LAST September 06, the new officers of IBP, Pampanga Chapter, took their oath before their esteemed colleagues and honored guests at the function room of Royce Hotel and Casino in Clark Freeport. It is indeed an affair to remember if only the virtues of hard work, integrity, patriotism and resiliency be enshrined in conscience.
As special guest of honor and speaker, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo extemporaneously relived the distinct achievements of three kabalen-lawyers that continuously inspire not only their colleagues in the profession but also the Filipino people.
President GMA proudly recalled that poverty did not deter her father, Apung Dadong, from becoming a lawyer, congressman and ultimately President of the Republic of the Philippines, among others. Of course, Don Honorio Ventura, a Kapampangan philanthropist, was a key factor in the educational career of Apung Dadong. Anyway, I had a first glimpse of Apung Dadong when an uncle took me along in one of his visits in the Old Congress Building now housing the National Museum. As we find our way through the chandeliered hall of the House of Representatives, I heard an angry voice echoing from one end of the cavernous hall. But the innocence of youth kept me unaware of the gathering storm so to speak, I learned later that the man standing before the podium, wearing sunglasses, is a congressman of the City of Manila by the name of Arsenio Lacson -- who later became a mayor of Manila.
Anyhow, I learned that earlier another congressman by the name of Diosdado Macapagal delivered a critical privileged speech that Alderman Lacson felt he was alluded to. And so Lacson became furious and combative, But in a forum that symbolizes free discourse, the counter-punched must be delivered with civility if not greater persuasiveness. Then, let the crowd do the chest-thumping approval. The fact that Lacson evaded the civil route is an admission of the intellectual depth of his prey that he cannot match.
Thus, Lacson opted to deliver his offensive through the Macho way by challenging his prey to a boxing match. Perhaps, the amiable countenance of his tormentor deluded him into believing that his dare to a fisticuff will not be accepted anyway. But Lacson was dead wrong. For Apung Dadong walked towards the podium to announce his manhood and acceptance of Lacson's challenge. Lo and behold! No slugfest occurred. Cooler heads prevailed. The combatants embraced each other in peace. Then Lacson asked Apung Dedong why he accepted his challenge! Don't you know, Lacson continued, that I am a boxer? Apung Dadong answered: Mr. Congressman, I am not the one who accepted your challenge. My kabalen back home accepted the challenge. For I cannot go back to my hometown and face my Cabalen in shame if I did otherwise. From then on, Apung Dadong and Arsenic as he was fondly called became good friends.
Former President GMA likewise extolled the nationalism and selflessness of that patriot par excellence -- Jose Abad Santos. She recalled that the former chief justice could have been the first kabalen President (and not her father) had it not been for his uncompromising conviction against subservience to colonial rule, Indeed there was a period in our history when Chief Justice Abad Santos could have succeeded to the Presidency when the then President Quezon and Vice President Osmena left for the United States. And his refusal to assume the Presidency cost his life in the hands of foreign forces. Thus, his undying words: I prefer an honorable death than live a life in dishonor.
Last but not least, President GMA also proudly acknowledged former Governor Estelito Mendoza as the lawyers' lawyer -- an indisputable rock star of the legal profession. In addition Apung Titong, held key positions in government, such as, Solicitor-General and Secretary of Justice, among others. His appearance during a recent hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee investigating the controversial impending release of a celebrated convict shows that Apung Titong did not retire from participation on inquisition of national import.
Also worth-mentioning is the message of IBP National President Domingo Egon Q. Cayosa, who said he came "not to inspire but to be inspired" by the Chapter's indefatigable dispensation of free legal counseling services not to mention its community outreach activities benefitting no less our Aeta compatriots. Angeles City Mayor Carmelo "Pog" Lazatin deserves our snap salute for gracing the occasion and his affirmation of support to the cause of the Chapter.
And to all who lent support for the success of the Chapter's changing of the guards, the thank you message of President Pons De La Cruz and the commitment of his leadership to continue the Missionary work adequately convey heartfelt gratitude. Welcome and congratulations to our new member-laywers. Godspeed!