And how they hate it indeed.


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Friday, January 21, 2011
Cushy Job

Some people think I have a cushy job. On the contrary, being a full time ligitation lawyer is no cushy job at all, I can't even say it's even a tad bit cushy. Some of my peers can give a rough estimate on how much time they devote to litigation advocacy. Some of them say their practice is about 60% litigation and 40% consulting work, but for now, I can't I can give a rough estimate as to how much of my time I devote to these fields.

Most of my consultancy work ultimately leads to litigation, I don't have to wonder why. While our law firm handles "some" consultancy work, it always have something to do with suing or defending somebody in court.

Appearing and arguing the cause or defense of a client might be exciting for some "spectators" but one must have the stomach for all the hate and mire that is being thrown by the litigants in court. I for one am starting to get used to it. Most, if not all, litigants want us lawyers to join in on the fray and hate the opposition, but there's one thing I can really say about that: I cannot possibly hate the opposition, I don't have the time nor the emotional instability to do that. Some would want to drag us into their fights, sort of like a proxy war, but I don't operate like that and I don't want to be dragged into all that hate. Which gets me thinking, how can I be a practicing Buddhist while being a lawyer in active court litigation?

That question is still haunting me. Compassion is something that is seemingly absent in court but I really beg to differ. If I were such a cold-hearted bastard, how come I feel emotionally drained after tearing into a witness and pointing it out to the court that his/her testimony is nothing but a big fat lie?  During hearings, especially the cases I've been handling which are somewhat emotionally charged, I cannot help but feel frustrated and angry at times, but I have to keep my tongue and anger in check, otherwise, I might be put in the chokie.

In any case, being a lawyer (depending on what kind of advocacy) is no cushy job. Although I have a rather comfortable office sans rent (some of the perks for being a 3rd generation lawyer in a family of lawyers), I've never had any regrets for the things that I do for my cleints within the bounds of propriety and the law. However, I do have to remind myself every now and again why I wanted to be a lawyer, this may sound cheesy for the jaded ones out there, but I just want to help people.

YEah, it sounds cheesy even to me, but that's one of the reasons I sacrificed four years of my life to get my law degree and pass the bar.

Be that as it may, I will have to try to practice detachment and not be affected with all the hate and the vigorous argumentation. In the meantime, I will have to sit in a corner at my favorite coffeeshop with my back against a corner wall where I can have a 180 degree view of the people coming in going. This job makes me paranoid at times.

Posted at Friday, January 21, 2011 by CAFFiend
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Thursday, August 26, 2010
Inept and Insensitive

from the interweb

Barely 42 hours have passed since the firing stopped but the tragedy still goes on. Yesterday, elements of the Philippine National Police, Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) and even college students were caught by Chinese journalists taking souvenir photos of themselves with the besieged bus that was the focus of both the local and international media this Monday.

Utterly shameful.

It is a well known fact that in some areas of the Philippines, especially in the Visayas and parts of Mindanao (hundreds of kilometers south of Manila) the PNP is known locally known as Pulis sa Kalinaw (Officers of the peace) - a derogatory term that means that the police will merely be present at the scene of the crime after the perpetrators are long gone.

But I digress, the photos clearly show an utter lack of sensitivity on the part of the people involved in taking souvenir photos of themselves with the bus that is still drenched in blood.

I am ashamed of the acts of these Filipino Northerners.


Posted at Thursday, August 26, 2010 by CAFFiend
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Manila Tour Bus Hostage Taking

Photo by AFP

As a Filipino Tax Payer, I was shocked as to how the Philippine National Police handled yesterday's hostage crisis at the Quirino Grandstand near the Rizal Park in Manila, Philippines. It took the PNP nearly an hour to complete the assault with several attempts to enter the Hong Thai tour bus carrying the remaining 15 hostages.

The PNP denominated the assault as a "hasty assault", perhaps this is a euphemism for just winging it or shooting from the hip and hope for the best. The police, in their attempt to enter the bus where Dismissed Manila Police Mobile Patrol Unit chief Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza held captive the remaining 15 Hong Kong - Chinese tourists, used a sledgehammer to whack at the windows and the front door to the bus. The reason for using a sledgehammer escapes me. An assault presupposes the use of speed and surprise, more so in such a situation wherein lives are on the line. By mindlessly smashing the windows and the door, then mindlessly smashing one of the headlights (only God knows for what possible reason they did that), they have lost the element of surprise.


