September 30, 2023

For a change, let’s have some good news starting with the appointment of Regional Trial Court judges Glenda Ortiz T. Soriano and Nimia Y. Castillo Peralta.
The March 23 transmittal of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said they were being appointed judges-at-large pursuant to Republic Act 11459, which created 100 positions in the RTC and 50 in the MTC.
The Judges-at-Large Act of 2019 amended the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 providing for appointment of 100 judges who have no permanent sala and may be assigned by the Supreme Court as acting or assisting judges to any court in the country. It aims to solve the clogged court dockets, the lack of judges, and the seemingly inadequate number of courts to hear and decide the mounting scores of cases.
Segue to why I never had the desire to join the judiciary.
In 1995, then President Fidel V. Ramos asked me if I wanted to be a Sandiganbayan justice, silver platter and all delivery. I politely declined and when the president asked why, my ready answer was, “Masyado po ako madaling kausap.”
Anyway, Judge Glenda is the presiding judge of the MTCC 2 while Judge Nimia is an assistant prosecutor in the city.
I consider Glenda as “family” as we all grew up in Trancoville. She was one of our better students at Law school and after passing the Bar worked at the Court of Appeals until her appointment by former President Gloria Arroyo as a judge. Her late father worked with PNB and were buddies with my papa. Her mom and mine rendered public service at Lucban Elementary School and we all went to church at Don Bosco. Her sister Maan, a nurse and banker was part of our scouter’s family at the Our Lady of Lourdes. I saw her last in 2016 on a plane bound for San Franciso, California.
Judge Nimia is a veteran prosecutor who was initially assigned in Pangasinan then came up here. Her late father was our neighbor who had an ardent faith and loyal belief in me and for which I am forever grateful.
Also appointed were Louisan lawyers, Judges Joel Bantasan and Eric Dumpilo, which makes me proud of having been dean of the School of Law. All of them deserved the appointments from President Rodrigo Duterte and they now belong to the new breed of young, ideal, and competent judges who serve from their heart.
Sunday, the 28th, marks the blessing and inauguration of Lafaayette Luxury Suites at #1 Loakan Road. Owned by Pradeek Paul Lalwani and wife, Weng, Lafaayette is the newest luxury boutique hotel of classic and intricate European design located at the heart of Baguio.
It surely will add to the glory of the hotel and tourism industry in the city. It took guts for Paul to construct the hotel despite the challenges thrown his way. It takes more guts for him to open it at this time of pandemic, knowing that operating the same under our bleak economy would be at a loss. The gentleman has balls and has proven that his word is true. By the way, the opening coincides with Paul’s birthday and as we celebrate his triumph in life, he does so only with family and closest of friends around him.
Another good news is the vaccine is here and it comes with a ray of hope for our people that there is reason to smile. Sana all, the soonest!
And sana, the priority – health workers, frontliners be strictly followed.
We are now hearing news that mayors, congressmen, businessmen, and even an actor are jumping over the list to get their own jab. I also heard about a doctor who brought his family, driver, yaya, all 12 of them, at UB and insisted on getting inoculated. Feeling privileged, probably but what gives?
Our difficulty in achieving recovery arises not only from the lack of logistics but also from the weight of our traditional culture of palakasan and palusutan.
Most of the rich and powerful still demand – and often receive – preferential treatment in the transactions of daily life, beginning with exemption from traffic rules to tariff, taxes, fees, walls for their monopolies. This focus on privilege and special treatment we must remove from our culture, as we cannot enter the new century with one foot stuck in the feudal era. Paano naman kaming mga hampas lupa as my favorite ex-future senator would say. Sigh.