Viray: The Pampango lawyer: The best in the country

In and Out of Court

THE Pampango lawyer is equal to none.

There is no single group in the country that can surpass the brilliance of the Kapampangan. I am amazed at the dignity of Jose Abad Santos whose patriotism has not been fully appreciated. Ricardo C. Puno was a giant in the legal profession and was hailed as a honest lawyer. I am thrilled no end, inducted as a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines in 1978. I was impressed by the passion and commitment of Moises Sevilla Ocampo to the legal profession. The classmate of my father, Clemente Soriano was forever etched in my memory especially when I traded wits against him in court. The simple yet effective approach of Martin Roque in court is something to behold. Estelito Mendoza, for all his brilliance as an advocate, was respectful and courteous to the Judge and to his fellow lawyers. I will forever cherish my association with Diosdado Rongcal. He was my law partner since 1989 up to the present. His timely reminder has made me grounded in our practice of law.

Ferdinand E. Marcos, a legal luminary himself, exemplified the respect for the Pampango lawyers by appointing them, one after the other, as Secretary of Justice. Vicente Abad Santos (San Fernando) from 1970-79; Ricardo C. Puno (Guagua) from 1979-84; Estelito Mendoza (Bacolor) from 1984-86.

I am proud to hold a candle for Cesar L. Villanueva (Angeles), who was the dean of the Ateneo Law School in 2004. He ranked 6th in CPA board and 2nd in bar examinations. I salute Reynaldo Robles (San Fernando), a soft spoken bar topnotcher, who actively supports the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education of the Supreme Court.

Artemio Panganiban of Candaba was a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Vicente Mendoza of Macabebe was a Justice of the Supreme Court. Jose Melo of Angeles was a Justice, then a Comelec Chairman. Victor Lazatin was born in Mabalacat and is a reputable lawyer listed by Martindale Hubbell.

I consider it a waste, may neglect if we don’t write a book with Pampango lawyers, as the subject.

We owe it to history to chronicle the lives and triumphs of the best legal minds of the country who trace their common heritage – Pampangueño.


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