Thursday, August 25, 2011

Grow Up!

Allah knows in my heart that I want to help you. But I also want you to somehow realize that how you're being treated is not right. You are his wife, not his mistress. Why are you allowing yourself to be treated as the "other woman"? Don't you see yourself with any value? Don't you have any respect for yourself?

I've never been this frustrated in my life. I want to help you and tell you how I feel about your so-called marriage. But you get mad at me, at us every time we try to make you understand that the way you're being treated is not appropriate and fair. For God's sake, you are his wife! Why can't you stand up for yourself and demand your wifely rights? Better yet, why can't you see that he's a complete jerk and that you should leave him? If you have any respect for yourself, if you believe that you are worth something, if you still have any sense left in your head, then you would not permit yourself to be unnecessarily placed in this messy situation.

Allah knows that I want to help you. But you have to realize these things. And you have to face your own responsibilities with him. WITH HIM. Not with me, not with her, not with your best friend. Because he is supposed to be your fucking husband. You're supposed to be partners in life, as cheesy as that may sound. You have to be there for each other in every shit you go through. Marriage is not supposed to be the way you see it now. He leaves you with a burden and you expect others to stop living their lives to help you carry that burden. Yes, we want to be there for you and help you. But we are not the primary persons to do that for you. It should be your husband. Your sham husband.

Please grow up, please. We're so tired of dealing with your childish ways.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Call to Reexamine the Exclusionary Rule

About two months ago, a friend of mine shared an article with me about Delaware pediatrician Earl Bradley. For the benefit of those who have no idea about who this Bradley guy is or what he did, well, he is a pedophile and sexual offender in the guise of a pediatrician. He sexually abused his child patients, some of whom were only months old (months old, for God's sake!) at the time of the commission of the offense against them. He videotaped his "sessions" with these children and one of the investigators of the case described the tapes as "one of the most violent and brutal attacks on a child of any age" that he had ever witnessed.

In one paragraph of the article, it was stated that Bradley's lawyers would convince the trial court to have the videotapes excluded, pursuant to the exclusionary rule, from being used as evidence for the prosecution as they were allegedly illegally seized. Again, for the benefit of those who are not too familiar with the concept of exclusionary rule, it is a legal principle which states that any evidence illegally seized or is procured through illegal search (which generally means that the seizure or search is not authorized by a lawfully secured search warrant, or that the search and seizure are attended by irregularities on the part of the law enforcement officers, or that the search and seizure are not effected under any of the established exceptions in which warrantless search and seizure are permitted by law) shall not be admissible in court. It simply means that any evidence obtained in such fashion shall not be considered by the court (or the jury, as the case may be) in determining an accused guilt (or in resolving a case of non-criminal nature.)

I may not have a personal stake in the case or I may not be the mother of one of the victims but upon reading that Bradley's lawyers would try to have the tapes excluded, I got a bit worried because insofar as the US is concerned, this rule is absolute, that is, any evidence illegally secured, no matter how strong and loud such evidence speaks of an accused's guilt or innocence, shall be entirely scrapped from the trial. If the trial court would grant the motion to exclude the tapes from the prosecution evidence, how else could this bastard's guilt be established? What happens now to the child victims? Should they be made to suffer and be eternally haunted by the sexual abuse they were subjected to at a time when they didn't even understand what sexual abuse actually is without being granted the justice they deserve just because of irregularities or errors that they had nothing to do with in the first place? (Thankfully, the trial court dismissed the defense lawyers' motion and convicted Bradley on 24 counts of rape, assault and sexual exploitation of a child in June 2011.)

It is in cases like this that the US and the Philippines (I disagree with the New York Times article's assertion that "The US is Alone in Rejecting All Evidence if Police Err". No, the US is not alone. The Philippines also adheres to an unqualified application of the exclusionary rule.) should revisit and reexamine this doctrine. To my mind, it is time that the rule be modified in such a way that criminals will no longer be allowed to avoid criminal penalty just because of  procedural or technical lapses on the part of the law enforcement authorities in seizing the evidence. Applying the rule in such a stringent manner indeed subverts the very essence of substantial justice and is tantamount to according more weight and significance to procedural rules and technicalities. Yes, the doctrine was carved out to protect people from arbitrary searches and seizures. But is this right to be free from capricious and malicious searches and seizures so important that it outweighs the victims' right to retribution and the state's duty to prosecute and punish the erring members of society?

