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Jeryl Grace C.

Fortuna

Atty. Joel Famador

JD II-M5

Civil Procedure

Professor

A DAY IN COURT: EXPECTATION VS. REALITY

INTRODUCTION

Due process for the accused in a criminal case or a


plaintiff/defendant in a civil case entails a day in court
to have an opportunity to be heard. By analogy, at least a
day in court is due process enough for a law student like
me so that I have the opportunity to observe what really
happens in the actual setting of the practice of law.
Perhaps my view that most of the things that I saw did
not really conform to what i have learned in the four
corners of the room does not deviate that much from the
opinion of the majority. But I guess that was the very
purpose of the activity-to compare and contrast my
expectation versus reality.
Anyhow, not everything that I witnessed departed from
the rules that I have learned. There were things that awed
me because all along I just read about them in law books
and there I was, seeing them first-hand.

ONLY A JUDGE HAS THE RIGHT TO BE JUDGMENTAL

Do not judge a book by its cover. A saying that i have


heard since time immemorial. Do not judge if you are not a

judge. We often say that as a way trying to elicit a sense


of humor out of a serious situation. The thing is I have
encountered the word judge in ordinary settings but it
was only on that day that I appreciated the word judge in
its real sense and as an officer of the courts of law.
Immersing ones self in a sala of a judge like Judge
Veloso will make you realize that not at all times do your
expectations are different from reality. At the outset, she
really had that sense of authority that everyone in her
sala will not think twice of giving respect to her. It was
in her sala that you can appreciate the roles of every
officer of a court. There was a stenographer who seemed to
be diligently making her notes; an interpreter who was
bringing his list of the cases, taking down some important
dates and translates form Visayan to English and vice
versa; and counsels who were seated on each side of the
court in their dignified-looking attires. Everyone seemed
to move and talk without the slightest intention to be held
in contempt of court. Everything in the process seemed to
be orderly and in control.
Perhaps the highlight of my observation was how Judge
Veloso really exercised her contempt powers. There was a
party who intentionally/unintentionally raised her voice.
Judge Veloso warned her not to repeat the same or else she
will be heald in contempt of court. She also mentioned
about them being inside the court of law and everyone is
duty-bound to give respect. It can be argued that being a
party in case, one can have lots of burden and sometimes we
can be carried away because of the intensity of the

situation we are in plus the fact that not everyone is


educated as to how should a person acts in court. To my
mind, to pay respect is a universal rule and it does not
take a high level of education to be respectful.
It was also in that sala where I was able to witness a
case of a declaration of nullity of marriage. I had the
chance to see how the counsel made the direct examination
through a judicial affidavit. My imagination had a
throwback of thinking what might had happened when the
person affirming the contents of the judicial affidavit
were swearing in front of the priest that only death do us
part. And now, he was swearing not to start but to end the
marriage-and just like that.

IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO

What happened in RTC Branch 22 was both entertaining and


disappointing. I concluded it was a family court because i
saw faces of declaration of nullity of marriage cases.
Among all of them, I noticed two outstanding cases.
The first one was this unfortunate case of a foreigner
who filed a declaration of nullity of marriage because he
not only doubted but questioned the paternity of his child.
He was obviously American and his wife was a Filipina but
their son was every inch a Chinese-looking. It sounds funny
but being there will make you sad because you can think it
was a hopeless case. With all due respect, I fearfully but
willingly submit that the counsel for the foreigner was not
able to really do his homework as a counsel. I have no

background yet in the study of Evidence but it seemed odd


when he presented the picture of the child as an evidence
of the questionable paternity for the first time during the
trial. It was a good thing it was accepted in the
discretion of the judge. To my mind, it was such a very
strong evidence that could substantiate their allegation
and should not have been placed under the risk of being
rejected merely because of technicalities.
Then here comes the issue of the ownership of their
property. The respondents counsel made him read the date
on the title. His counsel objected on the ground that he
did not have the competence to do so. The judge overruled.
And so it was revealed that the property was bought before
his marriage to his wife and obviously under his wifes
name. Aside from I was able to see the actual version of
what I saw in court dramas on television, I had an occasion
to remember what I learned in Land Titles and Deeds that a
certificate of title cannot be collaterally attacked.
Also, I remembered the in pari delicto rule where the
law leaves the parties as it is. It is well-settled that a
foreigner cannot acquire real properties in the Philippines
and as a way of circumventing the law, he indirectly
acquired it through his wife who was his girlfriend at that
time. Now that he is claiming infidelity on the part of his
wife, the law leaves the property to his wife as it is. I
also have learned that the defect can only be cured if the
property is passed to a third person who is a Filipino
which is sadly not the situation in the case at bar.
Finally, the scenario that was an exact mirror of what

my professor vehemently warned that the psychologists in


declaration of nullity cases are biased in favor of the
party who sought them. There was this psychologist who
seemed to be regularly hired in declaration of nullity
cases. Her statements seemed to be so rehearsed and most
often than not, she speaks confidently as if she was really
able to examine both parties. One thing that really made my
eyebrows rise was her statement that she was not able to
physically see the petitioners husband but later on she
diagnosed him with of lots of personality disorders(how
come?). And yes, the narcissistic and dependent personality
disorders were the most abused. But one thing that was
really both sad and disappointing was the fact that the
public prosecutor did not even object to the psychologists
contradicting statement and in fact asked leading questions
that would affirm the husbandss alleged psychological
incapacity.

CONCLUSION

Justice is a myth in the Philippines. I have long heard


that and though I agreed, it was only on that day that I
had the urge to add the statement with because of
corruption.
Justice is a myth in the Philippines because of
corruption. Philippines has a tripartite system of
government because it has has the executive, legislative
and judicially branches of government which exercises coequal powers - of corrupting. To me, corruption need not

always involve money. Corroborating, conspiring,


confederating to achieve a common end contrary to justice
and equity is on its face, corruption. Omission to perform
ones duty to favor a cause is also corruption. Corruption,
indeed, is everywhere.
Nevertheless, for a law student like me, I am aware that
at this stage, I only have to know the rules and the
standards first. However, it is good to know what really
happens in real practice so that I will be oriented this
early. In that way, I have an ample opportunity to immunize
myself from the harsh realities in the real world.
Indeed, expectation is almost always different from
reality. The key is not to avoid the reality but to
understand that in the end, the choice lies within you. You
have the option to take part or not to take part on the
very same thing that you condemn.