Arguing in Court vs Arguing Elsewhere

As a lawyer, I am used to being told I am wrong. That’s the nature of this profession. You have to advocate a side and defend your client’s cause with diligence and vigilance. No matter how absurd it may be.

Today, though, was different. It was almost an epiphany.

I found out it is tougher to engage in a legal argument with non-lawyers than with lawyers.

And don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about regular laymen here. These are professionals.

What made it tough was, though they were experts in their respective fields and they know the nitty-gritty of the law that their agency is implementing, they were tunnel-visioned by the same knowledge.

For us lawyers, we have a lot of legal tools to analyze and interpret various situations. We do not analyze a certain situation using only one law or principle. Most of the time, we have to use various legal principles to analyze, explain, defend, or advance a particular argument. We use the Constitution, general laws, special laws, IRRs, the Rules of Court, issuances, opinions, doctrines, and principles of statutory construction.

Using all these in court, you are pretty much okay.

Using these in an office meeting? Well, you might end up looking butt-hurt or unreasonably insistent.

It was tough seeing the smirks in their faces especially when I began to cite laws to support my arguments.  I’ve never felt so out of place. I almost regret raising legal points and in retrospect, I should have considered just sitting there and swallowing my pride.

I could not help it though especially if a certain decision of mine was adjudged “defective” even though such act has legal basis – which they do not have knowledge about. I can’t simply let that slide.

Maybe it was ego. But as a lawyer, you have to stand up for what you know is right.

It was quite a challenge explaining certain basic principles of law to an audience which basically made up its mind and is no longer receptive of whatever you’re saying out there.

But what is really beautiful is that, at the end of the day, though we were looking at things in different wave lengths, we were aiming for the same thing – which is effective public service.

And of course, the take away is that this is still a learning experience for me. This just shows that I have a lot of things to learn particularly in the art of effective communication. It’s useless having all these knowledge of the law if I cannot articulate them effectively.


International Basketball Should Have Height Divisions!

Height Division in Basketball

Image lifted from

Yep, you read that right!

I mean, if boxing and wrestling have weight divisions, then it is just right for basketball to have a height division.

And I mean this to be applied in international competitions like FIBA and the Olympics.


In the spirit of fairness, of course!

I know very well that very competitive athletes will rebuke this idea but I do believe there is a significant difference between a USA team which average height is 6’6″ and a Philippine team with an average of 6’3″. Now 3 inches does not seem a lot but that’s a world of difference once the players play in court.

Further, we Filipinos are not naturally tall people. That being, the athleticism between our big men and the big men of other countries like the US is world’s apart.

Let’s face that fact.

That’s the reason why we need imports!

Just take a look at the past champions in international basketball in the last three decades or so. They were dominated by huge athletic teams. Basketball is, after all, a tall man’s game but the playing field should be leveled.

Specially now that the sport is more scientific than ever.

These huge athletic teams have found more efficient ways to maximize their tall athletic players so much so that even if we apply the same scientific means to optimize our players, there is simply a mismatch. You see what I’m saying?

The last time we played competitively was when most of the world was trying to understand how to play basketball. Now all the rest caught up. Look at China. We used to beat their ass but now they’re dominating us. They found ways to optimize their bigs.

In our case, we simply can’t find enough athletic big men. We have great point guards and even forwards but we lack big men to fight for and defend our front court. We rely on imports and we usually get their rejects.

But having height divisions, I’m thinking at least two height divisions (not age divisions), will at least create parity.

I mean, c’mon, we can’t always rely on heart to win us games. Heart can only do so much.

The taller, more athletic team usually wins it.

And this is not to discredit our players. I salute all of them and everything that they’ve done to bring pride to this country. But sometimes it sucks losing because we just can’t get enough rebound or can’t make a lot of penetrations because the opposing team has basically a Great Wall with them.

And I know this idea will not sit well with a lot of aficionados out there. I am sure some people might even treat the smaller division as second-class basketball competition (just like the way people treat minor leagues) but hey, this is a legit talking point.

How about you? What do you think? Share your thoughts below!



On Pinoy Celebrities…

On Pinoy Celebrities…

It was reported that Daniel Padilla makes one million pesos per taping day. Damn! And he’s not even a great actor!!

