Judge recalls Flag, Noel

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Saturday, March 1, 2014


REGIONAL Trial Court Judge Meinrado Paredes met Noel Archival 30 years ago when the slain lawyer was still a student.

“Nakita nako nga mahimo siya nga bantugang (I saw he was going to become a great) lawyer. I wasn't wrong,” Paredes said.

The judge became emotional while delivering a eulogy during Archival’s burial.

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“This is my last day as a judge. It's also my last day to see Noel,” said Paredes whose retirement began yesterday.

Paredes was a lawyer of the Free Legal Assistance Group (Flag) during the Martial Law period when Archival applied as a paralegal.

Flag helped students and other activists who were arrested during the Martial Law.

The number of pro bono (free) cases was high and being a lawyer then was dangerous, Paredes said. He said Archival knew the risks but accepted the challenge.

Archival was tasked with preparing affidavits and interviewing witnesses. He was assigned the case of lawyer Alfonso Surigao who was murdered in front of his child in 1987 in Minglanilla.

Archival went to jails, urban poor areas and rural areas. He did not get a salary and received a meager allowance for fare and meals.

“From there, Noel identified himself with the poor and the deprived,” Paredes said.

He said Archival achieved popularity through hard work.

He said Archival was popular among judges and fellow lawyers. He added that even the most strict judge could not help but laugh at Archival’s actions or statements.

“Thank you for everything, Noel. Rest in peace,” Paredes said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 01, 2014.

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