A pedophile pediatrician sexually abuses and assaults his patients. He videotapes the acts. One of the tapes shows a two-year-old girl screaming in horror and trying to run away from this monster, who is angrily commanding her to perform oral sex on him. Another tape reveals the same man inappropriately touching a three-month-old boy's genitalia. Authorities discovers the crime. For fear that the pediatrician would destroy the tapes, the authorities confiscates them without a court-issued search warrant. The bastard is indicted on several counts of rape and sexual assault. His lawyer moves that the tapes be excluded from trial because they were illegally seized. The court, upon proper investigation, determines that the tapes were indeed taken without a search warrant. The court grants the motion. The prosecution has no other strong evidence other than the videotapes. The case goes to trial. The court rules that the prosecution failed to discharge the burden of proving the accused's guilt beyond reasonable doubt due to insufficiency of evidence and acquits the accused notwithstanding that, before the defense moved for the exclusion of the tapes, the court itself has viewed the contents of the tapes, showing the accused happily performing his beastly acts on the helpless children. Now tell me. Where is the justice in that?

The exclusionary rule may have sprung from the constitution, the fundamental law of a nation-state but that doesn't mean that its implementation should be too stringent and restrictive as to leave no room for disregarding it and setting it aside in highly meritorious cases. It must be borne in mind that, to borrow the wise declaration of St. Augstine of Hippo, an unjust law is no law at all.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Smells Like Frances Bean's Spirit

Have you guys seen Frances Bean Cobain's black and white portraits, taken by renowned photographer Hedi Slimane?

I remember my sister asking me how Kurt's and Courtney's offspring looked like and I replied, "She looks like a bean. Nothing like her beautiful parents. (Come on, Courtney Love was beautiful before she disfigured her face with too much plastic surgery!)" Days after that, I learned that the world wide web was going crazy over her photos. I checked them myself and damn is she gorgeous!!! I had to swallow back what I earlier said to my sister and agree with what everyone's saying--Frances Bean Cobain is the perfect combination of her parents' beautiful features. She's all grown-up. And did I already say she's gorgeous?

The above photos are my failed attempts to do my own version of the Hedi Slimane-shot photos. Please don't laugh at me. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Attorney-at-Law SLASH Aimless Dreamer

If only I have a better camera, I'm quite certain the photos below would look more decent and enticing to look at. *hint hint to the Dear Lord*

Anyway, the photos below are some of the products of a "photo shoot" I did with my sister as model over the weekend.

Styling and Make-up: Yours truly
Dress: Red Herring
Feather earrings: Aldo
Headband: Thrifted
Belt: Thrifted

Dear Aldo, please don't sue me for using your trade name without authorization. 
I'm just obsessed with your shoes and accessories. 
And I dream of becoming a stylist for one of your future ad campaigns.

This ensemble screams SUMMER! Don't you think?

So, what say you? Do you think I can one day add stylist, make-up artist, fashion photographer and artistic director (lol) in my curriculum vitae aside from attorney-at-law? Sound off below!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Never be Strangers Again.

I was working on a pleading last weekend when I heard the guy being interviewed in a local talk show say, "When you haven't seen a loved one for a long time and then you see each other again, you have to rebuild your relationship and re-familiarize yourselves with each other as if you're strangers getting to know each other."

His statement certainly struck me. And it's because I'm going through the same stage with someone from my past.

When you finally meet someone you haven't seen for eons, you feel elated, of course. But it also feels strange. You know that it's the same person you've had in your life in the past but for some reason, he doesn't seem to be the person you've known him to be. You have memories of him but how you remember him doesn't seem to jive with how he is now before you. Time has definitely changed him. You remember him with a silly haircut. Now he's sporting a dyed K-Pop-inspired mane. You remember him talking in a certain , distinct way. Now he speaks differently. He's changed a lot and sometimes it makes you unsure if he's the same person that you knew a long time ago. That uncertainty is rendered more complicated by the fact that you know somewhere in your heart that he's the same person and that you want him to transform back to the way you remember him. Chubby. Sweet. Dorky. Mischievous. However you remember him. But then you realize that how he is right now is who he is. You can't change him back to how he was in your memories. You have to embrace the new him and start all over again. Rebuild your relationship. Re-familiarize yourselves with each other. And be content that somehow, you still find traces of the old him in the process.

