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In defense of Mans Carpio

Batas Mauricio

FIRST a disclaimer: I do not have any acquaintance with lawyer Manasseh (Mans) Reyes Carpio and his wife, Davao City Mayor Sarah Z. Duterte Carpio, and, I am sure they also do not know me nor are they even aware that I exist.

This should be true, even if in the 2016 elections I campaigned hard and voted for the Duterte patriarch, now President Duterte, in my capacity as the leader of a Christian Church which publicly supported him, and as the legal counsel of two organizations that pushed for his election.

That being the case, let me make the assurance here that I am writing my thoughts in this column today about the issues hounding Mans recently, not to defend him in anyway, for he can do that better himself. I was compelled to speak up if only to say that, contrary to insinuations by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, there is no prohibition for a legal practitioner who has relatives in power to engage in the practice of law in the Philippines.

In this country whose fascination for the law and for lawyers knows no bounds, lawyers like Mans and many others like myself are obliged to take on the representation of anyone, or any group, rich or poor, that retains their services. It is not for the lawyer to refuse, especially if what is being asked of him is simply to uphold the law in his defense of his clients.

In fact, even if a client in a criminal case confesses his guilt to his lawyer, the lawyer can not just abandon the client’s cause. He is in duty bound to fully exercise his duties and responsibilities as a legal counsel, not to bend the law and the evidence to favor the client, but to see to it that, as far as the law permits, the client’s rights are not ignored or disregarded in any way.

This is of course problematic for many legal counsellors, especially if the opponents of their clients are rich and powerful, and wields influence on almost every rung of power in the society. Too often, the lawyer becomes the enemy of their client’s foes, and in cases where the lawyer cannot be swayed to give up the interest of his clients, the lawyer himself is the one targeted for destruction.

I should know, because I have become a victim of this unsavory situation myself, but that is another long story which may have to await another column. Today, however, the emphasis should be on the fact that lawyer Manasseh Reyes Carpio–the son of equally illustrious lawyers–could not be dragged into a controversy simply because of his being a lawyer.

I repeat, there is no law, nor canon of legal ethics, that prohibits any lawyer like Mans who is blessed with friends and relations in the corridors of power from performing his duties and responsibilities as a lawyer, no matter who or what his clients may be. In law, both in theory and practice, every practitioner is to be treated on the basis merely of the merit of his case, and nothing else.

It was therefore scurrilous for anyone, Sen. Trillanes included, to be even mentioning the name of Mans in a clear attempt to link him to a wrongdoing even if there is absolute no proof of that wrongdoing, simply because he visited former Customs Commissioner Nick Faeldon at the Bureau of Customs. What Trillanes has done here is smearing the name of a lawyer with insinuations, with no other evident end but grandstanding.

***

For 2017-2018, Rotarians all over the world work to fulfill their motto of “service above self” under the theme “Rotary: Making a difference”. For retired police colonel Jose Mina Sr., the newly inducted president of Rotary Club of Plaridel, Bulacan, there are eight guides by which any Rotarian can make a difference.

Mina ticked off these principles as follows: first, we must have  the heart to serve others even only through “small contributions, but given with a lot of heart, for the size of the contribution is not what matters most.”

Second, helping others should start today, as we do not have to wait till we make  more money to share with others. “Little efforts count because there is no other best time to start to make a difference to the world than today”. Third, sharing even with only a small contribution fulfills our responsibility to contribute for the good of others.

Fourth, Mina said, is remembering that, in order to receive more happiness and love, we should spread more of them first, for “to receive, you must first give.” Fifth, changing the world comes easier if we help one person at a time, and we can do this by empowering that person.

“How do we empower a person?” Mina asked. He pointed out: “one of the ways is to be generous in giving praise and encouragement instead of criticism because by praising and encouraging someone, you help them achieve more self-worth.”

Sixth, it would be to the greatest good of everyone not just to share their riches with others, but to reveal to others their own riches, talent, and resources. This is another version of the Chinese adage, “give a man a piece of fish, and you feed him for the day, but teach him how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Seventh, any whining and complaining is not going to make any difference to the world, as it will only drain the precious energy of the whiners by turning them away from doing things that make a difference. Instead of whining and complaining, the time spent for such whining and complaining should be used for activities that are more productive.

Eight, leading by the example of our work is the best way to influence others to imitate the good things we do. Often, people imitate what we do, not what we tell them to do.

E-mail: batasmauricio@yahoo.com

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