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इन अ लेगालेसे तंगले एंड स्त्रन्गले

In a legalese tangle and strangle

IF memory serves, filmmaker-turned-lawmaker Manuel “Lito” Lapid had crafted the measure that provides copies of court proceedings to a needy litigant who’ll likely bleed his pockets dry pursuing or defending his case… and who’ll likely get his brains tied in clots and knots over whatever such court documents purport to explain.

The language of truth is plain and homey as Marcellinus Ammianus would have it, but legalese can be as binding as a strangle of pubic hairs… why, common sense can hardly squeeze into that density, a train of thought wobbling with the weight of passengers crammed to the rafters, plied off as herd to the slaughter. Maybe, Ammianus was obliquely hinting that legalese is a vehicle for lies and mayhem. As we use words, words use us in turn.

And such usage that cloaks and chokes rather than sheds light cannot dispel the contempt that the man in the street feels toward the judiciary.

Case in point. On September 2010, Ricardo Silverio Jr. sold to Monica Ocampo for P180 million a parcel of land with improvements on 82 Cambridge Circle, Forbes Park, in Makati. Silverio and Ocampo drew up and executed a deed of absolute sale dated September 16, 2010—so the property now belongs to Ocampo.

Ocampo coughed up some more money to have the property registered in her name—to validate, stamp the legal imprimatur of ownership.

Afterward, Ocampo sold off her newly acquired property for P200 million— a January 12, 2011 deed of absolute sale set to full effect the transfer of ownership to the buyer, ZEE2 Resources, Inc. through the firm’s director Rebecca O. Caisip. Again, the firm went through the legal route and had the property duly registered in the name of ZEE2 Resources, Inc.

Here’s the spoiler: all it took was a court ruling to shove out Ocampo and ZEE2 Resources Inc. of legitimate hold on the multi-million peso property. Never mind the nobody who cranked up the ruling, we’re not out to trot out his name, give him 10-sec fame…

But that ruling ran roughshod on the niceties of the Torrens title system, even ran a steamroller on the Bill of Rights enshrined in the fundamental law of the land— “No man shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

What could the outfit do but beg the higher courts, hurl a wad of spittle or two at the, gasp, magistrate who honored the nation’s trenchant land registry system and the constitutionally sanctified Bill of Rights by evisceration?

Okay, ZEE2 has to spend some more hiring a battery of lawyers to go begging before the Court of Appeals to step in, do something about that magistrate’s questionable ruling… ah, the wheels of justice can grind s-o-o-o-o s-s-lo-o-w-w…

"A 9mm bullet travels around 1,500 feet per second. It will travel around 2,500 yards before it falls."

That 1991 testosterone chockful of a movie, “Stone Cold” that starred football star Brian Bosworth as violence-prone undercover cop, that was a huge yawn as arch villain Lance Henriksen who was on trial at the Supreme Court whips out a machine pistol and proceeds to perforate the necessary portions in the bodies of the high magistrates en banc… that was so, uh, b-a-a-a-d!

Sometimes, such a gore-splattered footage reels out like a fond dream in these parts where hoodlums in robes have the gall to hold justice in chains… and my barrister beer buddy who’s a senior partner at “The Firm” would have a laugh at this, mwa-ha-ha-haw!


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