I must admit that there are times I feel like I don't have the courage to accept the new him. I'm still too attached to the way he was, to how my memories of him portray him. But I always counter that illogical feeling by scolding and telling myself, "You should be happy that, after all these years, you got to see his face again."

Allah knows how happy I am. How much I've missed this person. And how much I love this person. I hope and pray that, in our lifetime, we will never ever be strangers again. Never again.


Facepainting, I Dearly Miss.

This is definitely my favorite make-up look that I've done on myself and my little sister. It's very colorful, obviously. It's cheery and summery. Personally, I think the look evokes happy emotions. It's almost like seeing the sun shining at its brightest amidst a blue, cloudless sky. OK, I'm going too far.

I miss playing with make-up. I don't have the luxury of time to do that anymore. For crying out loud, I don't even have the free time to rest in the truest sense of the word. Weekends mean differently for me now. I work on my cases and pleadings, only that I do so at home. I feel so guilty after indulging in a number of hours of sleep. I can't do something leisurely without being constantly haunted by the thought that I'm being irresponsible. I can't catch a movie without dates (representing deadlines) randomly popping out of the movie screen. Ugh.

Wait, what's this post about? Oh yes, make-up. I wish I could be a part-time make-up artist. I have tons of make-up. I got the tools. Perhaps, I got the skills too. Now all I need is time to fulfill that. 

So little time, so many things (I want) to do. Oh well.


Single-Lens Reflex, I Wish.

This photo was taken with a phone camera. I just used my brilliant photo-editing skills to make it look like it was captured with an SLR. Or so I would like to believe.

I want to have an SLR someday. Sometimes, I'm thinking, "If only I have a good camera, I can show people that I can be a stylist. A good stylist. And who knows, maybe the fashion world will embrace me as one of them."

Sigh. So much for dreaming. Now back to work.


That's What You Get for being Happy. And for Laughing Your Arse Off.

"Une, barasan ka dn,"   my mother would warn me every time she'd see me laughing like a crazy person on the street. Her warning can be loosely translated as "Stop laughing like a mental hospital patient. Otherwise, something bad is going to happen to you in exchange for the happiness/light moment you're indulging in right now." Okay, so that translation is a wee bit exaggerated but that's what it essentially means.

I don't think there's an English equivalent of the concept of baras. So let me explain it in the best way I can.

Baras is a "bad happening" that one gets into after a happy moment. Or as my mother would warn, after a lengthy laughing spree, if there's such a thing. It's rooted in the belief that happiness  will later on be replaced by, well, misery. It's rooted in the belief that when one laughs too much, he or she will end up crying later on. That baras is a superstitious belief--I have no idea. Because as much as I would like to believe that it is, it never fails to reach me. All the time. Like this morning.

I woke up feeling great. I wasn't sure why. Maybe because before I went to Sleepyland, I had an hour of stress-busting guffaw session with my best friend. Or it might be because I got eight (8) hours of sleep, coupled with the fact that I was able to finally write finis my pleading due on Thursday. (You must be wondering why I seem to be making a big deal out of getting full eight (8) hours of sleep. But you must understand that it's become a rarity for me since I started law school.) So I went to work feeling very positive about the day. I was thinking it's going to be a productive day at work. Then, minutes after I sat on my chair, my boss asked me about the pleading that was due that very day. I said I sent it already to the secretaries for formatting and to my senior lawyer for review. And then I was told that it was supposed to be brought up to the Chief for review! So that means I should have been done with it eight days before and should have elevated it to the Chief immediately!

