Updated: Jan 18, 2020
By: Romer Yadao
People love to speak about their accomplishments and rarely about their struggles. Atty. Antonio Carlos Bautista is not one of them. I now see him in the news being interviewed about the prominent cases he handles but he remains the same- humble and unassuming. Now that people use Social Media to promote themselves, their profession or their businesses, Atty. Bautista chooses to shun it. He is one of the very few people I know who try to avoid self-promotion.
Our friendship dates back in our elementary days in San Beda. I recall we were in the same class. We shared the same lousy jokes and saw each other in petty fights and scuffles with other classmates. We had a relatively small “tropa” and we can say we cannot be bullied easily in an exclusive school for boys.
We were classmates even in High School except during our 3rd year. I thought he would become a famous car designer, employed in the biggest car companies because he was into designing concept cars. His drafts were innovative, and I now see concept cars that could very well look like an Ace Bautista design.
It was in college when I saw how Ace was able to achieve a goal through grit and determination. His dad passed when we were in High School leaving his mom as the only breadwinner for the family. This, I believe was one of the reasons why Ace had to mature and become more focused early on.
Before our College graduation, he told me he was gunning for an award in school. He was eyeing to be a “Cum Laude”. Back then, I never knew what it was and how it worked because I never thought he was that serious about maintaining a certain grade. He then asked me to compile documents for him to make it as one of the Top Ten Students in San Beda. I wasn’t surprised when he achieved this feat because he showed passion and dedication in his education; he persevered and did whatever it took to succeed.
Before our college graduation, we decided to pursue our childhood dream to become lawyers. We took the exams and went our separate ways. He went to Ateneo while I studied in San Beda.
When we got the chance to meet, he'd tell me about how different it was in Ateneo and the challenges that befuddled him there. He said one of his professors tried to intimidate them to quitting law school. Some did but as expected, he did not.
He also told me about his struggles commuting to Rockwell; it was difficult because he needed to have a long walk from J.P. Rizal Street to his school and vice versa. If his classes were in the afternoon, it was hard because he had to wear business attire (Long sleeves and tie) under the heat of the sun and walk a long way to school. It’s harder, he said, when it would rain. There were times when he had to attend class or go home soaking wet.
Despite the trials Ace faced in Law School, he finished it on time, while he was part of the Ateneo Moot Court Team.
Ace took the Bar in 2007. I was there to bring him San Beda Pre-Week Notes as well as to study with him. Every 5 AM of each Bar Sunday, I went to Ateneo HQ to get his designated Blue Tips to help him focus on the key and most important concepts that he should not miss before he took his exam on that day. This was our routine for the entire bar month.
At the time the results came out, I was never surprised when he made it. I thought it was just a matter of where in the Top Ten he would be as we were praying for it. I received a call from him on the day the results were announced. He said, “Pare, abogado na ang kaibigan mo. Maraming Salamat, Pare!”
Right now, I see him in the television handling prominent cases and with high profile clients but he is still my Bedan friend who studied in Ateneo.