IT'S election time. It's election time again for the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Pampanga Chapter is slated to vote for its officers on February 27, 2021 in the City of San Fernando.
In 1973, the Bar was integrated upon the initiative of Chief Justice Fred Ruiz Castro of the Supreme Court. All lawyers are deemed members of their Chapters all over the country. Each Chapter elects its own officers.
The first President of the Pampanga Chapter was the well-respected Silvestre M. Punsalan of San Simon. He was followed by Martin N. Roque of San Fernando, then Isidro T. Calma also of San Fernando. Ernesto L. Pineda of Sto. Tomas followed suit. All these respected lawyers have joined their Creator.
Lawyers Cesar L. Paras (1981-1983); Vicente L. San Luis (1985-1987); Avelino L. Liangco (1987-1989); Augurio Pamintuan (1991-1993); Zoilo A. Andin (1993-1995); Ruben I. Feliciano (1999-2001); Federico S. Tolentino Jr. (2001-2003); and Casiano C. Sabile (2011-2013) served as Presidents and are watching this election from heaven.
The living former Presidents are Eligio P. Mallari (1983-1985); Atlee T. Viray (1989-1991); Wilfredo I. Untalan (1995-1997); Wilfrido C. Mangiliman (1997-1999); Orlando R. Pangilinan (2003-2005); Josep Jepri M. Miranda (2005-2007); Ma. Imelda Q. Tuazon (2007-2009); Aramis C. Benoza (2009-2011); Peter Paul Maglalang (2013-2015); Darwin S. Reyes (2015-2017) and Gener C. Endona (2017-2019).
The outgoing president is Ponciano V. Dela Cruz, Jr. it is a source of pride that Pampanga Chapter has won the Best Chapter Award more times than any chapter in the land.
The first Most Outstanding Award was grabbed by the 1989-1991 President (this columnist). In 1995 and in 1997, the Willies (Untalan and Mangiliman) were credited with the award, respectively.
In 2013, Peter Paul Maglalang scaled new heights with his slogan "we care, we educate, we innovate." The Chapter bagged its fourth Most Outstanding Award. This excellent leadership became a challenge to succeeding Presidents - Darwin S. Reyes, Gener C. Endona and Ponciano V. Dela Cruz, Jr. These lawyers also steered the Chapter to the Most Outstanding plum.
Modesty aside, we take some credit in the cooperation of the Angeles City as the first group and San Fernando lawyers and other towns as the second group. I remember it was in Cebu City that I convinced Cesar Paras, Augusto Pamintuan and Willie Untalan not to field a presidential candidate from Angeles City so that I would be elected unanimously. The next term of President would be reserved for Angeles City contender (Pamintuan); he would be unchallenged. So it came to pass that the leadership every two years was made interchangeably from then on.
The incumbent President (Dela Cruz, Jr.) is from Angeles City so it's the turn of San Fernando lawyers to choose the leadership for the term 2021-2023. Good luck to the next President - Lawyer P.