you hear of a generic Atty. Decano in Pangasinan courts and in other places, please remember to distinguish.

I am protective of the name, “Atty. Decano.” I hope that the other female Atty. Decano understands why.  My parents invested much in that name in Pangasinan.   They are two exceptional lawyers who both graduated as College of Law valedictorians from the University of Pangasinan in the late 1950’s.  My deceased father, Hermogenes Sr., was known for his aboveboard dealings with the court, his fellow lawyers and clients.  He was also president of various civic clubs, local and national.  My mother, who was once awarded as one of the most outstanding judges in the Philippines, never received or demanded bribes.  Just like my father, my mom was likewise president of various associations, including the regional association of judges.  I have no intention to waste whatever they have invested in that generic name, “Atty. Decano.”  While we enjoy the respect attached to the name built by the previous Attys. Decanos, we have the responsibility to maintain that clean name for the next generation.  We must not use this privilege of an established name for our own agenda – monetary gains, preferential treatment or otherwise – to the detriment of others and those who are yet to inherit the name.

My father used to tell me, “usar mo so maong ya ngaran ta pian makatulong ka ed arum.”  I hope I am not disappointing him.

In the national arena, we must not forget the heroism of our ancestors – how they fought and died for our country.  We must recall how we collectively gained the admiration of the world for our bloodless revolution against a dictator, how the previous leaders asserted our rights over the West Philippine Sea and earned the respect of the international community.  We must keep the pride that was attached to the name, ”Filipino.”

We must not throw away all these efforts for present convenience.   There is so much value in keeping the pride in the Filipino name for the future generations.

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