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Wednesday, January 27, 2010


A door behind the wood-topped steel table slides open. A middle-age balding man in black robe emerges.

“Kindly all stand. The session will now begin. You are ordered to observe silence.” The announcement is electronic: there are around ten coin-size buttons that dot the wide ceiling where the electronic sound has come from.

Inside the brightly-lit hall, around ten people are gathered. Their eyes are fixed on the robed man who is now behind the table. Atop the table is an inch-high wire-thin microphone standing in the middle, a steel gavel resting on a small round two-inch steel plate, and some buttons located on the right side of the robed man.

Grasping the gavel, the robed man quickly eyes the crowd. He motions the crowd to sit and releases the gavel in front of him. He sits down and presses a button. Instantly, another electronic announcement fills the hall. “Scheduled for trial today is Case No. 200001-2102. People of the Philippines vs. Jonelli Martido. For the crime of rape.” Slowly, a 15-inch monitor opens up and rises near the right corner of the robed man’s table...

[Note: Read the complete story in the book "You Filibini?" Stories and Other Writings by Amador F. Brioso, Jr., published May 2010]

Sunday, January 24, 2010


“All right, we need to do this real slow and thorough. We have to perfect your testimony in time for next week’s hearing so that we’ll have smooth sailing.”

“OK, attorney.”

“OK, now, let’s assume you’re in front of the judge. I’ll be asking you questions based on what you have told me before. OK, let’s start. Oh, by the way, I’ll dispense with the preliminaries. I’ll ask questions that delve directly with your cause of action. Meaning, the matter or the very substance of what your case is all about. Understand?”

“OK, attorney.”

“OK. First question: ‘Madam witness, for how long you’ve been married with your husband, the respondent in this case?’”

“Well, we’ve been, uh, married for ten years now.”

“OK, then I’ll show you your marriage certificate. You’ll have to identify it. When I show this paper in front of your face, just say, ‘That’s our marriage contract.’”

“OK, that’s our marriage contract, attorney.”

“No, don’t mention ‘attorney.’ You have to say, ‘That’s our marriage contract, Your Honor.’ You are speaking before the judge, not to me, understand?”

“Oh, sorry, attorney. OK, I’ll always say, ‘Your Honor.’”

“Good. Now, to continue: ‘Madam witness, did you have any children during your marriage?’”

“Yes, attor—err, Your Honor. We have five children.”

“OK, I’ll show you your children’s birth certificates. The same thing, identify them. Now, to continue. ‘Tell us, madam witness, how would you describe your marriage with your husband?’”

“We’ll I would say that during the nine years that we’ve been married, it has been a happy marriage, and…”

“No, no, no, Mrs. Cruz. Don’t say that. How would you expect the judge to act on your petition to annul your marriage? You want your marriage annulled, and now you’re saying your marriage is a happy one?”



[Note: Read the complete story in the book "You Filibini?" Stories and Other Writings by Amador F. Brioso, Jr., published May 2010]