Photo by AFP

The PNP really did not have the element of surprise in order to effect any rescue. For one, the tour bus was equipped with a mobile television unit as well as radio. The hostage taker has been monitoring troop movements through the news report, giving him a blow by blow account on what was going on outside the bus, thus negating the need to peer his head out in order to determine the police's relative positions. PNP should have made provisions with the media to at least delay their reports so as not to apprise the hostage taker regarding their movements.

Much has to be learned from what happened earlier. This is another blow to the Philippines' image and standing in the international community. It is no secret that in the Philippines, one really cannot rely on the police for assistance. Reaction time is slower than a crawl, by the time they move, either the victims are all dead, just as in yesterday's hostage taking, half of the remaining hostages died, or the suspects are long gone before they arrive at the scene.


Photo by Danny Pata

I may not be an expert in Police methods and tactics (if ever they have one) but I am, after-all, a lawyer and a psychologist and have studied extensively crises management and human behavior, besides, the Philippines is a free country and I am entitled to to my own opinion, even if the rest of the world do not.

In hostage situations, there are generally five types of Hostage Takers universally accepted by police authorities all over the world, they are as follows:

1. Persons in Crisis
2. Psychotics
3. Common criminals
4. Prisoners
5. Political terrorists

The hostage taker, Dismissed Manila Police Mobile Patrol Unit chief Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza, belonged to the first category of hostage takers and quickly became psychotic (2nd category) when his younger brother, SPO4 Gregorio Mendoza, a police officer, was arrested, in front of the media and within view from the the bus, and aired on national television.

Photo by Danny Pata

When this took place, all hell broke loose when gun fire was heard coming from the vehicle and we saw the bus driver escape through the window shouting that all of the passengers are dead. The PNP's act of arresting SPO4 Gregorio Mendoza as an accessory and a principal for the crime of Obstruction of Justice clearly agitated the hostage taker who was already disturbed during a period of frustration and despair when he was sacked from the force for corruption a year shy of his retirement.

Automatic gunfire was heard, then the "assault" came, and we all saw on national television and on the international channels what happened next.

As per the usual in the Philippines, the aftermath of Hostage Crisis would be the usual Congressional / Senate Investigation and all sorts of investigation leading to no where. I am of the opinion, and it is a very strong opinion, that the police operation and the conduct of the negotiations leading up to the assault was botched by the PNP. While we cannot just fault the PNP altogether, the government will have to bear the blame for yesterday's dismal failure and the PNP's apparent lack of training, equipment, foresight and intelligence.

As for me, the next time I will tune in to my television will be the day when I get to see all these high ranking police officials, senators and congressmen pin the blame on the hapless stooge. Then again, WE the Filipino people are the hapless stooges. We are the ultimate losers in this international embarrassment.

For now, the Philippine National Police should get more training hours. The PNP is currently training on honing their skills by playing TIME CRISIS at the mall:

The Philippines' Finest in Training.

Posted at Tuesday, August 24, 2010 by CAFFiend
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Friday, July 23, 2010
Road Warriors
The untimely deaths of 22 Iranians in a recent bus crash in Balamban Town, Cebu wasn't the last as less than a month later, 15 died in another bus accident in the neighboring city of Toledo. The common denominator between these two bus crashes are its drivers. As way the things usually are in the Philippines, majority of drivers license holders are not qualified to even drive a car, let alone a bus. Let's not forget that more than half of them can't even read simple traffic signs.

In the aftermath of the bus crashes, the Land Transportation Office conducted road safety seminars for utility vehicle drivers and administered an exam afterwards. The language used wasn't even in English as majority of our utility vehicle drivers cannot even communicate in English -that in itself, will not make me wonder why they can't read traffic signs that are in English- besides, drivers think they know the roads and their vehicles quite well.

It's high time the government will have to reevaluate the issuance of drivers' license. There are too many loopholes. LTO offices are congested and the services they offer would drive one to employ the services of a fixer -you don't have to present yourself to process your license until you have your picture taken.

These seminars-after-the-fact is another band-aid solution to a much bigger problem. If these government agencies are efficient in making sure drivers are qualified to drive, we won't be seeing these bus crashes anymore. The issue will die down in a few months time and LTO will be happily issuing drivers license to these unqualified people and for sure, we will see more bus crashes in the years to come.

The drivers are not the problem, the Land Transportation Office is.

Posted at Friday, July 23, 2010 by CAFFiend
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Monday, March 08, 2010

Lately, I've been pretty busy with the usual things that keep me busy (I wonder what those are... extortion? blackmail? graduate school?) I've been keeping mum for the past couple months or so until I finally decided to join in on the mess.