Allegedly, Coco Martin was paid 35 million pesos to indorse Sonny Angara. Although that has been denied by both camps.

John Lloyd Cruz, based on the tax he paid last year, made about 143 million pesos in 2014.

All these celebrities, if you notice, in their movies or in their TV shows played “masa” characters. They played the roles of simple people.

Most recently, Coco Martin plays the role of a “probinsiyano” in a hit TV show. In reality, how much does an ordinary probinsiyano make?

Funny because they achieved luxurious lifestyle by playing the roles of ordinary people and they even do it in stupid, nonsensical movies and TV shows. Now there is definitely something fucked up about that.

My point is, we put too much premium on our celebrities. Too much it’s almost injustice. Well to me, it is injustice.

But we deserve it. We deserve every bit of it. We deserve the injustice.

In fact, we, as a people even enjoy it. Oh yeah!

We glorify our artistas so much. We kiss their ass every chance we get. Just read the comment section of every fanpage.

Just think about it. We pay our celebrities so much that everybody now wants to be a celebrity. Just look at our television shows. They are all talent searches. These TV giants are constantly looking for the next big star. And we the sheeple keep auditioning.

We have this culture of fanaticism which I find hard to explain considering that we are supposedly modest people. Western influence maybe? I think not. But you you can argue otherwise and convince me otherwise.

Anyway, we have this stupid fixation with celebrities and it is hurting us big time. Come to think of it, a lot of our young people aspire to be celebrities rather than become engineers, or teachers, or doctors.

And the TV giants feed on those misguided aspirations. They exploit that. Just look at the talent searches on TV!

This country do not need celebrities. We need nation-builders.

Maybe I am just exaggerating some details here but the bottom line is, we are fucking overpaying our celebrities.

We should stop this insanity because it is simply wrong.

I don’t fucking care how you fanatics will defend this by saying that it’s not easy being an “artista”. Fuck that argument. I’ve seen tougher jobs which pay shit.

I am not saying that these artistas should be paid shit. What I am saying is, we should pay them what is simply due.

And how do WE the ordinary people do that? It’s not like they’re being paid by tax money.

Well, we should stop glorifying them so much! These celebrities are paid based on their “star power”. The less “star power” we give them, the less money they will get. You see, just like everything else, showbiz is all about power play. If we give them lesser power over us, then that helps even the playing field.

We glorify these celebrities so much that we believe in almost everything they say:

Bakit magsisinungaling ba si Susan Roces? Papayag ba siyang masira reputasyon niya?

Thus, Susan Roces indorces a laundry powder brand and we believe her words as bible-truth. And so sales of that powder brand skyrockets and she gets her talent fees and some.  – That’s how we give these celebrities power.

Do not believe in everything these celebrities say. You have a brain for Christ’s sake! Use it!

Likewise, every time an artista endorses a politician for a certain elective position, do not take that endorsement as a huge factor in considering who to vote. Otherwise, ibenta mo na lang yang utak mo since ayaw mo naman gamitin. You’re letting your celebrities do the thinking for you – that’s dangerous.

So there, have some dignity and set your priorities straight. Do not get too invested in your celebrities. Invest in yourselves instead. Better yourselves. That’s one of the keys to a successful nation.

Misguided Pinoy Youth


Status update

On Parenthood…

Had to drop by a bank branch today because my wife needed to have her online banking activated. This can be done via an ATM.

I joined a queue and before me was a father and his son. One guy (Guy 2) just finished with the ATM and it turns out he is a workmate of the guy in front of me (Guy 1).

Guy 1 sheepishly asked Guy 2, “Sir, meron na?”

Guy 2 replied “Wala pa sir. Ung service charge lang namin ang naipasok.”

After hearing that, Guy 1 with his son left the queue with a sad look on his face. I was thinking, perhaps he was supposed to treat his son today but had to cancel that because of the delayed pay.

I know how Guy 1 was feeling because I’ve been there. In fairness to the fast food service I worked for before, there ATM payment was always on time. But my first boss as a virtual assistant, he was the master of delay. There were times before where my payments would take two weeks to be “processed” via PayPal.

