by - 5:04 AM

I arrived early, 12:53 to be exact. As a motorist, I needed to change my top because I sweat a lot, so I went directly to the Men's washroom. I was expecting a normal comfort room, but I ended up using an "oooookaaay" kind of CR. "I guess this is where our taxes go," I muttered to myself. Fast forward, I entered and behaved like a first grader feeling the environment, my eyes rolling side by side, I noticed big calendar sheets posted on walls, a few bundles of cases, and more papers everywhere, even under the benches and seats - such an UNFAMILIAR PLACE, the courtroom. "Sir familiar lage imong nawng? Murag nagkita na ta somewhere." ("Sir, your face looks familiar. I think we already met somewhere.") Someone shouted but in a calm tone. It came from the front. Without hesitation, I smiled and answered, "FAMILIAR FACE, kay common man gud mam." ("Familiar face because it's very common, Mam") I think I made her smile a bit.


Let's go back to the Regional Trial Court Setting. I was hooked on the "How To Getaway With Murder?" series on Netflix, so I got excited that day, Criminal Cases day, to finally witness a real-life language battle between the best Lawyers in the Metro. So, past 1 in the afternoon, the Court Hearing commenced. A composed-mannered lady came out from that side door, and I was amazed at how calm and well-presented she was. I could not remember if someone mentioned "all rise" when Madam Judge set in, but I knew everyone in that room respected her so much!  


So, before I share my personal experience, let me talk about the set-up of the Trial Court so that we can all visualize what the local Court really looks like. Do not expect glossy wooden interiors or comfortable chairs in our RTC. It was a very small room. If you are facing the Judge, below her are small areas for the interpreter, stenographer, and a chair for the witness or let’s call it a witness stand. A few steps away, you'll see two tables and chairs, one for the Public Attorney's Office and one for the City Prosecutor commonly known to us as Fiscal. Add two steps, there go the Bench seats where the accused, victims, lawyers, police, and anyone with a connection to the court are seated. You can’t imagine what it looks like, especially on loaded days!


First, what is a hearing or court hearing? A hearing refers to any formal proceeding before a court. The term usually refers to a brief court session that resolves a specific question before a full court trial takes place or to such specialized proceedings as administrative hearings. At least 25 Cases were finished and completed that afternoon. I was shocked or should we call it "Culture Shock" when I saw how the Fiscal or the Defendant’s Lawyers showed to the honorable Court the pieces of evidence that may help or ruin the Case. I can still remember the lawyers said, "Exhibit A your honor, Exhibit B.....Exhibit J.." If you were expecting shouting between lawyers, Naaaaaa, It wasn't! It was professionally performed and well presented. Let's talk about some of the Criminal Cases. I can still recall that Rape Case, it's just so disgusting! And oh, I stood up from my seat during that Murder Case! I know a good lawyer shouldn’t attach his or her emotions, but I just couldn't! That time, I was murmuring and out of the blue, burst into reaction that my classmate who was with me tapped my shoulders for some warning. I just cannot absorb the information and facts about those Crimes! And let me ask myself again, why did I go to Law school? (Grin smile)


Anyway, there were learnings to that experience too! In my point of view, I think interpreters can cause a delay in the hearing. Imagine, when the witness is on the stand and talking in dialects, can she digest and translate them all? I'm also not sure! It was almost 5 and the Judge took the last case. I got excited because finally, it's all done! A lot of lessons from that unfamiliar place, the courtroom. To say a few, (a) in just one mistake or wrong deed, your precious life will be ruined, (b) stories told inside the courtroom are not always correct and right, and (c) I can sense the lies from those accused when they said "I'm not guilty" during their pleas. (d) On the lawyers' side, they may be opponents in the goal of winning their cases, but I can smell the close bond they have outside the courtroom. (e) And lastly, never assume to be smarter than anyone else. (f) Anything can happen and always pay or show your respect. 

I promise this FAMILIAR FACE will soon be part of the Legal members of that UNFAMILIAR PLACE. The Court is adjourned!

You May Also Like


Show some Love, post a comment please? <3 <3 <3