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About Erap

Public Attorney’s Office 3rd National Convention

Speech of President Joseph E. Estrada

3rd National Convention of Rank and File Employees

of the Public Attorney’s Office

Manila Hotel, 11:30 a.m., October 22, 2012

ISANG MAGANDANG TANGHALI AT MABUHAY SA MGA OPISYAL, MGA KAWANI AT MGA PILING PANAUHIN NG ATING PUBLIC ATTORNEY’S OFFICE.

MALUGOD KONG IPINAAABOT SA INYONG LAHAT ANG AKING BUKOD-TANGING PAGBATI SA OKASYONG NG INYONG IKATLONG PAMBANSANG KUMBENSIYON.

NAGAPAPASALAMAT DIN AKO SA INYONG MASIGLANG PAGTANGGAP SA AKIN AT SA INYO NA RING IMBITASYON UPANG AKO AY MAGING BAHAGI NG INYONG KUMBENSIYON BILANG PANAUHING TAGA-PAGSALITA.

HINDI AKO NAGDALAWANG-ISIP NA TANGGAPIN ANG INYONG PAANYAYA DAHIL ANG PUBLIC ATTORNEY’S OFFICE AY PARA SA MAHIHIRAP, SA PAMUMUNO NG KAGALANG-GALANG NA CHIEF PUBLIC ATTORNEY AT AKING HINAHANGAANG ATTORNEY NG MASANG PILIPINO, ATTY. PERSIDA ACOSTA.

NGUNI’T HIGIT SA LAHAT, ANG PUBLIC ATTORNEY’S OFFICE AY TAGAPAGTANGGOL NG MAHIHIRAP PARA SA PATAS AT PANTAY NA KATARUNGAN PARA SA LAHAT.

SA KAY ATTY. ACOSTA, AT SA BUONG PUBLIC ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, SALUDO AKO SA INYO.

KAHIT KAYO KULANG SA PONDO, KULANG SA MGA ABUGADO, KULANG SA RESOURCES, KULANG SA FACILITIES PERO ANDUN PA RIN KAYO PARA IPAGLABAN ANG KARAPATAN NG MAHIHIRAP PARA SA HUSTISYA.

AT ANG MGA KAHARAP NINYO KARANIWAN SA KORTE MABIBIGAT NA MGA ABUGADO!

HINDI LANG DE-KAMPANILLA, DE-KAMPANA PA!

IYONG ILANG MAYAYAMAN DAW, IF THEY CAN NOT GET A BRILLIANT LAWYER WHO KNOWS THE LAW, THEY WILL JUST GET ONE WHO KNOWS THE JUDGE.

KAYA DITO PA LANG, PATAY NA ANG MAHIHIRAP. DEHADO NA KAAGAD!

KAYA IYONG IBANG MAHIHIRAP NA KABABAYAN NATIN NA MAY KASO, LUMALAPIT SA AKIN AT NAGSASABI, ERAP, HINDI PAREHAS AND TINGIN NG HUSGADO SA AMING MAHIHIRAP. .

ANG SAGOT KO SA KANILA, ANG SAGOT KO SA KANILA, HUWAG KAYONG MABAHALA NANDYAN NAMAN SI ATTY. ACOSTA AT ANG PUBLIC ATTORNEY?’S OFFICE PARA IPAGLABAN KAYO.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IT IS AN HONOR AND A PRIVILEGE FOR ME TO EXTEND MY CONGRATULATIONS AND HIGH ESTEEM TO THE PUBLIC ATTORNEY’S OFFICE OF OUR DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ON THE OCCASION OF YOUR THIRD NATIONAL CONVENTION.

I JOIN YOU TODAY WITH THE HOPE AND PRAYER THAT YOU WILL ALWAYS BE STEADFAST AND REMAIN TO BE TRUE AND COMMITTED IN YOUR MANDATE OF SERVING AS THE VANGUARDS AND PROTECTOR OF OUR POOR AND DISADVANTAGED LITIGANTS.

I HOPE YOU WILL BE HAPPY TODAY TO LISTEN TO MY HANDSOME AND GOOD-LOOKING ENGLISH. SAMPLE PA LANG YAN.

I KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO SUFFER FROM INJUSTICE. I KNOW THE PAINS OF BEING HELPLESS AND NOT BEING GIVEN A FAIR AND IMPARTIAL TRIAL.

I HAD BEEN THERE; I HAD SUFFERED INJUSTICE. AND VERY CANDIDLY, I WILL ADMIT THAT I KNOW THE FEELING.

I CAN EASILY IDENTIFY WITH OUR POOR LITIGANTS WHOSE ONLY FAULT IS BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO MONEY TO SPEND FOR LITIGATION.

AT LEAST FOR ME, MY ONLY FAULT WAS BECAUSE I WAS PRESIDENT WHO REFUSED TO SERVE OR PROTECT THE INTEREST OF AN ELITIST CLASS GREEDY AND HUNGRY FOR POWER AND MONEY.