My boss then was actually a middleman. He was the one who gets clients for us, he receives payment from the client, gets his cut, and then he gives us his cut. But for some reason, it always took him a loooong time to pay us. At that time I was helpless because I was new to the game and had to put up with my boss and so there will be times where I am literally with nothing.

I remember there was a time when we had to borrow noodles and “tuyo” from the nearest sari-sari store because we simply had nothing to eat. That was a stormy day that day too.

I guess that was the final straw that broke the camel’s back because I said “fuck it, I’m just going to get my own client!” And the rest was history.

Anyway, sorry for the adlib. Going back to the point I want to make in this short story. So, after that I went out of the bank and I proceeded to go to our local court because I also needed to follow up on something. On my way, I saw a man carrying his child. His child was about a year old. The man was skin and bones, with deep eyes, ragged clothes, and an overall messy appearance. He was wearing his child using what was perhaps a blanket. His child was crying. The man was also holding a cup which he reached out to people as he begged for alms. It was a pity scene but it was never my style to give money to beggars. I am actually against it.

That scene got me into some thinking. Why do people give birth if they can’t handle it?

I am not saying that less fortunate people should not give birth. What I am saying is, if you can’t even feed yourself well, do not even think of having a child because just think of the welfare of the child.

To some this is harsh, but to me, it’s simply being pragmatic.

The sight of that one year old crying is forever impressed in my mind. It’s like an indelible ink. The child was obviously hungry and undernourished. It made me think of my child. I could not imagine neglecting my child like that. Now I know some of you might say “you do not even know the entire story of that man” – well, it’s true, that man might have been in better times when his child was born and that they unfortunately ran into a series of misfortunes but still, looking at things in general, the principle that you should not even think of starting a family if you can’t afford it still applies.

I mean, really, why bring a life into this world knowing that you can’t nurture it properly? Aren’t you just causing more suffering by doing that? Now I know people will throw the “happiness” argument; that if that’s what makes you happy, then go ahead and have a child. But that reasoning is way out of line. You’re being selfish if you say that. You’re just thinking of your happiness not the welfare of the child. Because if you ask me, nobody wants to be born into this world poor.

My point is, if you want to be a parent, please make sure that you are ready to support a life other than yours.

I am not also saying that only rich people should have children. That is stupid. A lot of rich people do ignore their child too.

What I am saying is, being a parent is a responsibility. One should think first before having a child regardless of your status in life. Having a child is one of the most life changing events a person can have. It’s not just a spur-of-the-moment thing. A lot of people are too impulsive when it comes to sex that they do not fully realize the consequences.

Some people say that we should have so and so education to teach people about responsible parenthood. I am okay with that. But to my mind, things like this should be simple. You do not need to be educated about it. It is common sense. If you can’t handle it, then don’t.


NPA: The government’s convenient excuse

Members of the New Peoples Army (NPA) belonging to the Pulang Bagani Command celebrate the 40th Founding Anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) somewhere in Davao City on Friday, December 26, 2008. The NPA, which is the armed wing of the CPP, has been fighting for the establishment of the Marxist state in the Philippines since 1968. AKP Images/ Keith Bacongco

I’ll make it clear as early as this part of the article: I am not pro-NPA. In fact, as early as 2010, I’ve already said that the CPP-NPA is one of the factors that’s making this country backwards.

But really, there is again a vicious cycle here. It’s been said that the biggest recruiter of the NPA is the government itself. Let me explain, the NPA or the New People’s Army had its roots during the Marcos Regime. It was a reaction against the oppressive government and was highly influenced by the ongoing Communist movements here and abroad during that time. In fact, the declaration of Martial Law was a result of alleged Communist lawlessness. To “justify” Martial Law, the government then would at least have to perform military operations against communists and against those they suspect to be harboring communists. The trouble however was that, the government started labeling certain people, mostly indigenous peoples, as communists or communist sympathizers. Now that presented a problem because some of those labeled as communists, because of the threats and persecution against them, adopted the label of being communists. Others, since they saw the government as their enemy because of the wrongful label against them, were also exploited by the communists hence, recruiting them was made easier.

Hence, a catch-22-ish situation.

