The Barrister, Official Student Publication of the San Beda College of Law-Manila, started printing my column in 2008. This was my last piece for Line Break.
In the 1991 film Class Action, civil rights lawyer Jed Ward handles a case filed by affected customers against an automobile company. The company's legal counsel is his daughter, Maggie Ward. My favorite is the scene where, while they’re having a personal argument, Jed attempts to slap Maggie. She says: “Finally, words fail the great Jedediah Tucker Ward.”
As law students, we were trained to use words appropriate for the legal profession. We were taught how to craft our sentences and that skill was crucial to our recitation and exam scores. The hours we spent each day on the acquisition of knowledge were meant to achieve an end: to give power to our words.
Our words work sometimes, but there are days when they just fail. I believe I’m not the only one here who played Justice once in a while and invented my own jurisprudence in a few exams. (Let’s make sure we won't need to do that in the November 2011 Bar Exams.)
The times when we run out of words remind us that we have limitations. Because we committed to give our best to this profession, our task is not only to know those limitations, but to defy them if necessary.
It is the silence – that failure of words – that oftentimes pushes us to strive further. Maybe great lawyers have those moments, too, and not only in films.
This is my last column for The Barrister. I will read this issue the way I read the other issues for the past four years. I’ll read the articles as if I haven’t seen the content several times already. I’ll look at the photos. I’ll check again if there’s anyone who wasn’t given proper credit for his work. Then I’ll go to the part where the names of my co-editors and the staff are printed, and as always, I’ll stay there for a while.
I always take a little more time looking at the masthead, a silent “thank you” for all the efforts exerted by each person whose name is printed there. I hope that our readers will spend some time looking at it as well.
Thanks to Ms. Grace Wilson and Atty. Janelle Reyes, good friends with whom I shared the responsibility of choosing the right pizza flavors for two academic years. Thanks to those who were here before us – especially Attorneys Pambie Herrera, Kai Rosario and Shirl Nuevo – for believing that we can do the job. Thanks, too, to the editors and staff of The Red Chronicles, for keeping journalism alive there at San Beda Law-Alabang.
Law school can be heartbreaking. Our consolation is that we have families, relatives and friends who still believe we’ll be great lawyers someday, even though evidence to the contrary abound at times.
I thank my parents, Mr. Juanito Angeles and Dr. Amelia Angeles, for giving me the strength I needed to get here. Most importantly, I thank them for instilling my faith in God. I’m grateful for the support and inspiration given by my brothers Jeri and Kristopier, Ms. Rosebud Ebalo and my nephew Mikhael, Mr. Cirilo Dizon, Ms. Imelda Dizon, the family of Drs. Catalino and Edna Calimbas, all my aunts, uncles, and cousins.
A million thanks to my grandmother, Ms. Adelaida Javillo Dizon, who listened – until the last days of her life – to my testimonies about lawyers with souls.
To my Lambda Rho Sigma sisters and Lambda Rho Beta brothers, I know how much effort you’re already exerting this early just to make sure everything will be fine in November. Things will be great, because we’re Lambda Rhoans.
To the wonderful volunteers of KaEskwela (www.kaeskwela.org), I hope more people will be inspired by the belief that there are things that can be done for education, even by an ordinary person like me.
To my former students, colleagues and superiors from the Bataan Peninsula State University; the brave pilots, soldiers and employees of the Philippine Air Force; my officemates, friends and mentors at the RCBC Corporate Risk Management Services; and everyone I’ve worked with and learned from – thank you very much.
Thanks to my friends from UP APSM, BATO, Block 1C 2005-2006, Section 4S 2009-2010, the next batch of bar topnotchers and lawyers, all the people I grew up with, and those who were patient enough to watch me grow.
Thanks, too, to the professors, for the knowledge they shared. More importantly, for helping us unlearn a lot of things in order for us to become better students of law.
In this last column, I am restrained less by the word limit than by the thought that any number of words will not suffice. “Thank you” has its limitations. This is one of those moments when words just fail.
And I can only strive further by making the rest of my life an expression of gratitude.