Being a lawyer at a turbulent crossroads

‘Redeem what has been lost, repair what has been cracked, and reform what needs to be changed. Lawyer for the people.’

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) heartily congratulates all those who passed the 2017 bar examinations. In the same vein, we also send our sincerest felicitations to those who did not find their names on the list this time. To have hurdled the four gruelling bar Sundays is an achievement in itself.

By this time, especially highlighted with the recent events in our country, we have validated that one’s performance in the bar examinations is never an accurate measure or guarantee of one’s competence to become a lawyer, much less one’s capacity to put into practice the oath that we swore to uphold: to do and uphold justice.

The entire legal system is again now under even more vicious attack. There is an attempt to cripple and hold hostage the country’s entire judicial system. There are continuing direct assaults against judicial independence. Infighting and self-interests are dressed up as principled non-partisan positions. There is an even more intense erosion of people’s trust in the credibility and integrity of the justice system.

Many of these oddities are perpetrated no less than members of the legal profession themselves who have allowed themselves to break and corrupt their oaths to be dispensers of justice by being instruments of the creeping and impending tyrannical rule in the country.

Institutions are under siege, either through brazen threats or insidious manipulation. Legal shortcuts are the rule rather than the exception in fighting crime and in law enforcement. Borderless basic human rights of free expression, free press, and assembly, nay expressions of humanity, are curtailed. International legal norms are scoffed at. Legal remedies are twisted and legal fora are used to persecute those who defy and refuse to toe the anti-people line.

Ambulance-chasers and pretentious legal toads or clowns prancing like invincible erudite authorities or shameless scumbags test our fortitude if not our capacities to suspend disbelief. Facts are replaced by alternative truths and fake news are peddled as the new normal.

Shall we just look the other way and turn blind to reality, content with dealing with our respective devices?

We shall not. All is not lost. Reason, fairness, common sense, honor, truth, dignity and justice must be reclaimed.

As lawyers, we are duty bound, under oath, to be dispensers of justice and as Filipinos, we are morally and historically bound to struggle and protect our freedom and dignity as a people and as a nation.

We therefore call on our present and new pañeros and pañeras to join the ranks of peoples’ lawyers and to unite with the Filipino people in the continuing fight for freedom and democracy.

Redeem what has been lost, repair what has been cracked, and reform what needs to be changed. Lawyer for the people. #

 

Edre U. Olalia, NUPL President

Ephraim B. Cortez NUPL Secretary General ‭

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