Truth is, one does not simply go to the mountains if only the government is doing its job properly. Though I am not saying that it is entirely the government’s fault. Some people join the NPA simply because they want to cause trouble or some other self-vested interest.

It is so frustrating!

And now we have this issue of the Lumads. They are accused of protecting the NPA; that they are NPA.

This is absurd!

Admittedly, I get all the information from the media, from the internet, from friends and colleagues. I have no direct access to military intelligence or to any Lumad but I can make a strong conclusion that the accusations against the Lumads are simply propaganda.

Propaganda for what?

Well, we can sum up all the pieces. Why is the government vent on displacing them. All the Lumads want is a home. Don’t we all? Why can’t the government give them that?

The Lumads occupy areas in Mindanao which are rich in natural resources. The Lumads, much like the Igorots in the Cordilleras, depend upon these natural resources. Their way of life are forever intertwined with mother nature. The modern way of life cannot be simply forced into them. Culture cannot be killed just like that.

The government cannot simply drive them out of their abode. Their abode which nourished their ancestors since time immemorial. The Lumads, simple as they may be, know this. Hence, any intrusion from any outsider will be met with strong resistance. They are not about to let outsiders exploit their resources.

Now this poses a problem for the government. How can they exploit the resources if the Lumads are there.

That’s when the convenient excuse of the NPA comes in. “Let us conduct military operations in their area to suppress alleged NPA activities and anyone who resists will be labeled NPA“.

You can say this is a stretch. But the history behind all these is just too compelling to make a conclusion that this is just but another witch hunt.

And isn’t it too obvious that in our history, where there are mines the indigenous peoples (IP’s) there are always displaced, abandoned, and forgotten.

The IP’s are always caught in between. Always exploited, either by the government, the NPA, and even by over-zealous activists. It’s our duty to protect our countrymen. Not exploit them.

Sometimes, it’s almost too obvious that the government, with all its resources and power, does not really want to solve the problem that is the NPA. Because then, who will the government blame?

DISCLAIMER: I used the term Communism in this article adhering to the brand of communism so espoused by the NPA. In reality, I believe that the NPA and the CPP does not really understand communism as envisioned by Marx at all. Hell, Marx would sneer on them. Even the Maoist communism upon which the CPP patterned itself as well as Leninism could not have been what Marx envisioned. To me, Communism and true Socialism would never happen in this world.


Philippines: Most Corrupt?

Do not be misled by the above video. It had, as of this writing, 1.5 million views and just by reading the comment section it appears that a lot of people really believed that the Philippines is the most corrupt country. This 2014 video originated from this stupid website: The Philippine Pride

A simple google search should belie the content of the video above:

According to an August 2015 article on,  the most corrupt countries are as follows: Eritrea, Libya, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Sudan, North Korea, and Somalia. based its article on Transparency International’s corruption index.

Business Insider, in June 2015, lists the most corrupt countries as follows: South Sudan, Russia, Myanmar, Libya, Iraq, Equatorial Guinea, Afghanistan, Sudan, Central African Republic, Somalia, North Korea, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Although these were 2015 data, the 2014 data is more or less similar (you can verify that by clicking the Transparency International link above. ranks the following as the most corrupt countries: Venezuela, Haiti, Iraq, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, North Korea, and Somalia. This was from 2011.

Nowhere can we find Philippines.

Don’t get me wrong, we have a serious corruption problem. But I think it is fair to state that every State is faced with corruption issues.

I am not also saying that just because some countries are more corrupt than us that we should be fine. No.

What I’m saying is, we should be vigilant. We should not be gullible.

Social media is a powerful tool. It’s a good platform to raise awareness and public opinion. But it can also be used to deceive people.

The video above is obviously fake and everyone who believed its content without verifying it is a fool and he or she is a part of this country’s problem. It’s funny because a lot of the commenters in the comment section of the video expressed how they despise the government because of the alleged UN and Transparency International warning where Philippines was allegedly named as the “most corrupt democratic country”, yet they themselves were easily corrupted by false information. Though the video used a legitimate footage as background, the voice-over is merely created using a voice pack – which is obvious because of the robotic auto-tune-ish voice.

