LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – “Everytime workloads clash with law school’s schedules and we feel the urge to flip our office table and throw our office chair against our boss, think of Roy Lawagan.”
This has been our soothing phrase with Karl which we hum everytime we are stressed out because of work and law school. And so far it worked! Because me and Karl are still employed in our respective work places and we’re even performing well in law school. Well, our grades may not be that high but nevertheless passing numbers.
I recall when Karl and I were walking along Session road in search of a bar to flush our stress from work and law school away. While debating on which bar we should enter, Karl saw Roy mixing his ‘momma’ at the side of a local pub. Karl quickly went at his side and shook his hands. Roy was then a frustrated Barrister for having failed his attempt at our nation’s hardest professional examination. And what a timing that was because coincidentally, Roy was also looking for a place to doze his frustration away, I guess the three of us were placed at the same location that time for a reason.
That night, we drunk and exchanged discourses regarding the Bar questions that were asked during the 2014 exams. Among which were the Jennifer Laude case and territoriality issue over the freedom island, where I think ate most of our time discussing because of the relevance of the case during that time.
The same intellectual drinking echoed when we the three of us once again bumped into each other along session road. This time, the Bar exams is just a month away and Roy was doing his self-review by squeezing his reading session during his breaks while working as security guard at the Commission of Audit in Latrinidad. Despite the approaching Bar exams, Roy insisted for another round of intellectual drinking which we quickly concurred. I guess we were again placed at that same location for us to drown our stress once again and for Roy to relax in preparation for the Bar exams.
Karl, being the eldest, volunteered to do the ‘pitik’, a ritual being performed by elders to ask blessing from the gods before drinking starts. In the ‘pitik’, Karl asked the gods to shower Roy with knowledge, luck and peace as he will about to enter hell’s gate, that is the Bar exam. Here, Roy is in his second attempt to pass the Bar exam, but unlike the first one he did not enrol to any review centers.
Roy, months before the Bar month, did not file his application of leave from his work place unlike other barristers who isolates themselves from the rest, months before the Bar exams, for them to concentrate on their review. In fact even during the Bar month, Roy was working with his agency as the watchman. And because of that, Roy would have to travel back and forth to Manila during Fridays and rent a 150php bedroom near the bus station for the four Sunday Bar examinations.
Along with his travels and nights at the bus station, are his single set of extra clothes, xerox review notes, books, momma and gin. Like your typical Baguio boy, he dresses in his most comfortable shirt and blue jeans to be easily identified by fellow Baguio law students who are dishing out Bar kit goodies outside the gates of UST, the Bar site. His xerox notes and books is for his last minute review, and his momma and gin, to help him rid off his anxiety during this Bar crunch time.
Now after surpassing the Bar exam, Roy landed in the national news and even overshadowed the Bar top-nocther because of his unique story and willpower to succeed despite the hurdles of being a working student and a family man. Roy became an instant celebrity and his story touched a lot of people when it was broadcasted nationwide. But in spite all of this, Roy maintained his down to earth attitude as me and Karl witnessed when we had our recent round of intellectual drinking him.
During the said drinking, Roy was very thankful to all those who featured his story before the public saying that it’s a free advertisement for him in luring future clients. But on a serious note he said, he hopes his story will lift other working law students’ spirit and willpower in pursuing their goals of becoming one day as agents in the administration of justice despite their heavy workloads in their workplaces.
Roy looking back at his fellow barristers who did pass the Bar exam at the same time recalling his first failed Bar attempt said, ‘’they should never be dismayed, one need to hit rock bottom in order to spark the determination within them because the only way is up’’.
As your drinking buddies in Olympian, Atty Roy, we send our sincerest thank yous for the inspirations you have bestowed upon us. We will hold these insights to help us fuel our depleting determination-juice to surpass law school. And may you forever supply us with bottles during our intellectual discussions.
And to end this story on a serious statement, Roy vowed to protect the sanctity of our laws wherein he shall not allow or tolerate the use of any false, misleading, deceptive, self-laudatory or unfair claim about our laws or the legal profession with the intent to exploit less-educated masses. This is one of the Canon laws which a lot of the senior lawyers have overlooked in their practice of law.
By Rocky Ngalob