God knows I had NO IDEA that comments to be filed with the Supreme Court are subject to the Chief's review. Had I known that, I would've worked faster on the case, even if it means compromising the quality of the pleading. I could have stayed focused and tried not to let my personal problems distract me a bit. *le sigh*

I wasn't scolded or anything (in all fairness to my boss, who's genuinely one of the nicest persons I've ever met in my entire life) but I just felt so bad about myself. How could I not know? Seriously, I was so tempted to do a Christopher Lao and indignantly say, "I should have been informed!" But of course, that's not the responsible way to handle the situation. After all, the case was delegated to me and thus should have been informed, err, should have inquired about the internal rules applicable to it. I felt so incompetent, unreliable and irresponsible. I CRIED. =(

Oway, biarasan ako. (Yes, I received baras [see above explanation] for laughing heartily the night before and for feeling positive about the day ahead.)

I'm not sure if it was just coincidence or baras. Either way, I'm reluctantly starting to believe that baras is indeed real and not just some superstitious belief that Maranaos hold. Maybe it's not superstition at all. Maybe it's really one of the unwritten universal laws that we witness taking place in reality but refuse to believe in because we just can't understand the philosophy behind it. I mean, why would we be punished for feeling happy? For laughing? Isn't that what the universe--or God--wants for us? To be happy and positive all the time, even amidst chaos and tragedy?

I may appear so backward-thinking but, yes, I'm starting to believe in baras. It's manifested itself to me several times already. This morning was just one of those several times. And it my sound stupid but I don't want to be happy anymore. Or laugh as much as I want  to and used to. I'd rather have a normal, boring, crappy day without having to expect an adverse consequence subsequently. Maybe when something or someone makes me happy, I'd change my mind about this. But for now, this is my stand. 

There, Universe. You can suck out all the happiness in me and happy days in my life. Just leave me alone. I hope you're happy.


Monday, August 8, 2011

She Visited Me Again Last Night

"I promise we will return," she tearfully told her mother. Her mother was in tears too. 
"Just think of the good things that we're learning from being independent. We can't be fed by you forever. I hope those are the things that you think of, the good things that we can learn outside of this shelter whenever you find yourself lamenting over our situation," she said before she left again.
Yes, I hope those are the things you think of when you remember us.

Dead Dreams

Modesty aside, I know in my heart that I can do a lot of things. I don't want to enumerate them lest I might appear too boastful and arrogant. But seriously. There are a lot of things that I can do but I really believe that I'm wasting these "gifts"/"skills" because I don't use them for my or my loved ones' benefit. It's not that I deliberately choose not to use them. I JUST DON'T HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO PUT THEM TO USE. Yeah, I'm that unlucky. *le sigh*

I really envy people who have found ways to put their talents and skills to good use. I envy people who have found ways to turn their passion or hobbies into, well, business. Serious business. They get to earn a living out of something that they enjoy doing every single day. *le sigh* I'm not saying I'm not enjoying my present work. It's just that sometimes I get burned out writing pleadings and thinking intellectually all the time. Arguing all the time. Analyzing all the time. Worrying about other people's problems (And take note, I don't even get to meet these people. They exist only in the records I read. I can only imagine how they look or appear.)

I'm a lawyer and I know some people think I wouldn't want anything more, career-wise. But no. I still dream of being a singer-songwriter. I still dream of putting up my own restaurant, with the menu consisting of my "invented" recipes. I still dream about being a make-up artist/stylist. I still dream of becoming a radio DJ or VJ or newscaster. If only I were as lucky as others. *le sigh*

Enough with the daydreaming. I have to get back to writing my pleading due on Thursday.


The Nonsensical Entry

I've had countless episodes when I would just lie wide awake in the middle of the night, staring (unconsciously) at a particular space with thoughts running around my head, almost like there's a stampede going on in there. It's beyond chaotic, really. I even couldn't recall later in the day what I'd been thinking about that made me stay up all night.

There are times too that I would log in here in an attempt to chronicle my thoughts. But I would always find myself staring at the blank space where I should be writing (or more appropriately, typing) my thoughts away. Nothing would come out. I'm not sure if it's because I'm losing my ability to remember things well. Or I realize that my thoughts earlier in the day are not worth blogging about. Or I'm starting to lose my ability to articulate my thoughts in the written form. Or I'm thinking too much that I get lost and don't know where to begin. Or I'm simply going crazy.

Please pray that my brain would come up with something worth blogging those unsuspecting victims-readers (IF ANY, that is) won't have to be tortured by reading nonsensical entries from me. Yeah, like this one.