Eloquence, if You Will


2018’s Holy Week reminds of year 2013 Holy Week incident. Incident happened to Piola Kisnagen, from Cordillera highlands.

The incident wouldn’t have surfaced, but it did, when Ah Kong bumped into Piola on the streets of Baguio City in 2017, also on Holy Week. Seeing Piola, Ah couldn’t but help grin like a lost lamb.

For it reminded about Piola’s experience, and how the law – most serious it is –  can have a funny side when some lawyers, wanting to establish a reputation, may try to over reach in their zeal to expound a client’s position in flowery words.

In establishing a reputation, some, or many lawyers, indeed, become highly eloquent in oral presentation of their cases before the courts

Can we call it bar or pulpit eloquence? What say you, otherwise?

Before we continue with Piola’s experience, let’s dwell more on law.

Now, we must consider our laws very considerable, both in bulk and in number, according as the statutes declare.

Remember, laws are not to be meddled by those (like Ah) that don’t understand ‘em. Unnerstang!

May it please us to know that the Law always expresses itself with true grammatical precision, never in confusing moods, cases or genders, except indeed when a female happens accidentally to be slain, then verdict is always brought in “man-slaughter,” which may fall under homicide or murder, according to circumstances.

Ah, who’s totally ignorant of the law, thinks essence of the law is altercation, for the law can altercate, fulminate, deprecate, irritate and go on at any rate. For it’s said, the law may be harsh, but it’s the law.

Now, we may surmise embodiment of the law has, accordingly, five parts: first, beginning; second, uncertainty; third, delay; fourth, replication without endum (end) and, fifthly; monstrum et horrendum (monster is horrendous). Simply, people who misconstrue the law may see it as a monster which is horrendous.

Now back to Piola. In 2013, she worked as housemaid in a house  in Manila.

In that household where she worked was a member, whom we shall name as Pangas, as his nature was that. Nagbaba ti panagkita na ti pada na nga tao.

One day, Pangas entered the kitchen, when in the first place he had no business going in the kitchen and interfering with Piola’s cooking chores, and tried to taste the broth of the viand being cooked, by using a ladle.

Piola, meanwhile, was peeling onions on a table, her back towards the stove. She turned to check on what she was cooking.

In the process of turning she bumped the hand of Pangas that held the ladle full of hot soup. The hot liquid splashed in his face, burned his cheeks, nose, lips and tongue as he was about to taste the hot soup.

Even how many times Piola pleaded, “sorry,” and meant not what happened, Pangas, that he was, brushed the pleadings of Piola. Instead, he levelled charges against her.

Op kors, there was nothing Piola could do. But a public attorney took her cause.

Now here comes the eloquence, or could you say, comically flowery words, as far as Ah could remember the words.

During the court hearing, the lawyer for Pangas opened up by saying, “Since I have the honor to be pitched upon to open this cause to your Honor, I shall not impertinently presume to take up any of your Honor’s time by a round-about circumlocutory manner of speaking or talking, quite foreign to the purpose, and not in the ways relating to the matter in hand.”

Lawyer of Pangas continued, said, “I shall, I will, I design to show what damages my client has sustained hereupon, whereupon and thereupon. . .”

Lawyer of Pangas went on this argument, “Your Honor, he who makes use of so many words to no purpose, has not much to say for himself, therefore I shall come to the point at once; at once and immediately I shall come to the point.”

Lawyer of Pangas ended his flowery argument by saying, “Your Honor, now my client, being a member in the same household, imagined he had the right to free sampling of what’s being cooked in the kitchen, etcetera.”

When it was time for the public attorney of Piola to speak, he stood up, fixed his necktie emphatically and began, “Your Honor, I humbly do conceive I have the authority to declare that I am counsel in this case for the defendant; therefore, Your Honor, I shall not flourish away in words. Words are no more than filigree work.”

Piola’s lawyer pressed on, and said, “Some people may think them an embellishment. But to me, it is a matter of astonishment how anyone can be so impertinent to the detriment of all rudiment.”

Piola’s lawyer continued, said, “Now, in the first place, they have called a kitchen my client’s premises. Now a kitchen is nobody’s premises. A kitchen is not a warehouse, brew house, bake house, wash-house, in-house, out-house, whore house or play-house. It’s a bona fide kitchen where my client was doing her bona fide work and that nobody should disturb her in her bona fide hours.”

Piola’s lawyer ended his argument by saying, “Your Honor, we shall not avail of ourselves of an alibi, but admit of the existence of a cook-maid. Now, your Honor, we shall take it upon a new ground and beg for a new trial, as the court allows liberty of a new trial. For the law is our liberty, and it is happy for us we have the liberty to go to the law.”

In the end, the court favored Piola.

See! How flowery words of eloquence can sometimes humor the law? As is said, law is law, and as in such and so forth, and hereby, and aforesaid, provided always, nevertheless, notwithstanding.

And in humoring the law, we know that every cause stands, not on eloquence, but stands on law.

Ah believes law is like a book of surgery, because there are many terrible cases in it.

Law is also like a pretty woman, because it’s very nice to tag along with, but horrible when the law puts its claws on you.

Law is also like a scolding housewife, but very bad when it does spot check on you and follows you.

Or if you want to look at law at different angle, well, you can say law is like a clothes fashion, people are bewitched to get into it. Or, law is like a bad weather, people are very glad when they get out of it.

Short of saying Piola survived a bad weather, for the court favored her lawyer’s eloquent pleadings. It was for Piola    a well-suited Easter Sunday gift in that summer of 2013.

When Ah met Piola in Baguio that 2017, Ah asked how she looked at her dilemma that happened in 2013?

Piola explained that the court having favored her case was like, to her, an Easter Sunday gift which is a pledge of summer.

By the defense of her lawyer, she saw it as a thousand echoes of humanity into action, where the season has been, and will be, productive of joy.

Happy Easter Sunday to everybody!