AS YOU ALREADY KNOW, I AM NOW A CERTIFIED MEMBER OF THE X-MEN IN THIS COUNTRY ? I WAS EX-MAYOR, EX-SENATOR, EX-VICE-PRESIDENT, EX-PRESIDENT, AND THEN EX-CONVICT.

IN 1998, I WAS THE NUMBER ONE CITIZEN OF THE PHILIPPINES HAVING BEEN ELECTED OVERWHELMINGLY BY OUR PEOPLE AS PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES IN A FAIR, FREE AND HONEST ELECTION.

BUT IN 2001, I WAS THE NUMBER ONE PRISONER. I WAS DETAINED FOR ALMOST SEVEN PAINFUL YEARS AND WAS CONVICTED UNDER THE ADMINISTRATION OF MADAME COOL CAT ? IYONG KULANG SA SUKAT.

NAKULONG AKO NG HALOS PITONG TAON, KAYA SA DETENTION KO, NAG-ALAGA AKO NG MGA BIBE, PATO, MANOK AT ISDA PARA MAY KAUSAP NAMAN AKO. KUNG NAGTAGAL PA AKO SA KULUNGAN, BAKA NGA IYONG BIBE, NATUTO NANG MAGSALITA.

ON HINDSIGHT HOWEVER, I REALIZE THAT IT IS NOT ONLY ME WHO IS A VICTIM OF INJUSTICE AND PUT TO JAIL. I JOIN THE RANKS OF SUCH EMINENT LEADERS AS NELSON MANDELA OF SOUTH AFRICA, MY FRIEND, ANWAR IBRAHIM OF MALAYSIA, THE DISSIDENT AUNG SAN SUU KYI OF MYANMAR, AND OF COURSE, OUR VERY OWN, THE LATE SENATOR NINOY AQUINO.

THEY WERE ALL CONVICTED LIKE ME, WHICH MAKES US ALL MEN OF CONVICTION!

BUT IN SPITE OF THIS, I STILL BELIEVE IN DEMOCRACY. I STILL BELIEVE IN OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM.

AND I STILL BELIEVE IN FREE SPEECH, WHICH IS WHY I AM DELIVERING THIS SPEECH NOW FOR FREE.

WALANG PROFESSIONAL FEE. WALANG TALENT FEE.

KAYA HINDI NA TAYO NAGKAKA-IBA. KAYO RIN, ANG MGA ABUGADO NINYO, SUMASABAK SA KORTE NG WALANG PROFESSIONAL FEE.

IYONG IBANG MGA ABUGADO, PAGTANGGAP PA LANG NG KASO, SUMISINGIL NA KAAGAD NG ACCEPTANCE FEE.

IT IS FOR THIS REASON THAT I PAY TRIBUTE TO OUR LAWYERS IN THE PUBLIC ATTORNEY’S OFFICE BECAUSE THEY HAVE GIVEN UP WHAT MAY HAVE BEEN A LUCRATIVE LAW PRACTICE IN EXCHANGE FOR THE PRICELESS SATISFACTION OF SERVING AND DEFENDING THE POOR.

TODAY, I WAS INVITED TO YOUR CONVENTION TO DELIVER WHAT YOUR INVIATION SAID WOULD BE AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE.

BUT I BELIEVE YOU ARE VERY WELL-INSPIRED ENOUGH.

IF YOU CAN GIVE UP THE TREASURES OF LAW PRACTICE TO HELP THE POOR WHO ARE VICTIMS OF INJUSTICE,THAT IS THE INSPIRATION OF THE HIGHEST ORDER THAT CANNOT HAVE A PRICE.

THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS THAT IT IS ME WHO IS VERY MUCH INSPIRED BY YOUR WORK, YOUR DEDICATION AND YOUR COMMITMENT.

I AM INSPIRED BY YOUR COMMITMENT FOR HELPING AND SUPPORTING MANY OF OUR POOR COUNTRYMEN IN THEIR QUEST FOR JUSTICE.

THIS IS ESPECIALLY SO FOR YOUR OVER 1,500 ATTORNEYS SCATTERED ALL OVER THE COUNTRY AND LED BY THE HARD-WORKING ATTY. ACOSTA.

KAYA PAG NAKIKITA KO SA TV O NABABASA KO SA PERYODIKO SI ATTY. ACOSTA, ANG NASASABI KO, MAY MAHIHIRAP NA KABABAYAN NANAMAN ITONG IPINAGLALABAN.

YAN NA YATA TALAGA ANG TRADEMARK AT CALLING CARD NITONG SI ATTY. ACOSTA. MAHIRAP TALAGA KALABANIN ITO. ISA SA MGA TOP NOTCHER SA BAR EXAMINATIONS.

ONLY RECENTLY, I WAS TOUCHED BY HER DEFENSE OF A MALTREATED KASAMBAHAY WHO ALLEGEDLY SUFFERED TREMENDOUSLY FROM HER EMPLOYER.