Republic Act 9905, or "An Act Creating a Barangay to be Known as Barangay Banawa-Englis in the City of Cebu" is a law that allows Barangay Guadalupe - the fattest barangay in Cebu City- to get even more fatter by "legally landgrabbing" 12 sitios belonging to neighboring Labangon (which I am a resident of).

A Brief Historical Background:

Before the formalization of the Barangay system of neighborhoods, the Barangays we know now were used to be be called Barrios. In those days, there was a certain Barrio called Banaua (now a mere sitio of Guadalupe). This Barrio is triangular in shape and its borders clearly defined by the 1910-1912 Cebu Cadastral Survey as within BM 59, BM 35 and BM 42. That is the actual extent of the historical Barrio Banaua which the powers-that-be want to be separated from Guadalupe. The Biggest barrio back then was the Barrio of Labangon (which was part of Cebu Viejo or San Nicolas)

1910-1912 Cebu Cadastral Survey (Harve Abella Collection)

Guadalupe was a mere thin-ass barrio then. As to how it got fat in the succeeding years, is totally beyond me. Mind you, Guadalupe was a teeny-weeny little barrio south of the Gudalupe River. And it stayed that way for decades, then all of the sudden, BLAM! It swallowed up Banawa and now because of RA 9905, it swallowed up 12 Sitios of Labangon! I do not know why Barangay Labangon Captain Felix Abella did not oppose the inclusion of the 12 Labangon Sitios in "Guadalupe" to be a part of the proposed Banawa-Inglis barangay.

In the 1980's, Labangon Barangay Captain Honorato B. Abella, surveyed the extent of Labangon and defined its territorial limits. Some concessions were made with the neighboring Barangays of Guadalupe, Tisa, Calamba, Duljo and San Nicolas, but those concessions left Barangay Labangon's territorial integrity pretty much intact. But as the decades went by, Captain Asisclo Abella took over as Captain when Captain Honorato B. Abella's term ended. The late Captain Asisclo Abella (God rest his soul) undid that took Captain Honorato Abella several years and countless number of hours of work to delineate and define the metes and bounds of Labangon. Captain Asisclo Abella did not extend services to certain sitios which are clearly part of the Labangon Heartland, namely: Insiang Goriong, Capaculan, Sacred Heart, Ma. Paloma, Lutawlutaw, amongst others I cannot name now. He merely forgot all about them and allowed Guadulupe to stake its grubby hands on them.

What is more heartbreaking is that Sitio Insiang Goriong IS Labangon's Heartland. It is historically a part of Labangon and is home to (ironically) the present Barangay Captain's closest relatives (cousins to be exact) who is Captain Felix Abella.

Now, as Guadalupe lays its claim to Paseo Arcenas - WHICH IS CLEARLY WITHIN THE TERRITORY OF BARANGAY LABANGON, as the boundary is a but a few meters before the entrance of Paseo Arcenas - Guadalupe also lays claim to a very Labangon Sitio called Capaculan. Everybody knows that Salvador Street is a very Labangon Street and historically, Salvador Street was once known as Capaculan Road (Calle Capaculan), now, Tony Cuenco (the author of the Law) included Capaculan to this Banawa-Inglis thinggie... which is certainly NOT historically nor actually belonging to Banawa. Banawa is no where near that! I wonder why the residents of Labangon nor of these 12 Labangon Sitios were not informed about their inclusion in this Banawa-Inglis thing?

But of all the idiotic things that I've heard this week, COMELEC IDIOT OFFICER WHATSISFACE says that those in the 12 Labangon Sitios cannot even vote in the plebiscite as they are registered in Labangon anyway, why include them in the plebiscite?! What kind of idiotic logic is that? This law encroaches upon the territory of Labangon, and those in the 12 Labangon sitios have no say in the matter?!?!

I believe that a certain idiot who is claiming absolute knowledge in the law is now sitting in Congress (who ironically made the Local Government Code) or someone  who is now in the COMELEC forgot that SEc. 10 of RA7160 clearly states that no creation, division, merger, abolition, or substantial alteration of boundaries shall take effect unless approved by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite called for the purpose in the political units directly affected.

-- So I guess Barangay Labangon (which is clearly affected by this RA 9905) is just mere chopped liver and have no say in the matter, right?

Posted at Monday, March 08, 2010 by CAFFiend
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Just a Thought
I've been thinking of starting a new blog or continuing this one but I'm still undecided. I'm having some sort of block (since I do consider myself as a writer).

