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My Father: Why I did not take up law in college

School of Law

A Father’s Day Reflection

He took up Bachelor of Law, but ended up disillusioned, even as a bright student, for a reason/s unknown to me. This was my father. What follows are great, personal learnings from him (R.I.P. in Libingan ng Mga Bayani) which I would cherish till next life.

My father would fondly introduce me to anyone as “grandmaster” from the time I was accorded the title by winning the grand prize in a nationwide, telecast on-the-spot painting contest for students at the age of fourteen. He had big dreams for me. I miss Dad.

Daddy was open for me to take up any course in college except Bachelor of Law. I did not understand then why, though he was far from forcing his wishes on me. But many years had passed and I realized he was right and I was wrong. Fathers are meant to guide their children, young or old. Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4, 1 Timothy 5:8, Deuteronomy 6:6-7, Ephesians 5:25-28, Luke 15:20, Joshua 1:8-9, Joshua 24:15.

Due to the unpleasant reputation of lawyers in general, a joke about them is circulating in social media. The jest proposes that lawyers will not be accepted either in heaven or hell not because they are too good or too bad, but because they have no soul. But that’s just a joke, a joke though that elicits soul-searching among the concerned group of people. In fairness, I know of one lawyer who is not only a good person. He has a soul too, I discovered.

Pero papaano nga naman masasabing may kaluluwa ang mga abogado at husgado na kayang maatim at tiisin na mabulok sa kulungan ang mga inosente nang dahil sa kanilang kagagawan (o kaalaman sa “batas”) at biktima lamang ang mga ito ng kawalan ng katarungan sa bansa?

A case in point is the 85 year-old lola (grandmother) I interviewed who has been languishing in jail for several years simply because a drug pusher made her a “courier” of a small paper bag that contained shabu without her knowledge. “Dura lex sed lex” (the law may be harsh but it is the law). Diabolic!

There are several similar situations like this (with different cases) in prison camps, notably the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) where I preached Christ longer and ministered to the inmates, for nineteen years. Oddly, the guilty and real bad people – big, filthy rich people (well-connected, well-protected and well-entrenched) are out there, even in the halls of power, roaming/roaring around circles freely – swaggering and enjoying life, lavishing on their loots, spoils and “privileges.” Moronic!

With so many unwise, cruel and unjust laws and official “skewness” in the land, we need lawyers, judges and justices who have souls; those who don’t only interpret the law but administer discretion as well and bring to bear wisdom, chastity, compassion and the Sovereign into their works/profession.

Stop the sale of TROs and “justice” or court decisions. Expose hoodlums in robes. Wipe out judicial corruption. Heart, reason and conscience that lie beneath every law are what unearth truth and open the eyes of the blind to adjudge cases correctly, fairly, justly. Proverbs 28:5, Psalms 37:27-29, Proverbs 21:15, Isaiah 61:8, Isaiah 30:18-19, Psalm 82:3, Micah 6:8, Amos 5:24. Wake up!

A land may not have laws to govern itself but if its inhabitants have heart, reason and conscience, that land may still experience peace and order and could well achieve progress for its citizenry.

Contrarily, a country may be overflowing with laws (like the Philippines), but if its people, much less its leaders (executive officials, lawmakers, magistrates, police, military, etc.), are tricksters and rogues, that country will ever be besieged by troubles of every sort and be/remain impoverished (in material and/or spirit), even plunged into chaos/bottomless pit/everlasting darkness. “Sobs and gnashing of teeth.”

John Matthew Salilig and Horacio Castillo
Beaten to death – John Matthew Salilig and Horacio Castillo

The reason why I did not take up law in college, aside from the wise advice and life example of my father, was because I shudder to lose my soul from the moment I pass the bar. Not to mention the possibility of me as a law student getting lured into entering a senseless fraternity organization, barbarous as it could be and soulless as it could have transformed me to be.

Finally, and true enough, from all indications and with what has been happening in the country, given the deluge of lawyers (notwithstanding or despicably) in our government who occupy positions of power, it is not surprising that, after all, I made the right decision.

Thank God. And Thank You Dad.

PS
My father had impacted my life, so much so that I get teary-eyed each time I remember him. Happy Father’s Day!

Proverbs 22:6

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