Habeas Corpuz

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By Linda Grace Cariño

Baguio Stories

Friday, March 21, 2014


WHAT'S in a name? When parents surnamed Corpuz name their child "Habeas," are they calling forth that this child will one day be a lawyer who will protect citizens’ right to the presence of a body? When their family name is Coles and they name their child “Nat King” are they in effect praying for a voice that will one day be as famous as Nat King Cole’s? Uhuh. Perhaps. Perhaps it’s just levity.

I do know that when anyone is named Robert Jaworski, and there are many, it is to honor the living legend of Philippine basketball. I do know that when my sister Heli and her husband Mar (Tolentino) name the girl of their fraternal twins Marlene Amparo, it is to give her the nickname Mariko, after the stellar samurai character who dominates James Clavell’s “Shogun.”

This is the book that gets sectioned into about seven pieces when it first hits our house in the 70s. One section is with each member of the family because no one can wait for the others to finish reading the book in whole. So as one person gets done with one section, it gets torn off and passed on to the next, and so on down the line.

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Back to Mariko. She is perhaps best remembered for her famous, political statement of ritual seppuku – the details of which you must read the novel to enjoy, of course. Mariko is a noble, regal, gutsy, beautiful, learned, accomplished, sophisticated, and feisty femme. Just like our Mariko, oh yes. Though her name somehow morphs through time into Tamtam, then Tammy, then Tam. No matter, a samurai Mariko by Clavell by any other name is just as all of the above.

What’s in a name indeed. Let me now add that Tammy - she is dogged and determined, and has now passed the Bar.

Hey, Attorney Marlene! Cheers, baby.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 22, 2014.

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