Posted at Tuesday, January 26, 2010 by CAFFiend
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Sunday, October 11, 2009
Enduro Bar Exam 2009 - and Typhoon Ondoy

The 2009 Bar Exam finally ended on October 4, 2009, the exam was supposed to be held on all four Sundays of September but Typhoon Ondoy (international name: Typhoon Ketsana) dropped around six months worth of rain in just about 8 hours.

I am Bar Exam retaker, I previously took it in September of 2008 but things didn't work out, so I took it again this year. When I received the call that I didn't make it last April 3, 2009 when the results were released, I felt my head crack. I felt sick. But because I am a psychopath, I didn't allow myself to grieve all that much. Besides, grieving resolves nothing, so on April 5th, I made reservations with EGI Taft Tower Dormitory for another 2 months stay for the 2009 Bar Exam. I planned to stay there for the months of August and September.

(6th Floor Corridor. It looks like a hospital, right? It's more like an insane asylum for us.)

Being a retaker (or T2 for some people), some of the pressure is of, but then again, considering that I come from a family of lawyers, some cannot even imagine the pressure I'm under though I just take it in stride. The Supreme Court OBC made some changes with the exam, they introduced the two-examiner rule wherein instead of the usual one examiner per subject, two examiners would be making the questions. Then there was the question on how were we going to answer in the notebook. Since all of this was experimental, I didn't realize that the exam notebook itself would be divided into two parts.

People think that the checking would be quicker this time since each examiner would be checking his part only but I don't think so. What would be most likely would be that each examiner would just divide the total number of notebooks and check all the notebooks between them. None of this so-called cutting the notebook in half. That isn't feasible nor is it practicable, to say the least.

Some first timers were so quick to say that Justice Nachura would be lenient during the checking and that the passing percentage would be high this time. I say: that's a crock of bullshit. Although Justice Nachura would have a say, it is still the Supreme Court En Banc that will decide on the passing percentage! Just take a look at the results for 2008! They said Tinga was lenient yada yada yada and for two years in a row, the passing percentage was extremely low.

The number of takers this year is approximately 5,080. That's almost a thousand less as compared to last year's exam. Actually, it's lesser by about 200+ since around 200 never get to complete all four Sundays. Then there was the news of a coming storm during the 4th week of September, the week before the Remedial Law and Legal Ethics & Practical Exercises exams. The skies around Manila grew dark on thursday and it started to drizzle, not that we mind, considering that DLSU was just our next door neighbor, we can always walk towards the examination site even if it would flood. Taft Avenue usually floods for a couple of hours when it rains but little did we know that the dark skies hid something more terrifying: Typhoon Ondoy.

On September 26, 2009, the rain came down without any let-up from around 9:00 til 4:00pm, Taft Avenue was already flooding, and from the 9th floor looking towards Leon Guinto Street which ran parallel to Taft Avenue, the floodwater was already waist deep. Taft was only around knee deep by noon time. Sometime after lunch while I was in my room, I was bothered by the racket in the corridor, what the fuck was going on outside?! Why the hell was it so noisy?! Then I received a text message, I wasn't able to read it since I received a call from my sister telling me that the Sept. 27, 2009 exam has been postponed and moved to October 4.

(DLSU before Taft Avenue was flooded)


I was so happy that they moved it but reality sank in. Shit. I am supposed to be back in Cebu by Sept. 29. Lecheng yawa! I thought that my lease contract would expire on Sept. 30 and I'd have to pay the transient rate of PhP 850.00 per day til Oct. 4. This is not right. A week's extension is not just an added burden, it is torture!

Little did we know that Typhoon Ondoy brought disaster to the Metro.


Posted at Sunday, October 11, 2009 by CAFFiend
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Friday, June 26, 2009
Rizal House is Green but People see RED

By Maricar Cinco Inquirer Southern Luzon First
Posted 03:34:00 06/19/2009

CALAMBA CITY – The of National Hero Jose Rizal has been getting pained attention since it was painted green last month.

In text messages, e-mails and phone calls, residents based in the city, other provinces and abroad have expressed “shock” and “horror” over the new color of the bahay na bato. “We don’t like it,” declared Linda Lazaro, a school teacher in her 70s and a member of the Rizal Day committee for the past 15 years.

“The house symbolizes Rizal and [the paint job] is an insult to his memory,” she said.

The house, now a shrine, was reconstructed in the 1950s using the 25-centavo contributions of students in a number of schools. It has stood for decades in dirty gray.

The National Historical Institute (NHI) had the house painted in a light shade of green. The interiors were painted yellow and the ceiling blue.

