Five years ago today, I signed the Roll of Attorneys as No. 62729 and became a full-fledged lawyer. Five years would have been enough to build a sizable nest egg if you are single and supporting no one.

But I had never maximized my time and skill to increase my net worth. While my sense of professionalism compels me to produce pleadings keeping in mind the potentiality that the case could go all the way to the Supreme Court (and hence the pleadings must be the best which could be produced under the circumstances), and that the cross-examination must be of such level to give a fair chance of acquittal, I actually find it more enjoyable to write non-legalese instead of court papers and to read literature outside of law instead of transcripts of stenographic notes and affidavits.

I just keep and accept enough paying cases to pay my little share in the office expenses, pay for my insurance premiums, contribute to causes I believe in, give back a little to my aging parents, and maintain my basic lifestyle. As a consequence, I earn much less than most lawyers with the same experience as me. In fact, it took me four years of lawyering before I was able to buy a 2nd hand car. (On a side-note, I was dirt-poor to begin with.)

When the current administration started its war on the basic principles that we hold as a nation – such as human rights, the rule of law, and due process – my income decreased significantly, as I started attending more rallies instead of client meetings (such as the one pictured below, mobilization against the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility), and I found myself being present in coalitions and partners conferences instead of at the office working on cases. With the start of the election campaign, and the Cebu Action Group actively campaigning for the #OtsoDirestoSaSenado, the secretaries even notice that there are whole weeks I do not show up at the law office.

Why am I writing this? Well, I’d like a little help from you. Please help us make the Otso Diretso candidates – MATHGRAD: Macalintal, Alejano, Tañada, Hilbay, Gutoc, Roxas, Aquino, and Diokno – win Senate seats so that we will have a truly independent Senate, and I could finally go back to focus on my law practice without engaging myself in these mobilizations and actions. And maybe perhaps I could save enough to marry. ?