Admin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to AttyMayiVR.
A/N: Hello co-readers/co-adiks. As, I was doing some legal writing, I got inspired by one of the maritime cases I’ve encountered and started with this story. I hope you’ll like it like PBMLW (super thanks to all who made efforts to put in their (wonderful) comments! I’m still working on Part 7 – ang haba po kasi ng parts eh).
After the case of Samsung Electronics, Corp. versus Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. was called by the Court Interpreter, four lawyers automatically stood up from their seats at the lawyer’s table fronting the judge’s rostrum inside an old court room of a Manila Regional Trial Court.
“This is for the continuation of the presentation of evidence for defendant Sea Port Arrastre Services Company. Are the parties ready?” The judge asked.
“Atty. Maya dela Rosa, appearing for the plaintiff, ready for the re-cross examination of the witness, your Honor.”
“Atty. Richard Lim for defendant Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc., ready your Honor.”
“Atty. Ryan Molina, appearing for defendant Malayan Insurance Corporation, ready your Honor.”
“Atty. Anthony Reyes, for Sea Port Arrastre Services Company. Your Honor, my witness could not make it for today’s trial. I’m sorry but I have to ask for postponement.”
“Your Honor, during the last hearing, Atty. Reyes already asked for postponement for the same reason that his witness is not available. Today’s setting was at his request because according to him, today is the availability of his witness, and he even assured the Court that the witness will come today.” Maya declared in an upset tone.
“Yes, I admit, your Honor. But because of the recent typhoon, the witness was not able to leave Bicol in time for today’s trial.” Atty. Reyes reasoned out.
“No objection to a resetting, your Honor.” Richard said.
“Same here, your Honor.” Ryan seconded.
“But your Honor, Atty. Reyes did not only assure the Court of the presence of his witness for my re-cross examination this morning, but he also made a commitment that he will be presenting his next witness from the Philippine Ports Authority today because I manifested that my re-cross will be very short. I will not object to the postponement of the re-cross examination, your Honor, but in the meantime, Atty. Reyes can call his next witness to the witness stand.”
Good thing that the male judge is fair and just. “Yes, I remember that commitment. So where is your witness from the PPA, Atty. Reyes?” he asked.
“Your Honor, the next witness is Mr. Ramon dela Cruz of the Philippine Ports Authority but the subpoena served on him by the Court Process Server did not reach him in time for this morning’s trial. With that, may I move that another subpoena duces tecum ad testificandum be issued to the said witness your Honor.”
“Let me check the records first.” The righteous Judge said. After perusing the records of the case, an upset Judge said, “Atty. Reyes, last hearing you manifested that you will be filing the necessary pleading in relation to the issuance of the desired subpoena to your witness from the PPA. You were directed by this Court to file the appropriate pleading at least two weeks before today’s trial so that you can coordinate with the process server for the personal service of the subpoena to your witness.”
“You just filed your request for subpoena yesterday afternoon at 4:00 o’clock! Now you make it appear that it was the inadvertence of the court staff that is why your witness was not able to appear for today’s trial?”
“My apology your Honor. It was not my intention to put it that way. I’m sorry.” Atty. Reyes immediately apologized.
While the proceedings were on going, Richard and Ryan were not listening because they were busy exchanging text messages.
Richard’s text: Pare, what’s the issue? It’s just a simple postponement and she’s making a big deal out of it.
Ryan’s text: Brad, hindi naman kasi talaga siya yung handling lawyer ng case. Remember, si Atty. Celine Villacorta. Naka extended maternity leave kasi kaya she’s still pitching in for her. Mas OC pala itong si Atty. dela Rosa.
Richard’s text: Oh yeah, si Atty. Villacorta nga pala. Mas OC nga itong isa, at mas friendly si Atty. Villacorta. Kanina pa sana tayo naka alis.
Ryan’s text: Ma detalye sha kasi she’s very familiar with court procedures and lawyer’s tactics. Lumaki kaya sa court yan. She’s the daughter of Judge dela Rosa.
Richard’s text: The Judge Teresita dela Rosa of Quezon City Regional Trial Court?
Ryan’s text: Yes. She’s known for her strictness and integrity.