“Even the well in front of the house was painted green,” lamented Lazaro, who claims to be a member of the clan through the wife of Rizal’s brother Paciano.

‘Flimsy’ reason

In his column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on June 3, NHI Chair Ambeth Ocampo explained that the reason for painting Rizal’s house green was to “highlight, and inform visitors of, the meaning of his surname.”

The surname Rizal is rooted in the Spanish word “ricial,” which means a green field ready for harvest, Ocampo said.

But a resident of Calamba, who preferred not to be named, said: “It does not follow that your house should be painted according to the meaning of your surname.”

Neither was Lazaro impressed. “It’s a flimsy reason,” she said. “It doesn’t hold water.” She said a running joke had the city residents talking about their surnames and how their houses should be painted.

“If our last name is Guinto, should our house be painted in gold?” she recalled one sarcastic remark she had heard.

To address the violent reactions, the shrine curator has put up a tarpaulin bearing an explanation why the house was painted green.


The staff of the Rizal shrine welcomes visitors, mostly people on educational trips, especially during weekends. Occasionally, the visitors number about 10 batches in a day.

“That’s all we have here in Calamba, and we’ve lost our symbol,” Lazaro said in expressing worry over losing the city’s main historical and tourist attraction.

She said a British guest recently came to see the house and was “horrified” by its color.

“It’s embarrassing,” she said. “We are having a hard time explaining to [guests] why it is green.”

Lazaro said it was different in the pre-green days: “Children would turn quiet upon entering the house. There was a certain ambiance and romance, it being an old house.”

She said this was contrary to a reaction from another recent guest who referred to the shrine as “a toy house.”

Another resident said Rizal’s house now looked “like a cake.” Lazaro said teachers on a tour of Calamba were “angry that they lost credibility before their students” in showing the national hero’s supposed representation of home.

Doctor Virgilio Lasaga, tourism officer of Calamba, said his office had likewise been receiving negative feedback on the paint job. ‘Disco house’

“We are being blamed [for turning Rizal’s house green],” Lazaro said. She said she had been avoiding the market because people there kept asking her why the shrine was painted that way. According to Lazaro, an old female resident of Calamba even wept over the change, and teenagers have started referring to the shrine as “a disco house with neon colors.”

In a text message, a concerned individual said in Filipino: “I did not expect the painting of the bahay na bato. If we solicit funds for its repainting, I am sure many will be open-handed.” But Lazaro said it would be too late to repaint the house in time for Rizal’s birth anniversary today.

She said the residents were also of two minds over whether there should be a celebration.



Posted at Friday, June 26, 2009 by CAFFiend
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Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Boljoon Dig. 4th Dig Season. Day 13
Update from Mr. Jobers Bersales of USC, SOAN Dept.
Words and photos by Mr. Bersales.

Boljoon yielded once more its golden treasures buried beneath the church and convent grounds today, on our 13th day of excavation. So, who says 13 is unlucky?

Four burials with two modern postholes (for volleyball posts) that intruded into them. Two of the burials,Burial # 28 and 29 are nearly complete.

A mid-Ming covered powder box, probably Hong Zhi period (1488-1505) on Burial 29, a female.

A long gold necklace is revealed on the neck area of Burial 29.

The gold necklace, now cleaned and shiny.

The length of the necklace.

Posted at Tuesday, March 31, 2009 by CAFFiend
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Philippine Railway Company - Cebu

Railway photos from Harve Abella's Collection

On September 16, 1907, the train made the inaugural run from Cebu City to Danao on the railroad operated by the Philippine Railway Company. This extended the rail road service that, at this time, was already operational between Argao in the south and Cebu City.

Many Cebuanos no longer remember that Cebu used to have an Argao-to-Danao railroad, or that in early 1900s there were plans for an electric car service within Cebu City itself.

Cebu's railroad service ended with the destruction of World War II, but it was already dying even before then. While it was boon for big agricultural producers, the railroad was not too popular with the general riding public (which, to begin with, was not that large in the pre-war years).

In the 1930s, there was stiff competition with bus companies. Bus rides did not only cost less, they were more congenial to the habits of local travelers. Slower and more round-about, with frequent stops (discharging and picking passengers who have to answer the call of nature). they were (for travelers of old) more convivial than inconvenient, much like spending a lazy day visiting neighbors.


Cebu Central Station Rail Yard

Cebu Central Station

Stations of the Argao-Danao Line. Photos from Ka Bino Guerrero

Posted at Tuesday, March 31, 2009 by CAFFiend
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