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San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet

A veritable fanatic of the Internet. His avocation is teaching while his main vocation is practicing the much maligned law profession. Currently teaching Constitutional Law at the FEU Institute of Law and a guest lecturer at the De La Salle University teaching "Freedom and Regulation in Cyberspace" in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication. He is married to his beautiful Ateneo law school classmate and is blessed with a daughter and a son.

Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Change Of Venue

One of the first things that lawyer Katrina Legarda wanted, upon being retained as lawyer for the Subic rape victim, was to ask for the change of venue.

While as a general rule, venue is jurisdictional, i. e., a criminal case must be tried in the court having jurisdiction where the crime is committed, a change of venue can be ordered by the Supreme Court to avoid a miscarriage of justice. The High Court is administratively empowered to do so under Article VIII, Article 5(4) of the 1987 Constitution.

In order for a successful change of venue, Atty. Katrina Legarda must prove that there will be a miscarriage of justice in that Subic, being the closest thing to the land of milk and honey in the Philippines, and the prosecutors of Olongapo City, are so patently biased in favor of American interests that justice and fair play can not be obtained in that jurisdiction.

Previous to this case, one of the most highly celebrated case whose venue was successfully transferred was the case of Congressman Vincent “Bingbong” P. Crisologo. Bingbong Crisologo currently represents the First District of Quezon City and is a known Catholic charismatic leader. However, he was a big disappointment during the GMA impeachment proceeding when he suddenly made a vanishing act and neither voted for nor against the impeachment complaint. For a Catholic leader, his decision to fence sit has earned him a worthy place in one of the lowermost rungs of Dante’s Inferno.

But in his younger days in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, he was a brash, arrogant warlord, being the son of the then Ilocos Sur congressman and the lady governor. His arrogance led him to fiddle while he burned two towns in what became the celebrated 1970 burning of the twin towns of Ora Este and Ora Centro.

Fearing that justice will be denied if the case was tried in Vigan, the Supreme Court, though the most eminent Justice JBL Reyes, finally ordered the recalcitrant Judge Mario Gutierrez to change the venue from Vigan, Ilocos Sur to either San Fernando, La Union or Baguio City. As a result, Bingbong Crisologo was tried in Baguio City and convicted. Those were indeed the days.

But this article is not about legalities. This is about a story I heard from my friend, Omy Romero, son of a former Baguio City mayor, who as a young man attended and witnessed one trial day in the Bingbong Crisologo case. His one-day attendance is not only about recounting the murder of townspeople in Ora Este and Ora Centro, but also the recounting of the mangling of the English language.

In a direct examination of a witness, Ilocano lawyers speaking in English with very thick Ilocano accents, asked a witness (the English will be spelled as mangled):

Prosecution: When the cugon grass was boarneeng, what did you deeeed?

Defense: Objection, your Honor! Wrong grammar, it should be, when the cugon grass was boarneeng, hoooooow do you doooo?

And so, much to the exasperation of the trial judge, murder most foul was perpetrated against the Queen’s English that fateful morning.

Towards the end of the morning’s trial, the judge was so fed up that he banged the gavel and warned the two lawyers: COUNSELS! If you do not improve your English the next hearing, I WILL HOLD YOU IN CONTAIN!

Makes you realize why year in and year out, more than three-fourths of the bar examinees do not pass the bar examinations.


Blogger mama_aly said...

A most entertainingly serious piece. ;)

5:42 AM  

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