Richard’s text: May pinagmanahan pala. Incorruptible yun pare. In fairness, ang bilis matapos ng cases dun, because of her system.
“Apology accepted with warning.” The judge said admonishing the lawyer. “So we will have to reset the trial.”
“In that case, I submit, your Honor.” Maya said while disappointed.
Atty. Reyes was relieved. “Thank you, your Honor. May I reiterate my motion for the issuance of another subpoena duces tecum ad testificandum to my witness, your Honor. I will cause the personal service through the law firm’s messenger. May I ask for a November setting, your Honor?”
“What?” Maya asked incredulously. “But your Honor, that is more than 6 months from today! Your Honor, the presentation of evidence for defendant arrastre operator has been dragging for almost 3 years now because of postponements at their instance.”
Richard was getting impatient and so he promptly said “I do not have any objection to that your, Honor.”
“Of course, that is to your advantage as well!” Maya snapped at Richard as she was peeved by the unnecessary manifestation made by him.
“Point well taken. November setting is too far. There are many available dates in the court calendar. The court calendar is open for another case for trial a month from now, May 24, in the afternoon?”
“I’m sorry, I’m not available in the afternoon, your Honor.” Ryan said while browsing through his pocket calendar.
“If we have it on a Tuesday, it’s in the morning. So, May 31, it’s a Tuesday too, okay for you?” The Judge patiently asked the lawyers.
“Available your Honor.” Maya said.
Richard wanted to avenge because his ego was slapped by the hostile comment of Maya. So he discreetly nudged Ryan, marked the date in his pocket calendar then said “I’m not available. Another date, your Honor please.”
“What about June 7 in the afternoon?”
“I have a hearing in Marikina, your Honor.” Richard said while pretending to browse his pocket calendar. He nudged Ryan again and suggested “What about June 19 your Honor?”
“I am not available.” Ryan hesitantly said.
“June 21 at 2:00 o’clock?” The Judge unwearyingly suggested.
“I’m not available, your honor.” Richard said after putting a check mark on date in his calendar.
“You’re still not available on that date?” Maya asked.
“Yes, I have another hearing to attend to” Richard casually said.
“Really Atty. Lim?” Maya sarcastically asked Richard. “Your Honor, may we know where that hearing will be?” Maya addressed the Judge.
“It’s a criminal case for murder, it’s in Quezon City, your Honor, while the hearing is in the morning, I might not make it on time for the afternoon trial in this case.”
“What branch?” Maya faced Richard and continued to ask.
“What?” Richard pretend not to hear her because he was starting to get uncomfortable.
“Your Honor, may we know from counsel which branch in Quezon City?” Maya persisted.
The Judge heaved a sigh but calmly asked Maya “What are you pointing at Atty. Dela Rosa?”
“Because I saw him nudged Atty. Molina. I also noticed that Atty. Lim marked his pocket calendar just after the dates were suggested. There’s nothing else written there, no case number or title or even the court station. He might just be accommodating Atty. Reyes.”
The Judge was irked with what Maya revealed. “Okay, let us observe candor. Please answer Atty. Lim.”
In panic, Richard just answered without thinking. “Uhhm, Brach 79, your Honor.”
Startled, Ryan said in a soft voice “Patay.” Ryan knew very well that Richard will not get away with what he did.
“Your Honor, I would like to manifest that Branch 79 is the sala of Judge Teresita dela Rosa and they don’t hear criminal cases on a Thursday because the public prosecutor assigned in the that sala is only available in the morning Mondays and Wednesdays. Thursday is a civil case day.”
“In fairness to the lady lawyers of the plaintiff, they have never caused any postponements, even during the presentation of plaintiff’s evidence and even while Atty. Villacorta was pregnant. They always came to court prepared!
You three! This Court has been very lenient with your postponements and inadvertences, but it does not mean that it will tolerate acts of lawyers that will make a mockery of the judiciary!
I will let this pass. But the next time any of the three of you venture to do similar acts, I will cite you in contempt of court! Alright, the trial is reset to June 21 at 2:00 in the afternoon.”
“June 21 is fine, your Honor. I’ll be relieved from this case by that time, but I will inform Atty. Villacorta right away and will make sure that she’ll be here on that date.” Maya said victoriously.
