President's Message
Atty. Benedicta Du-Baladad Message from the President:

Benedicta Du-Baladad

To FINEX members and friends,

PRESIDENT’S REPORT
July 2017 Issue

Last June 21, in celebration of the Philippine Independence, we had two of the country’s prime-movers of arts and culture. Arch. Paulo Alcazaren shared with us the relevance of national heritage conservation, and Direk Joel Lamangan on the state of the local film industry and how it is developing as an art. Our June GMM was a diversion from our usual topics.

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SIMILARITIES BETWEEN LAWYERS AND JOURNALISTS
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Zoilo By: Zoilo "Bingo" P. Dejaresco III

MANILA BULLETIN (Business Option)
August 10, 2017

SIMILARITIES BETWEEN LAWYERS AND JOURNALISTS

Business Option is a rotating column of members of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines appearing every Tuesday & Thursday in Manila Bulletin, business section.



The 3,747 successful new lawyers for 2016 with a passing rate of 59% was the highest ever in bar history. It is heartening to see a new batch of young, idealistic lawyers etch their mark for society's common good.

For they have certain similarities with journalists.

Lawyers and journalists, for instance, often find a common ground in their collective search for "Truth and Justice" while buffeted by similar forces in the dark corners that militate against their quest for a just and humane society. There are other uncanny similarities between them.

True-blue lawyers and journalists respect the sanctity of truth. To them, the truth is indivisible. Take away one part of it - and it becomes a half truth. And a half-truth is a half-lie. And there is nothing sacred with that.

Both need to swing their audience to their points of view. Journalists woo and court public opinion while lawyers want a favorable decision from their judge. While lawyers can appeal their losing case to the higher courts, once the journalists lose their credibility- they will lose in the court of public opinion - irreversibly.

Both rely on the power of words. King Solomon said in the Holy Bible:"Death and life are in the power of the tongue." And we might add- in the power of the written words, as well.

Journalists and lawyers know that words have power and energy, In fact, they agree that words -singularly- are the most powerful force available for the use of humanity.

Both lawyers and journalists are in perilous livelihood. With so much at stake, many in the legal profession -in the field of duty- have been maimed, blackmailed or killed

A staunch environmentalist -lawyer, for instance, Mia Mascarinas- Green was murdered inside her car -in front of her horrified children and nanny in February. It took almost five months to accost the high profile murder mastermind in Lloyd Lancer Gonzaga (34) in Davao City. The suspected hit-man named Romarico Binagi-an remains at large.

Media men are in the same boat. Despite our pervasive Christianity and democracy, some 176 media men have been murdered according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) with a very low percentage of resolution.

After 7 years, the poster boy of mass media killings in the Maguindanao massacre (32 dead) has no single conviction yet although many are in jail facing trial. The alleged murder masterminds of journalist Marlene Esperat of the Midland Review in 2005 (11 years ago) are reportedly still at large.

Both institutions- the legal and journalism professions- are the "Great Equalizers" in society. Media provide voice to the voiceless, defense to the weak and as a Fourth Estate, is necessarily adversarial to the powers-that-be.

Lawyers give the citizens the option to seek redress of grievances in a forum outside the cruel world out there- where only the powerful, the rich and those with guns dictate what the law is.

For journalists, freedom of the press and expression is a birth right enshrined in our Bill of Rights. Lawyers, on the other hand, cite the Bill of Rights in trying to stop the excesses of government to oppress the common citizenry.

Authentic journalists know that like public officials -when they are engaged in discourse and programs that concern the public like corruption and inefficiency - they also assume the nature of a public persona. Being such, the public has a stake in their lives and has the right to know if they have the character and integrity to have the right to criticize others and make them do good.

Lawyers and journalists both pay homage to transparency, accountability, and the supremacy of the rule of law. Lawyers owe their primordial allegiance not only to their clients but also have an obligation to society and the courts.

With respect to the client-agent relationship, even information relayed to lawyers before their engagement will remain a guarded secret in the minds of lawyers -even if the engagement does not materialize. Journalists, on the other hand, have a sacred duty to serve the cause of truth and public welfare. Not even the Supreme Court can force a journalist to reveal the source of his story.

Both practitioners adhere to the supremacy of the moral truth. They are supposed to adhere to moral absolutism -where "moral truth is there- whether people will believe it or not." As contrasted to belief in "moral relativism" which treats truth as subjective. And as it is always questioned: if all morality is subjective- what is the point of making a stand against evil?

Moral truth practitioners make their decisions and actions based on what is right and not on self-interest. Because when self-interest rules - "this has a profound effect on their behavior especially on how they treat human beings.".

Thus, moral truth is betrayed when a journalist twists his facts in exchange for thirty pieces of dirty silver. A lawyer commits the same when he is a party to paying judge a bribe in order to corrupt the latter's judgment.

Thus, we enjoin all committed lawyers and journalists to continue to uphold "Veritas Aequitas" - Truth and Justice- in their societal work. They are needed by society to provide the integrative force that will combat the human tendencies of the world towards materialism, domination of the weak and the greed for unmitigated power.

They should remain as society's "Great Equalizers."

Necessarily, there will be reactionaries that will provide barriers that serve to impede rather than assist them in realizing their societal goals. They should not falter, they should not walk into the darkness and die. For they are to a noble purpose born-and they will succeed.

It has been said that there are two most important dates in our lives. First, is the day we were born. And second, is the day when we find out why we were born.

It is our hope that in becoming new lawyers have found the second most important day in their lives. Shalom!

( Bingo Dejaresco, a former banker, is a financial consultant, media practitioner, and book author. A Lifetime member of Finex, he is Chair of both Finex' Professional Development and Broadcast Media committees. His views here, however, are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of Finex. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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