I PASSED the bar examinations in 1978. I began practicing law in 1979. I suffered from birth pains as no one trusted me. I could hardly earn our daily needs. Then in 1980, I was introduced to Mr. Dante R. Gutierrez (DRG).

I reported for work in the bodega cum office at the back of the New Public Market. I was welcomed by a man in shorts, who was drenched in perspiration having tinkered with the engine of an old vehicle. He was uncouth. He turned out to be the owner-manager whom they call DRG.

I joined his LPG trading firm, Capitol Allied Trading. I was appointed as the Personnel Manager. At the time, DRG had more than 1,000 employees. On the side, I was allowed to accept clients as long as I did my work first in the company. After one year, Dante told me that he would have to raise my salary. I said “no”. I wanted to resume my practice. Instead of getting irritated, DRG provided me a law office. With his support, I had my share of clientele. I have gained confidence and in 1989, I was elected President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Pampanga Chapter.

In 1990, I was appointed Commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government. Dante encouraged me to run for Congress but I demurred. All the years that I joined the government, my monthly allowance was never suspended. Such was his generosity.

In 2002, my son, Raymond passed the bar. I introduced him to DRG. We attended trial in the Court of Appeals. “Raymond will argue the case”, I said. Dante agreed with hesitancy. After the trial, Dante said “Pare, you can retire with an associate like Raymond”.

So, Raymond took over as Dante’s lawyer. In 2013, I joined Edsa as his Legal Officer in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga. In 2018, I was promoted as the Acting City Administrator. All these times, Dante has remained the client of the law office. In bad times and good times, DRG is a loyal client. In DRG, “I’ve got a friend.”