It was the annual Christmas party of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Quezon City Chapter at the Quezon City Sports Club. Atty. Angelo delos Santos, incumbent Vice President of the IBP QC Chapter, announced his intention to run for President in the next election in February, and for this reason, most of his schoolmates and fraternity brothers who are members of the chapter, came to the party to show support.
Ryan: Hon, ayun sina Dan at Mitch. Let’s sit with them.
Atty. Dan: Ito na pala sina Ryan eh. Pare!
Mitch: Hi Ivy! Come sit beside me.
Ivy: Hi! Kanina pa kayo?
Atty. Dan: May 30 minutes na. O, Mr. Stag is here!
Ivy: Mr. Stag?
Ryan: Hon, si Richard yung tinitukoy nya. It’s been the joke among us. Yan kasing si Richard laging dumadating sa mga party without someone. Kaya binansagang Mr. Stag.
Atty. Dan: Eh kami mga good boys eh, laging kayong kasama!
Mitch: Talaga lang ha, lagi daw kasama.
Atty. Angelo: Mga Brod! Akala ko hindi nyo ako sisiputin eh. Salamat ha.
Atty. Dan: Naman pare, kamipa pinag dudahan mo?
Atty. Angelo: May kulang dito, san si Richard?
Richard: Here! Present Brod!
Atty. Angelo: Still without someone? Mr. Stag ka pa rin ‘tol? Tamang tama, pay ipapakilala ako sayo eh.
Ryan: Naku Angelo, sana naman yung seseryusohin na si Richard. Eh panay yung ‘big assets’ lang nya ang siniseryoso eh. Hahaha!
They were busy catching up with each other. After about 10 minutes, Angelo looked up at the entrance of the ballroom as he saw Maya enter. She was stunning in her ecru A cut dress that was just above her knees. She let her long layered hair down showing nice big soft waves. Her bambi eyes were soulful even with light make up and her lips were luscious looking with red lipstick.
Atty. Angelo: Wait lang mga pare ha.
Ryan: Naku Richard, si Atty. dela Rosa parating oh.
Dan: Richard, katapat mo, si Mrs Stag!
Ryan: Mrs. Stag?
Dan: Para ring si Richard yan Brod. She’s supposed to be married pero ewan ko never pumunta sa social gatherings with her husband. Palaging on solo. Kaya sa batch naman nya, yan ang tawag sa kanya.
Ryan: She’s married?
Dan: Daw! Pero lagi nga on solo, kaya Mrs. Stag. Pare, Bedista daw yung husband nya eh, pero under bar.
Ryan: O, nag beso kay Angelo! They’re close, holding hands oh. Naku patay Tayo Brod, palapit dito.
Richard keeps his cool. He casually drinks his beer.
Dan: Bakit Brod?
Ryan: Nakalaban namin sa isang kaso!
Angelo: Mga Brod! I’d like you to meet my favourite niece! Atty. Maya dela Rosa. Maya, that’s Si Dan, his wife – Mitch.
Mitch: Hi Maya!
Angelo: Si Richard, Ryan and his wi –
Maya: Brod mo sila Tito?
Angelo: Yes, Richard and Ryan are even my classmates, we’re batch mates actually.
Maya: Ahhhh…..batch mates mo pala sila Tito, at fraternity brothers pa?
Angelo: Ikaw naman, don’t emphasize Tito, tumatanda ako eh.
Maya: Uhm, Tito, do you know a certain Atty. Anthony Reyes?
Angelo: You know Anthony? Batch mate namin siya pero he’s with another fraternity.
Maya: Batchmates? Kaya naman pala… so Atty. Lim and Atty. Molina, I was right all along. You were just accommodating Atty. Reyes!
Angelo: You’ve met them, Mai?
Maya: Naku Tito, sila yung mga lawyers na pinagalitan ng judge kasi mga sinungaling! If they could lie to the judge with a straight face, I’m sure they lie to their wives as well!
Tito, I’m sorry, will you excuse me? I see some friends waving at me. Dan, Mitch… looks at Ivy too ….. Atty. Molina, and Atty. Lim, excuse me, dun muna ako, see you around.