by Edcarl Realiza Cagandahan, LlB-II
“Learn to think quickly on your toes,” said Mayor Felipe Antonio “Ipe” Remollo, a renowned lawyer and politician as he shared his experiences and gave a handful of tips as a former law practitioner in Manila with the aspiring lawyers of Dumaguete City last December 12, 2017, from 3:00pm to 5:00pm at the Justice Venancio D. Aldecoa Moot Court, College of Law, Silliman University, in his talk entitled “Lessons Learned from Litigation Experience”. The said forum was spearheaded by Atty. Mikhail Lee Maxino, the director of the Dr. Jovito R. Salonga Center for Law and Development, and was well participated in by the students enrolled in the College of Law of Negros Oriental State University (NORSU), College of Law and Jurisprudence of Foundation University, and the College of Law of Silliman University.
Mayor Remollo began his lecture with a question that every freshman law student has been confronted with: “Why did you take up Law?” He asked a representative from each participating law school to give a response. Ian Blanco of the College of Law of NORSU, was first acknowledged and responded that he believes that “there is more to the knowledge of law that only those who study it possesses. While it is true that everybody is presumed to know the law, students of the law are presumed to know more of it and must know how to use such knowledge.”
Junior law student Kara Dumasis of Foundation University’s College of Law and Jurisprudence answered the same question by saying that she “mainly just wanted to fulfill the shared dream between [her] and [her] father where one of his children becomes a lawyer. The profession is a privilege that not everyone can attain, [thus] the challenge is worth the fight.”
Lastly, Emmanuel Lopez, a freshman law student of Silliman University, expressed that “being in the profession, [he] think[s], opens more doors for him.”
Thereafter, Mayor Remollo shared his own version as to why he took up law: he has always had a penchant for the profession, even during his undergraduate studies days as a Political Science major in Silliman University, and mainly because he aspired to be like his father who was also a practicing lawyer back then.
Mayor Remollo then recounted the major litigation proceedings he handled in the “big city,” having gone against lawyers from illustrious law firms from all over the country. “Before, everytime I am examined a witness on a witness stand, I always remembered the rules that I have established and replayed them at the back of my head,” said Mayor Remollo as he laid down some of his favourite rules of thumb which he applied in practice. One of which is to think swiftly: “listen to the words [of the witness] carefully and use the same against [the witness]. The key to winning cases is to pay very careful attention to every word that goes out of the mouth of the person taking the witness stand.” He said that one’s ability to listen and analyze in court may either make or break him/her.
Diorson Baseleres, a sophomore law student of Silliman University, asked Mayor Remollo during the open forum what common “mannerisms” a lawyer should observe in court. The latter responded that there are no other strict rules to be followed aside from those already established. However, he has observed that one of the common mannerisms a lawyer usually does is the slamming of the table in order to prove a point or sway the witness or the client. It was not followed by any other question and was thereafter concluded by photo opportunities with the speaker and all the participants.
Edcarl Realiza Cagandahan, a Sophomore law student of Foundation University, served as the forum’s moderator. Special acknowledgments to the deans of their respective law schools for heeding the request of participation of their students go to Atty. Sheila Lynn Besario (Dean, College of Law, SU), Atty. Jesus Ramon Quevenco (Dean, College of Law and Jurisprudence, FU), and Atty. Mikhail Lee Maxino (Acting Dean, College of Law, NORSU).