Another milestone at 25.
On April 28, 2009, exactly 25 days after the release of the bar exam result, I took my lawyer’s oath at the plenary hall of PICC, alongside the rest of the 1,310 new lawyers who hurdled the 2008 bar examination.
The ceremony lasted for almost two hours.
We were advised to come at least 2 hours early, but we arrived at the venue quarter past 1.
The entrance for the inductees and guests (two for each inductee) were separate.
It started at exactly 2pm.
My parents were still outside the plenary hall waiting in line when the national anthem was sang.
Security was very tight. No cameras and cellphones were allowed inside the plenary hall (although some were able to sneak in their cam).
Inside the plenary hall, the predominant color was black.
The inductees in toga occupied the front rows while guests were at the back rows and the balcony (including my parents).
Facing us at the right side of the stage were the law school deans.
On the left side of the stage were 8 empty seats for the bar examiners. And on center stage was a long table for the 15 Supreme Court Justices.
The crowd hushed as the spotlight was focused on center-stage to herald the unveiling of the bar examiners.
Amidst cheers and jeers, their names were called in the order of the bar exam subjects:
Political law and Public International law – Atty. Juanito G. Arcilla
Labor law and Social Legislation – Atty. Salvador A. Poquiz
Civil law – Atty. Cynthia R. Del Castillo
Taxation – Atty. Victorino C. Mamalateo
Mercantile law – Justice Sixto C. Marella, Jr.
Criminal law – Justice Rodolfo G. Palattao
Remedial law – Justice Lucas P. Bersamin
Legal Ethics and Practical exercises – Justice Francisco P. Acosta
The biggest cheer was given to Labor law examiner Atty. Poquiz and the new SC Justice Remedial law examiner Justice Bersamin, while the loudest jeer was given to Taxation examiner Atty. Mamalateo and Criminal law examiner Justice Palatao.
The SC Justices then entered the stage to complete the majestic picture. Seated at the center, of course, was the Chief – CJ Reynato Puno.
2008 Bar Chairman Justice Tinga lighted up the hall by his witty comments about the bar examiners. Like this particular examiner was a faculty of UE, when he was the school dean. This one examiner graduated magna cum laude, but Tinga was his teacher.
He ended with a promise (more like a threat) that next year’s bar chairman Justice Nachura will beat this year’s all-time record of the most number of examinees by having the most number of bar passers.
It wasn’t my first time to hear the Supreme Court hymn because it was a monday when I applied for my Bar exam permit at SC, so I’ve attended their flag ceremony.
But I sure was surprised when the Lawyer’s Oath was sang by the Arellano chorale group!
More worried than surprised actually.
So they’ve sang it, does that mean we won’t be reciting our oath the conventional way?
All the memorizing of the oath since first year law for nothing?
I was ready to protest =).
Good thing, the master of ceremony next made us raise our right hand to recite our solemn oath.
There’s so much history (and yes, drama) in that oath, I just can’t miss that.
The petition to accept the inductees to the Philippine bar was confirmed by CJ Puno, without any objection thankfully.
Now it’s official.
I am Atty. Kareen May Eulin Argenio of Catarman, Northern Samar.
So help me God.
(P.S. Special thanks to Atty. Aaron Tampon for making the whole experience less impersonal. )