Updated: Aug 24
By: Archiebald Faller Capila
Often do we hear stories and narratives involving lawyers and their grand statures. It is almost a cliché that lawyers here in the Philippines receive this certain level of respect because of the degree they have attained and the experiences they have endured throughout the years.
Accordingly, the same situation has sometimes isolated members of the legal profession from some of the people around them. Because of a certain characteristic that cannot be simply explained, people tend to look at lawyers as beacons of hope who are not grounded on the realities of life—as people who do not know what it is like to live in reality.
However, it is not a surprise that such is a stereotype with respect to the profession of law. Most people think that lawyers are always on their high horses, thinking of others as pawns in a chess match. The same, however loud the speculations are, is not true.
Public service and giving back to the people are among the primary (and common) duties of lawyers all over the country. As a moral obligation, lawyers always tend to spend some of their time and resources so as to offer a helping hand to those in need. Better yet, some lawyers practicing in our jurisdiction choose to serve the public in full.
In the extensive list of lawyers lie a group of professionals who have devoted their legal life towards helping certain sectors of the government. They believe that by spending time and effort in such a venture, they could inspire a generation and be able to help more people through quality service even outside the courtroom. Among the many lawyers who chose this path of serving the people through public and civil service is Atty. Daniel V. Carpina.
Atty. Carpina is a man of heart and belief. He knows that by helping other people through his work in the government, he is not only helping a specific group of people today—he is building the next generation to be better. He knows that by spending time with the education sector, he will be able to inspire more students and practitioners to consider the life of a lawyer engaged in public service.
In an exclusive interview with Barrista Solutions, Atty. Carpina shares with us his life as a law student, what propelled him to become a lawyer, and a message to all aspiring lawyers out there aiming to make an impact in the profession any time soon.
Barrista Solutions: Growing up, did you see yourself becoming a member of the legal profession? What propelled you to pursue this line of work?
Atty. Carpina: No. I did not see myself, nor did I have the ambition to become a lawyer. I dreamt of becoming an engineer. Unfortunately, Math is not only my Waterloo but a dilemma as well. However, upon witnessing the sorry state of our law enforcement and admiring the feats and success of then PNP Chief Gen. Lacson, I aspired to become a member of the police force and entered the PNPA. But my journey as a cadet was short-lived due to boredom and indecisiveness.
I believe what propelled me to pursue the legal profession, aside from the prodding of my beloved mother and grandfather, who were both frustrated lawyers borne out of poverty, are my personal and actual experiences of injustice, unfair treatment in society mostly of those in power and the well-off, the filthy and rotten system in government, and others of the like. Yan yun mga factors na talagang nag-ignite ng fire in me to become a lawyer. I want not just to effect changes for the betterment of our society but to fight and rectify the ills of our surviving society. I want not only to act but to open the eyes of the people, especially the youth, to social realities and inspire them to act, to make an impact and to effect changes for the good and prosperity of our motherland.
Barrista Solutions: Working in an environment which is meant to help the future generation, how do you see yourself contributing to your office’s advocacy?
Atty. Carpina: As an employee of the Department of Education, I am working not only to fulfil my mandate as a civil servant but also to share my knowledge, experiences and views to impart a vision of aspiring and bringing into reality a more responsive, responsible and enfranchised citizenry for the betterment of their community and our society. My lectures, talks, and dialogues are meant not only for the audience or spectators to hear or witness. Above all, it is a living testimony that, yes it can happen, it can be done, and all that you and me have to do is to act and have that unwavering conviction in what we do, for God and for country.
Barrista Solutions: The current pandemic has affected all professions in the country, including that of the practice of law. What do you think should be the major adjustments of practicing lawyers in order to keep up with the “new normal”?
Atty. Carpina: To me, it’s the utilization of technology and its advancements. I have to admit I am not a “techy” person. And at times, that is what makes my interaction and communication with my clients or other people difficult. But, you know, all it takes is the willingness to learn and adopt the multifarious features of our modern day gadgets.
Barrista Solutions: Our educational landscape with respect to the primary level is one of the aspects gravely affected by the said pandemic. As a lawyer, what do you think should be done in order to address these problems?
Atty. Carpina: Well, all of us have to make the necessary adjustments. But what is more challenging and what makes things more difficult in the delivery of basic education has something to do with the lack of cooperation, coordination and concerted action, especially between and among the learners and parents or guardian on one hand, and the school and community, on the other. So, to me as a lawyer, that is what I believe should be developed and nurtured. People need to act as a team to get the job done of ensuring the continuous delivery of quality education for the learners and the youth. As they said, it takes a village to raise a child.
Barrista Solutions: What adjustments have you done in your practice knowing that the current health crisis has affected the legal profession as well? What are your tips to those lawyers struggling with coping up with the said transition and changes?
Atty. Carpina: What I did was to keep track on the news about the COVID-19, read and observe the various and numerous preventive and safety guidelines, protocols, measures issued by both the national and local governments. My advice to my fellow lawyers, and to everyone for that matter, is to exercise self-discipline and self-restraint. We can have fun and mingling but do not be oblivious of the ill effects of COVID-19 and do not be too complacent. Not even when there is already a vaccine for the virus.
Barrista Solutions: As a member of the legal profession, what is the main advocacy you continue to impart to the other members of your community?
