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Role of the Legal Profession in the Upcoming Elections

By: Archiebald Faller Capila

As current and future members of the legal profession, it is our paramount duty that people achieve the justice they deserve most.

The first wave of the upcoming elections has arrived. A few days ago, the last day of filing of the certificate of candidacy for the 2022 elections has come to a close. In which, several aspirants have filed and made known their intention to run for respective local and national posts.

Several media outlet and socoutletsial media platforms have relayed to the public these aspirants. While we are yet to see the final list of candidates, we already have an idea of who will be officially on the ballots come May 2022.

Indeed, we could already feel the heat of next year’s elections. From returning politicians, a new breed of leaders, and consistent aspirants, we have been served names of people who would want to represent our collective agenda of governance.

It is without a doubt that the next elections will turn out to be one of the more defining ones in recent memory. Because of the abundance of names and political fame, the candidates for next year’s elections will go all-out in order to win your votes.

Whether it be in the local or national scene, the landscape of Philippine politics is leaning towards what the people really want. In this day and age where information (and misinformation) is accessible almost anytime and anyplace, we have to be careful in disseminating to the public what we should share.

We now have more than 63 million registered voters for the 2022 elections. Now that it was officially announced that the registration will be extended, it is expected that a lot more first-time voters will register so as to be eligible for voting next year. It only means one thing—a lot of Filipinos will be exercising their right to choose their respective representatives come 2022.

The landscape of Philippine politics will always be interesting. It is common knowledge that the people of the country may be divided into different classes. However, come election time, these categorizations are eliminated because the vote of a person is as important as the vote of another. Everyone is considered an equal of another. There will be no preferential treatment. There will be no alienation on where you are from and who you are. Your vote is as important as the vote of the highest official of the land.

That being said, it is paramount that we are able to help the people understand better the implications of the electoral process in the country. Behind every political team, there lies a lawyer or a group of lawyers who help these individuals understand the legal technicalities of their intention to run for public office. Aside from this, there are also law students and law graduates who choose to use their legal knowledge in helping certain candidates attain their dreams of representing the people through an electoral post.

Indeed, the backbone of Philippine politics lies in the hands of the few who serve as legal counsels or advisers to certain politicians. And now that the upcoming elections is heating up, we could say as well that current and future members of the legal profession will play big roles in establishing the political system of the near future.

Known to most, some lawyers even choose to run for public office. However, more often than not, most lawyers prefer to be behind the curtains and manage affairs from afar. They would rather be kingmakers than kings themselves. Accordingly, teams of legal minds flock together in order to support certain candidates whom they believe will bring about change and prosperity to the nation—whether in the form of the national or local government.

However, there are still some current and future members of the legal profession who choose to shy away from the limelight of politics. Instead, they focus on their private ventures and seemingly let other legal minds take over this process.

In this day and age, we can say that while there may be a handful of lawyers licensed to practice in the country, there are only a few who choose to spend their lives in politics. But today, we could say that every lawyer, law graduate, and law student has certain roles in shaping the future. Today, every mind composing the legal profession will play a big role in the upcoming elections.

As law students, we are taught in the most basic sense that information dissemination is necessary so as to inform the public of what is happening. Accompanying this responsibility of letting the public know is the fact that these matters must be truthful. In the realm of legal studies, we are always taught to verify the facts before making or submitting a legal conclusion. The same is true with respect to politics.

We must know what to share, who to share it with, and when to share the same. In this day and age where information can be easily distorted, it is our utmost duty to provide the people with verified information regarding certain matters. We always have to fact-check what we share on social media. Because these platforms are now accessible to almost everyone with a phone and an internet connection, we must combat misinformation by preparing well-reviewed documents and presenting them in an orderly manner.

Aside from this, we must be quick but respectful in pointing out certain lapses when it comes to seeing certain materials which are pure propaganda and do not have for themselves proper and verified sources. As future members of the legal profession, we are obliged to share truthful statements and avoid in any way malicious dissemination of demolition information. As catalysts of hope and change, we should be alert in sharing proper and correct information to the people.

Accordingly, for those who are already inside certain political circles, whether they be lawyers, law graduates, or law students alike, they should also be reminded that they should not commit any kind of disservice to the people. While certain lawyers and other members of the legal profession have different viewpoints in politics, the common ground must be for the benefit of the people and the benefit of the people alone.

We must always deal with things in a just and honorable manner so as to respect not only the people but also the legal profession in general. We must always be reminded that it is our duty to uphold the integrity of the profession in all our dealings and that we must show respect towards one another at any point in time.

Politics is and will always be a hot topic. It is inevitable that members of the legal profession will always talk about the same. It is because politics play a big role in our lives because it determines who will run the country from the ground up. However, aside from this, members of the legal profession should also take into account another important matter related to the positioning of candidates—that is the assurance that the elections will be fair and peaceful.

On every occasion, lawyers, law graduates, and law students must uphold the rule of law. We always want clean and dignified elections. As members of the legal profession, it is our duty to ensure that the electoral process will not be tainted by any wrongdoings. It is the only time wherein people feel at par with one another because their votes serve as the most powerful tool in determining the future.

Now that the filing of the Certificate of Candidacy is over, we must be vigilant at all times. The elections may be months away, but the heat of the same is already starting. The fires of the 2022 elections have started.

While everyone is expected to present their own views, we must respect their opinion nonetheless. However, by respect, we need to assure that the information they are spreading is actually true. The essence of democracy is to choose a person whom they feel represents the plight of the people. However, the same democracy does not mean that it is a license to spread false information, smear campaign, and baseless accusations that indeed builds up a mockery of sorts.

As current and future members of the legal profession, it is our paramount duty that people achieve the justice they deserve most. As instruments of hope, we need to be with the people in understanding their plight and their call for proper representation. As catalysts of change, we need to be role models especially in this time of the elections.

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