I FOLLOWED THE INVESTIGATION OF THIS CASE, AND IF AM NOT MISTAKEN, SEN, JINGGOY ESTRADA CONDUCTED THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON LABOR , EMPLOYMENT AND HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT.

I HOPE YOU RESOLVE THIS CASE WITH A DEEP SENSE OF MISSION AND URGENCY BECAUSE YOU HAVE JUST GIVEN A NAME AND A FACE TO INJUSTICE IN THIS COUNTRY.

I HAVE ALSO FOLLOWED THE WORK AND ACTIVITIES OF YOUR OFFICE THRU THE YEARS AND I AM IMPRESSED WITH YOUR GOOD PERFORMANCE IN SPITE OF OVERPOWERING CHALLENGES.

IN THE FACE OF CONSIDERABLE OVERLOADING OF CASES AND SEVERE LIMITATIONS IN FUNDS AND FACILITIES, YOU HAVE MANAGED TO WIN CASES OR HAVE THEM DISMISSED.

THESE ARE WELL EXPRESSED IN TERMS OF ACQUITALS, DISMISSALS OR FAVORABLE DISPOSITION OF CASES.

YOU HAVE RENDERED LEGAL ASSISTANCE OR PROVIDED POOR LITIGANTS FREE ACCESS TO OUR COURTS AS WELL AS TO JUDICIAL AND QUASI-JUDICIAL AGENCIES.

THE TRACK RECORD OF YOUR OFFICE I AM INFORMED IS QUITE IMPRESSIVE AND ENCOURAGING.

AS OF 2011, SINCE 2007 WHEN REPUBLIC ACT 9406 WAS PASSED STRENGTENING THE PAO, YOU HAVE EXTENDED ASSISTANCE TO SOME 5.8 MILLION CLIENTS AND HAVE HANDLED SOME 680,000 CASES.

FOR YOUR WORK AND YOUR DETERMINATION, WE NOW CONSIDER YOU AS THE UNCOMPROMISING ALLIES AND PARTNERS OF POOR CITIZENS FOR JUSTICE.

ON THE OCCASION OF YOUR NATIONAL CONVENTION, I WISH FOR THE CONTINUED STRENGTH AND MORE TRIUMPHS AND VICTORIES FOR THE PUBLIC ATTORNEY’S OFFICE.

I AM CONVINCED THAT YOU HAVE SET A TRAIL BY WHICH OTHER CIVIC CONSCIOUS CITIZENS MUST FOLLOW.

ANG MGA MAHIHIRAP NATING MGA KABABAYAN KADALASAN SIMPLE LANG ANG MGA PANGARAP.

PANGARAP NILA ANG MAGKAROON NG MAGANDA AT TAHIMIK NA PAMUMUHAY SA ILALIM NG BATAS, SA ILALIM NG ISANG DEMOKRATIKONG LIPUNAN NA KUNG SAAN MAY TUNAY NA KATARUNGAN AT PANTAY-PANTAY PARA SA LAHAT.

PERO HINDI ITO MATUTUPAD HANGGA’T MAY MGA NAGHAHARING URI NA GUMAGAMIT NG SALAPI PARA MAKUHA AT PROTEKTAHAN ANG PANSARILING INTERES KAHIT NA ITO AY HINDI MAKATARUNGAN LALO NA LABAN SA MAHIHIRAP.

ITO ANG DAPAT NATING BAGUHIN SA MATUWID NA LANDAS AT NANGNGARAP TAYO NG PANAHON NA LAHAT NG PILIPINO AY TUNAY NA MABIBIGYAN NG HUSTISYA.

KAYO SA PUBLIC ATTORNEY’S OFFICE ANG NAKAKA-ALAM NG MGA KUWENTO NG KAHIRAPAN AT NG KAWALAN NG HUSTISYA. ITO ANG ILALAHAD NINYO SA LIPUNAN SA PAGTATANGGOL NG MGA KARAPATAN NG MAHIHIRAP SA HARAP NG BATAS.

AS PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN SAID IN HIS FIRST INAUGURAL SPEECH, AND I QUOTE, “WE HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO DREAM A HEROIC DREAM.”

I BELIEVE THAT OUR PUBLIC ATTORNEY’S OFFICE IS NOW PURSUING ITS RIGHT TO DREAM THAT HEROIC DREAM OF DISPENSING JUSTICE TRUE JUSTICE FOR ALL.

YOU HAVE ALSO GIVEN NEW LIFE AND MEANING TO WHAT MY IDOL PRESIDENT RAMON MAGSAYSAY, THE MAN OF THE MASSES,  WHEN HE SAID,  AND I QUOTE,  “THOSE WITH LESS IN LIFE MUST HAVE MORE IN LAW.”

HINDI YAN PLAGIARIZED HA!

MARAMING SALAMAT, MABUHAY AT MAGANDANG ARAW SA INYONG LAHAT!