Thursday, June 24, 2021

Viray: Moy Ocampo: A role model

In and Out of Court

HIS image in court loomed larger than life. He was big, wearing a colored glass. He had a husky voice ala Marlon Brando. He had colorful language in flawless grammar. This is permanently etched in my memory. I refer to the legendary Moy Ocampo of the City of San Fernando.

A young lawyer should have a model. He needs guidance. He needs an exemplar. He needs someone who is sympathetic to his shortcomings but also someone who takes pride in his early success. I remember Tang Moy watching in an actual trial where his protégée conducted a cross-examination. After the proceedings, he approached him and guided and told the novice: "That's equivalent to 95 percent." This set the standards in the practice of the young lawyer, Atty. Diosdado M. Rongcal, the other half of the Viray Rongcal Law Office.

Now it can be told -- the real founders of this law office are not the named partners. It was established upon the prodding of Tang Moy who was to retire in transition. He was being persuaded upon to join his loving wife, Nancy and the company of three daughter-nurses in the United States. After all, he was in his retirement age. He was hesitant to leave the numerous clients he had and so he put a small law office with his two protégées as partners and entrusted all his pending cases before he migrated for good in the United States.

A lawyer to be a good one, should be a good man first and foremost.

Here's a lawyer who served the poor and rich alike with same fervor. Here's a lawyer who enjoyed visiting the houses of his clients and assured them: "Istu ne ing marimlang serbesa at manintun kang papaya, abayanan meng manuk." (An ice cold beer is enough. And look for a papaya, add one whole chicken.")

When he liked something -- his approach is classic. "Pilmuran ke i Mare mung Nancy (his wife) nandin. Ot e manakit kalupa na ning abias a handa mo." (I scolded my wife earlier. Why does she find it difficult to buy rice like this," then he chuckles with gusto. True enough, the client takes the hint.

The strategy never fails -- "Attorney, iyuli yu ne pu ing metung a cavan kang Mareng Nancy." ("Attorney, bring home one cavan of this rice to Mareng Nancy.")

He is a man who loves his wife so dearly. Not only did he provide, he sees to it that his wife knows where he is. He was truthful to his words -- "Follow the 6th Commandment of God".

And yes, he was a friend to the men of God. He was the lawyer of almost every man in white in the Province. He was loved dearly by the priests that he made a challenge: "Let us not work for a week but visit the convents of priest and we I will not go hungry." Of course, he was right.

While his adversaries in Court may have not liked his aggressive way, he had a soft heart to his fellow lawyer. When he heard that a fellow lawyer had a warrant of arrest issued by a sitting judge in Bataan, he motored to that province on his own, to mediate. Tension eased, Tang Moy paid for bottles for his ice cold beer afterwards.

He hated being late in appointments. He would utter invectives if you came late for an appointment. If you deal with Tang Moy, be on time. He's usually 15 minutes ahead in the appointment place. If for another fifteen minutes, you don't come, he would not wait for another minute. He would leave with unsavory words. To him, time is gold.

He wanted to write a book on his exploits as a lawyer. In fact, had a title to his intended project "A Rural Lawyer who loves his Profession." In it, he would have written his several successes in handling cases as a litigation lawyer in the Central Luzon Provinces. He wrote long letters but he never completed the book which would have cemented more his legend as the Doyen of Pampanga Lawyers.

Moises Sevilla Ocampo is a graduate of the Pampanga High School Class and attended several prestigious law schools in Manila. This explained why he had many friends and classmates in including Justice Claudio Teehankee and Doy Quisumbing.

He has seven children -- three nurses and a son lawyer, St. Elmo, who inherited and maintain his good name, the diplomat, Moises Ocampo Jr., Elmo and his favorite, Doy Ocampo.


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