Atty. Carpina: Relentless and unwavering campaign for Anti-Corruption in government, promotion of Social Justice and upholding of Rule of Law.
Barrista Solutions: What are the lessons you continue to resonate and apply which you learned in law school? How did your law school life mold you today as a member of the legal profession?
Atty. Carpina: Lessons such as stand your ground if you believe in what you are aspiring or fighting for, tanggap lang ng tanggap, matatapos at magtatagumpay ka din, hindi ka man magtagumpay at least man lang you put up a good a decisive fight. Ruat Caelum Fiat Justicia, Salus Populi Est Suprema Lex, and my favorite quote of Sen. Lacson: “What is right must be kept right. What is wrong must be set right.”
I can say that law school not only imparted me the knowledge and training necessary for the legal profession, but it widened my view and understanding of the workings in society and system of government. Law school made me choose to become a good lawyer rather than a great one.
Barrista Solutions: What are the things that you look forward to seeing or having in the near future as a practitioner of the legal profession?
Atty. Carpina: More than the recognition or accolades extended to lawyers, I envision that respect rather than mere courtesy would prevail whenever we speak of the legal profession. Gusto ko mabago yun tingin ng tao na kapag abogado eh gago, manloloko, magaling gumawa ng kwento, etc. Gusto ko balang araw irerespeto ako hindi dahil sa aking titulo, kung hindi dahil naging abogado ako na may integridad. Naging abogado ako na naging totoo sakanyang sinumpaang tungkulin para sa tao, sa bayan at sa Diyos. Balang araw sana makarinig din ako na ang abogado hindi lang magaling sa ulo, bagkos mayroon din malaking puso.
Barrista Solutions: If you could give an advice or any form of message to your younger self, what would it be?
Atty. Carpina: “Tapusin mo na ang mga kalokohan mo at bilisan mo maging abogado para mas marami ka pang matulungan at higit sa lahat masaksihan pa ni mama at tatang ang iyong panunumpa bilang isang ganap na abogado.” That’s really what I am going to tell to my younger self. To me, that’s the single biggest void in my becoming a lawyer. The fact that two of my eager and proud supporters in my journey towards becoming a bona fide lawyer did not live long enough to see the day that I took my oath and sign the Roll of Attorneys and have the appellation ATTY. before my name. (Believe me, while typing my answer to this question I can feel a lump in my throat and I am trying hard to hold back my tears.)
Barrista Solutions: What are your tips to all law students out there dreaming of passing the Bar exams in the near future?
Atty. Carpina: First and foremost study hard, but study with a heart. Don’t just put everything in your head. Learn the law also by heart. Aim for the top. Bigyan mo ng konting yabang ang iyong sarili pero be humble. Isipin mo hindi ka uuwi sa probinsiya ninyo or sa village, subdivision or neighborhood ninyo na walang ATTY. Before your name at may nakasabit na malaking tarpaulin sasalubong sa iyo.
Isipin mo yun ex mo na iniwan ka dahil hindi siya naniniwalang kaya mo maging abogado, or yun bumasted sa'yo dahil wala ka raw kinabukasan at puro ka lang yabang, or yun nang maliit sa'yo na abogado at sinabihan kang hindi ka puwede magsasalita ng tungkol sa batas dahil hindi ka naman abogado, tanggapin mo lahat ng pagdududa sa iyo, pangungutya, pangbabash, at kung ano pa man and turn these things into positive energy that will drive your grit in taking the Bar. Yun gigil mo sa pag-aaral ng batas noon first year huwag mong wawalain sa review lalo na during the Bar exams. And of course, over and above everything, during the journey and the battle huwag kang makakalimot sa itaas. Pray harder and keep the faith. Pagsama-samahin mo yun knowledge of law, patience, hard work, grit, and faith in Him, masasabi ko hindi ka man pumasa sa first take mo, magiging at magiging abogado ka! I suggest read and take into heart na din yun poem na DESIDERATA.
Hindi ako naniniwala sa mga higher ground of first takers. Na hindi ka na puwedeng maging Justice ng Supreme Court kung Bar flunker ka, etc. Well, while I respect yun mga point of view na ganyan, sa akin lang kung hindi naman yan enacted law or jurisprudence, don’t let other people set the standards for you. To me it doesn’t matter how many times you tried to get there, but what counts is the fact that you did get there no matter what. But, of course if you can do it “one-time-bigtime” by all means go. Less gastos, less worry or agony, less din ang review dahil baka may revisions or dagdag nanaman na mga batas, and sort of things like that. Pero huwag ka panghinaan if you did not get it the first time. Dapat mas lalo kang manggigil. Dahil na-experience mo na ng minsan may idea ka na. Kaya ngayon i-challenge mo na ang sarili mo na mapabilang sa Top 10. Ganyan dapat ang mindset.
With respect sa mga tips on how to answer Bar questions, I’ll leave that to the review centers. Kaya kapag nag-enrol ka sa review center huwag mo balewalain ang first day ng attendance. Maraming important pointers sa first day na yan. Tulad ng nabanggt ko kanina, dapat yun grit huwag mawala. Yun tipong wala kang gusting pakawalan na araw na matuto sa law school. So, goodluck! Godspeed.
· Atty. Daniel V. Carpina is an Attorney III at the Department of Education, Region IV-A CALABARZON.