June 20, 2024

We beg the indulgence of the universe but I could not stop myself from beating my own drums and not write about Anton Luis Avila and his mean feat of achieving eighth place in the 2019 Bar exams, ending a 32-year drought of top achievers in his school.
If I may say so, he made Baguio City proud too and I thank Councilor Joel Alangsab who went over and above politics for initiating and all the city councilors who likewise authored the resolution congratulating my son. Thank you by the way to all of you who continue to express congratulations and wishes for his and the family’s success.
He worked hard for what he alone achieved of course with a little help from family and friends, but at the end of the day, he did it himself, amidst the pressure he went through, which was “inhumane” to say the least. While in the School of Law he did concerts and gigs with Steph, was working full time at his mom Bernie’s Musar, taught Math at Saint Louis University Natural Sciences Department, engaged in my campaign, conducted the Law Choir, chaired the Lantern Parade Law delegation and did a lot of things except study yet maintained his being a consistent Dean’s Lister.
One of his School of Law professors wrote a touching message, which says a thing or two about him as a person. “Good morning po! Kahapon pa po ako trying to write you a proper congratulatory message pero ‘di ko matapos at naiiyak ako. Hehe. You and Ninong Ed deserve as much praise as Anton today. You have raised a fine young man, who mirrors your best traits. Every time I see how down to earth, gentle, humble, and kind he is to everyone, regardless of rank or stature, kayo po ang nakikita ko. When he speaks his mind, and I see the tenacity, dedication, and thoroughness of the work he puts out, it’s Ninong Ed in the flesh. Yet, amidst all of these, he still manages to be his own person, and that’s truly amazing. For all the times you have been giving so much of yourself to everyone, and to our family, in particular, please know that we are all so proud and grateful sa inyo! Congratulations po! Hugs to the whole family po!”
Ton posted a message for family on Facebook on May 4: “Thank you, mom and dad, for all your sacrifices. My mom and dad would go to Manila during the weekends just to support me for the Bar. They slept later than me and they woke up earlier than me to ensure that I am comfortable going to UST. They would bring me, and wait for me, amidst the chaos in España to make sure I’m relaxed going in the exam and cheer me up after going out. These, among every other sacrifice they made for me. Thank you, Stef, for always supporting me. From my decision to study Law in Baguio to the days leading to April 29 when I had breakdowns only you witnessed. You were always there for me through thick and thin. Thank you, kuya JP, Ate Maine, Kuya Chok, Ysa, Enzo, Tan, and even, Betchay! You made the tough times light and the happy ones, joyous.I wouldn’t even have passed the Bar without the sacrifices my family made. I am here because of them.”
Let me congratulate too all Bar passers from Baguio, graduates of SLU School of Law, the University of Cordilleras, the University of Baguio, and the Cordillera Career Development College where I taught Remedial Law Review for quite a while. Also, Baguio grown girl, Atty. Flor Marie Carmelie Y. Sison, daughter of the “numero uno” ophthalmologist in town Dr. Noel Nicanor Sison, who graduated from the University of the Philippines. Likewise, to Atty. Kathleen Stacey Payoyo Villordon, daughter of former RTC QC Judge and now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals Tita Marilyn B. Payoyo-Villordon. Tita is the daughter of uncle MTC Judge Tito Payoyo and she used to work in Congress when I served there.
Anton Luis though is a decent and respectable man and he will be as a lawyer. He is neither a court and sometimes off-court slugger, streetfighter, brawler, and thug like me but a knight in shining armor who would save damsels and men in distress and we want him to be; so go Ton, be a knight, Attorney 8. Sigh.