The intention of the maker/s of the video is suspect. I would understand if that video was meant to be satire but no such context is apparent. Even the website where the video originated does not appear to be a satire website.

RELATED: Are Pinoy Satire Blogs Getting Out of Hand?

Anyway, it’s a real shame. Those commenters who were fooled by the video could have easily made a google search to verify the information. Yet they did not. Instead, they jumped to the conclusion that the video is Bible truth. It seems that they do not know that Facebook is not the only website. Use Google or any search engine you prefer. Just like how the cliche goes, do not believe in everything you read in the internet. Always verify.


Status update

Usapang Praktikal…

Kung ako si Mar Roxas, tatakbo na lang akong vice president.

Mukhang mananalo si Grace Poe na pangulo eh at mukhang wala namang laban si Mar.

Si Mar, may laban pag bise presidente ang tatakbuhan.

Pero mukhang madidisqualify si Poe as president later on dahil nga sa lakas ng ebidensiya laban sa constitutional qualifications niya as president.

So by virtue of succession, ang susunod na uupo ay ang bise presidente.



Status update

I don’t think you’re really that intellectual if you believe in fairy tales.


Status update

Finding inspiration in everyday people

It was quite surreal to find myself trending in various social media sites. I’ve written a few articles before for my blog and for other blog sites that went viral but I never imagined that I myself would become a trending topic, even at least for a day.

But looking back at that experience, several things come to mind. Foremost of which is, would my story go viral had I become someone (something) else other than a lawyer. Would my story be any less inspiring if I became a teacher or an engineer or a nurse?

I was asking that myself because truly, and I’ve mentioned this to every reporter/blogger who wanted to broadcast/publish my story: my story is commonplace in this country. Everyday’s a struggle for most Pinoy youth. In my life, I’ve met people who had it worse than me but through hard work, they were able to alleviate their status in life. I’ve met a former security guard who became a well-loved politician, I’ve met a shoe-shine boy who became a college professor, I’ve had a friend who used to live in the slums far worse than the places we used to live in who topped the accountancy board exams. And after my story went viral, I was approached and messaged by strangers who shared the same story line and I was blown away by their personal experiences! Someone shared that he was once a bakery boy but is now a part of a leading IT company in the UK. Someone also shared the story of a pedicab driver who topped the accountancy board exams. Yet, I believe their stories never went viral.

Indeed, there’s a lot of hardworking people out there and it’s not surprising really for someone like me to attain my dream of becoming a lawyer.

I was really puzzled at first when media people started contacting me about my story.  When I posted my story on my personal blog page, it was nothing more than a personal reminder. So when I began receiving messages for interviews, I declined in a heartbeat. I went to a point where I told a news researcher, that my story was for all the selfish reasons. I did it for me in the first place. In fact, anyone in my position would do the same. It was just a normal undertaking. But just like everyone else, he said, my story is an inspiration.

An inspiration.

That got me good.

And I am really thankful for all the people who find inspiration in my story. It is an honor to inspire people.

But let me take this opportunity to remind others that we should not overlook everyday inspirations. One thing that I always say to people who reach out to me telling me how I’m being an inspiration to them is that they too can be an inspiration and I tell them, we should always find ways to be an inspiration to to others even in our own little ways.

And I couple that with a reminder that we should always find inspiration in everyday people. This can be done simply by acknowledging other people’s efforts; by finding merit in their struggles.

That school teacher who spends his own money for visual aids just so he can impart effectively his knowledge to his students – he is an inspiration. That father who skips lunch so that he could find extra income during lunch break to add to his daughter’s tuition expenses – he is an inspiration. That volunteer going house to house surveying for undernourished kids – she is an inspiration. That college student, working in a fast food chain to support her studies – she is an inspiration.

With that last example, let’s not always look at the finished product for inspiration. Let us also find inspiration and strength in those who are weathering adversities in order to reach their dream.

To paraphrase an old saying, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. We should always respect and acknowledge that. A little recognition of someone else’s effort can go a long way.


Status update


Just a few months in law practice, but it seems apparent that good lawyers are approached by good clients. Shady lawyers are approached by shady clients. As the old saying goes, birds of the same feather, flock together.

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