Leaders pass bar exams-A A +A
Thursday, March 21, 2013
JUAN Antonio Oposa was three years old when his name came first among 43 children petitioners in a landmark class suit filed before the Supreme Court (SC) in 1993.
“My son was the main plaintiff,” said his father, Antonio Oposa Jr., environmentalist-lawyer and Ramon Magsaysay awardee.
Twenty years after the world-renowned Oposa vs. Factoran case, Oposa said he could not contain his excitement that Juan Antonio, now 26, passed the 2012 Bar examinations.
Aiming to stop deforestation, the children filed the case, through their parents, against then Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Fulgencio Factoran Jr.
They wanted the official to revoke all the timber license agreements (TLAs) in the Philippines and to stop accepting and approving more TLAs.
Factoran’s refusal to stop issuing TLAs was “contrary to the highest law of humankind-the natural law-and violative of plaintiffs’ right to self-preservation and perpetuation,” the petition read.
The children said they brought the case in the name of “their generation as well as
those generations yet unborn.”
They invoked their right to a balanced and healthful ecology and to protection by the state in its capacity as parens patriae (parent of the nation), which refers to the state’s public policy power to intervene against an abusive parent.
The SC ruled in favor of the children, stating that their right to a healthy environment carried with it an obligation to preserve that environment for the succeeding generations.
“Nalipay ko nga akong anak nakapasar kay ang pasabot ana ang kamote namunga og mangga (I’m happy that my son passed because it means that the sweet potato has bore a mango),” the elder Oposa said.
Juan Antonio and other Cebuano Jose Aaron Pedrosa Jr. were among the 949 new lawyers.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to law school, until I was in law school,” said Juan Antonio in a separate phone interview. “I wasn’t sure I was going to pass law school until I graduated and I wasn’t sure I was going to be a lawyer.”
Pedrosa, the son of the late Cebu City Prosecutor Jose Aaron Pedrosa Sr. is the secretary-general of Freedom from Debt Coalition Cebu, a cause-oriented organization campaigning for social change and youth involvement in social issues.
He received a political science degree and cum laude honors from the University of the Philippines Cebu College in 2006 and a law degree from the University of San Carlos (USC) in 2011.
Even while still in elementary and high school, Aaron was involved in the student government and campus journalism, being editor-in-chief of the school paper.
Juan Antonio said he immediately took the examinations after he graduated from the University of the Philippines (UP) law school in Manila last year. He currently works in the litigation department of the Angara Abello Concepcion Regal and Cruz (Accra) Law Office.
He said he was shocked when an officemate informed him that he had just passed the bar exams and moments later one of his bosses confirmed the good news. He was on leave from his work yesterday for he was focused on the release of the results.
“Hindi ako naniwala (I did not believe them),” said Juan Antonio, who finished his undergraduate studies at the Ateneo de Manila University.
Around noontime, he opened the SC website and scrolled down its page. After he discovered his name, he said he jumped and later called his parents, girlfriend and three other siblings.
“Sigaw siya ng sigaw (He kept on shouting),” he said about his father. “Feeling ko talon siya ng talon (I think he jumped and shouted).”
Juan Antonio dedicated his success to UP law dean Danilo Concepcion, late professors Arceli Baviera and Domingo Disini and other faculty members, which included opinion maker Raul Pangalanan.
He also thanked his girlfriend, Vicka Victorio, for waking him up everyday during his review.
“Siya ang kumukulit sa akin tuwing umaga kon nakapag-aral na ba ako (She’s the one who wakes me up to study),” he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 21, 2013.