October 1, 2023

November, that time of the year when families are considering going on a weekend sortie to some resort spot or another, following months of rain and cold that kept them indoors, if only to recharge their batteries, just before the Christmas rush.
For the working class, trudging through traffic by car or public transportation on the way to the office and heading back home later in the afternoon five days a week, a short break somewhere north or south of the archipelago is one way of keeping body and soul together, a band-aid relief from the boredom and routine of daily living.

November also marks the end of the wet season and the start of the dry, but with climate change, storms may come charging even in summer.
There is absolutely no link between you and typhoons, but when you step out with an umbrella just to play safe, there is no spit from the sky, but wearing nothing but a thin t-shirt or skimpy blouse, tons of water would come pouring down from the heavens.

At times, God is in a playful mood, like when my best loved politician Ben Palispis was governor of the province, a destructive howler chipped off all the letters in the Benguet Capitol, except for the letters BEN ITOL.
Only an Ibaloy will look upwards and point a naughty finger. He he.

November is also Bar exams month. One of the hopefuls is a 69-year-old retired soldier.
It was actually during my time that the exams was moved from August to November, a lucky break for me and my late nephew Bembo Afable, since that gave us more time to cram, having spent the early months of review enjoying the good life.
Also lucky were nearly a third of the successful examinees. Justice Felix Makasiar, Bar chairman of that time, insisted that he wanted 33 percent to pass, and not just 18 percent (we were part of the original 18 percent). So those with grades of 73 made it to the list.

There was also an 80-year-old man who took the Bar with us, and in one of his exam booklet, he pleaded in writing to please pass him, saying that all he wanted was to be a lawyer for the sake of his family, and will not even practice the profession.
Justice Makasiar personally went over the old man’s paper, hoping to find a way to pass the latter.
Not seeing any, Justice Makasiar said that he would need to pass everyone a hundred percent, which was not possible.

What I am trying to say is that success or failure in the Bar is oftentimes dependent on the goodness of heart of the Bar chairman.
When now retired Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago was Bar chairman, she implored that Bar questions should not be constructed in a way that favored only the big law schools – University of the Philippines, Ateneo, San Beda – but done in a manner which any law graduate could tackle.
I.e., when Public International Law was still a Bar subject, one of the questions asked was “State the terms of the Korean Truce.”
But in line with Justice Santiago’s instructions, Bar questions were just and within the grasp of the examinees, albeit still difficult.
Janet Abuel of the Baguio Colleges Foundation (now University of the Cordilleras) placed first.

Vice President Leni Robredo, she with the always smart answers, has decided to take up RD30’s offer to co-chair the government’s anti-drug campaign.
With a nod of her pretty head, Leni curtly says OK! I am ready, are you ready for me?”
Sounds more to me like bedroom conversation, but anyway, she will have her hands full in what appears to be a design to make Leni fail.
But at the moment, she is thanking Erap Estrada and PACG.

“Stop the killings,” she adds, “punish the law enforcers involved in the lucrative drug trade, jail the drug lords.”
Something that RD30 was not able to do three years into his administration.
But I guess, neither can Leni. I suspect it is her Rasputin adviser who has put her up to it.
It is a win-win situation for Leni if nothing happens, blame RD30 for blocking her moves at every turn.
It is politics at its best, a game that Leni demurely plays, and is very good at it.

When friends of old pass on to the next world, and one is unable to attend their wake and funeral for some reason or another, you simply can’t forgive yourself.
It isn’t just a social obligation. It is much, much more than that.
I beg the forgiveness of Hazel and Noel Valdez, for my failure to bid their mom, manang Naty Parpana-Valdez, better half of my ninong and father figure the late C.A. Justice Salvador Valdez, Jr., a final and fond farewell.
I trust lawyer Hazel and enterpriser Noel are doing okay in life, brought up well by their folks.
I can almost picture the Justice waiting for his Naty at the pearly gates, hair neatly combed, wearing his favorite suit, his necktie all straight as he was in life.
“Diyos ti kumuyog, manang, ipabalon ko koma daytoy Johnny Blue para kini Ninong,” but I guess you will just scold me. God bless!