THE Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Davao chapter recently elected its newest president last March this year - lawyer Eleanor Dela Peña.
Looking back, Dela Pea never intended to be in the law practice as she wanted to become a flight attendant so “she could fly high and travel around the world.”
However, a sudden turn of event came, marrying at an early age.
“I married early and that ended my flight career before it even started,” she recalled.
But she never expected her early marriage would lead her to her current career that would soon change her life.
She decided to take up masteral studies when her eldest son reached college as she is blessed with four children.
But before enrolling, she secretly told her friend that she would take up masteral classes, who, in turn, advised her to take up law instead.
“She told me that if I will spend two years for that degree, I might just as well add two more years and become a lawyer,” she said.
“I was already 35 years old then,” she added.
Before taking up the entrance exam, Dela Peña admitted she was excited and a bit reluctant at the same time, because she knew law school is difficult to hurdle. But this did not stop her from giving it a try.
Her judge friend helped her getting an entrance examination slot at the Ateneo de Davao University (Addu).
She revealed her greatest struggle was time management.
“I was a mother and there was a business to run. The right mix was difficult to find. Managing time was my constant struggle especially during exams. Health issues added to the problem. Fortunately, I was able to endure all, except for my business - the tipping point in my struggle while taking up law. And by the time I finished law school, I had to face a legal case because of the business. But that is another story,” she said.
Her perseverance bore fruits when she eventually graduated and passed the bar exam which earned her the moniker “Mommy Ning” in law school.
Dela Peña recently became a part of Batacan, Montejo & Vicencio (BM&V) Law Firm as a junior partner.
She said she owes a lot to lawyer Ramon Edison Batacan, her law school professor and current boss, during the time she was not able to take her oath as a lawyer because of an administrative case.
She also cited her late boss lawyer Vincent Paul Montejo and lawyer Caesar Europa as her influence in her law practice.
Right now, she is also a professor, an accounting major and a real estate broker.
Although being in the profession entails earnestness and dedication, her youthful glow and her cheerful personality always give light to her family, friends, and even colleagues and clients.
Despite having a hectic schedule for her profession, she is still able to manage her time with work, family, and for herself.
“I fix my goals and schedule my activities to balance the many aspects of my life. Being a practicing lawyer, I do not only schedule things but I even put color coding to them for easy determination,” she said.
The IBP Davao’s new set of officers were inducted by Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin last March, alongside with the launching of the Justice Zone program under the Justice Sector Coordinating Council (JSCC) in Davao City.
Before becoming its president she was elected as its secretary.
As an elected IBP officer, she admitted that holding such position is a huge task in hand.
“I head a group of lawyers who are themselves luminaries in the field of law, some of them were my professors in law school, and some hold high positions in the government. President Duterte and Mayor Sara Duterte are chapter members of the IBP Davao City.
She said service must be the motivation as prestige will just follow especially if you are serving with a heart.
As a non-partisan organization, she said IBP has been providing free legal assistance to the poor and the marginalized.
That is why, she and her co-officers stood up and voiced out their objection when the news came out that Peter Joemel Advincula alias “Bikoy” surrendered before the IBP national chapter to seek legal assistance in charging the president’s son Paolo Duterte and his ex-aide, now-senator-elect Christopher “Bong” Go.
The local chapter said Bikoy does not deserve the chapter’s support since the IBP is a non-partisan organization not established to cater to political interests.
She hopes to provide more legal service to the community, especially those who do not have resources to afford one, adding that she will continue the projects of her predecessor, Atty. Rogelio Largo.
Dela Peña also said she hopes to work out the release of the prisoners who already served their sentences while their cases are still on trial as a way to decongest jails in the city. She also vows to work on the health insurance for the lawyers at a very minimal fee as part of her focus under her term.