Thursday, March 12, 2009

My First Client(s)


I missed classes to save my friends. I didn't really teach them the legal stuff. I taught them more about human relations and interactions with law enforcement agents (I am the first-born child of a police officer, after all, which makes me the most experienced).

Received a text message that said: Gp.nahuli kami.punta ka d2.dali.

I answered: San kyo?

Reply: grandstand (referring to the grandstand of the UP Sunken Garden).

I immediately went there, and I soon learned that my friends from undergrad were caught smoking pot by the Special Service Brigade (SSB for brevity).

To hide their true identity, I shall call the people involved by codenames. The students caught smoking were Marcos, Denver, Champoy, Byron, Airwalk, and Superstar, the only female in the group.

It seems that these students were smoking pot in the middle of the Sunken Garden, but no pot was actually found in their possession. All the SSB had was an unmistakeable lingering odor of marijuana and a couple of red-eyed kids. They were apprehended by two SSB agents, who we shall call B1 and B2.

When I got to the grandstand, Marcos was already conversing with B1. Among those caught smoking, Marcos was the most experienced, and he already knew what to do. So I let him be. Denver, however, was a little rattled, and kept whispering to me, "Geeps, pa'no to?"

I assured him, "Wala 'yan. Makakaalis din kayo mamaya."

Denver asked me, "Gaano pa katagal, man, kanina pa kami dito."

I looked at B2, and jokingly told him, "Ser, baka pwedeng sorry na lang, hahaha."

Champoy looked at me strangely, wondering how in the world I could manage to make a joke like that at a time like this. But that was part of my strategy, to let the SSB agents loosen up a bit.

Surprisingly, B2 answered, "Naku, hinihingi ko nga ID nila kanina e, ayaw nga ipakita e."

I looked at everyone and told them, "Bakit 'di niyo pinakita ID niyo? Titignan lang naman nila kung enrolled kayo e, para siguradong estudyante kayo ng UP. 'Di ba ser?"

B2 replied, "Oo, mga estudyante pala kayong lahat e. Sinu-sino pa ba magtutulungan dito?"

Lesson #1: SSB agents are nicer to bona fide students. Most offenses you get caught doing will be mitigated by the fact that you are enrolled.

Marcos approached us after talking for a long time with B1. "OK na pare, kakausapin nalang 'yung brod ko. Pero pupunta pa raw 'yung Team Leader nila." (referring to the Team Leader of the SSB agents B1 and B2.)

So while waiting, I decided to go and talk to B1 and B2. To get them on our side.

(points to me) Kasama ba 'to sa mga positive?

Hindi kasama 'yan.

Hindi ako kasama, pero kaibigan ko ang mga 'yan.

(to the ones caught smoking) Ser, itigil niyo na kasi 'yan e. Idol pa naman namin kayo. Kayo ang mga susunod na presidente ng Pilipinas.

Oo nga ser, 'di ba. Mainit pa naman ngayon ang Alabang Boys, kaya dapat mag-ingat sa mga ganyan.

Oo nga, tama 'yun, blah-blah-blah...

Lesson #2: Appeal to the human side.

These people are not the enemy. They are not monsters. They are people, with feelings, and hence, can be manipulated.

Team Leader then arrives. I tell Marcos to keep it at the same level, and apparently he already knows this.

Lesson #3: Keep it within the same level.

If we cannot settle this on the SSB level, they will take it to the UP Police. After the UP Police, still without settlement, they take you then to the Quezon City Police. So as long as we still had it on the SSB level, we had to make sure it stayed on that level only. Do everything you can to keep it from reaching the UP Police.

Then the Team Leader talks to Marcos, whose fraternity brother was the head of the SSB. They are able to reach a compromise, and they call for me.

Geeps, gawa ka raw ng promissory note, na hindi na raw natin uulitin 'to.

Ano, affidavit?

(points to me and explains to Team Leader) Kaibigan kasi namin 'to taga-College of Law.

A talaga? Misis ko nandiyan, sa Library nagtratrabaho, si Ma'am Trixie.

Sa second floor ho?

A hindi, sa baba siya e.

O sige ano isusulat ko?

Basta isulat mo diyan na atin-atin na lang 'to tsaka hindi niyo na uulitin.

A sige alam ko na.

Lesson #4. The name "UP LAW" carries so much weight that the law students sometimes take it for granted that they are studying in the best law school in the country.

And so I drafted something really quick for my friends to sign.

We, the undersigned, do acknowledge that we were apprehended by the Special Service Brigade this night, the 11th of March, 2009, at the UP Sunken Garden, for unruly behavior and loitering after curfew hours.

We were let off with a stern warning that repetition of said incident would result in strict disciplinary action in accordance with the rules of the University.

There. Not one mention of marijuana. Everyone signed it with their name and student number. I even volunteered to sign my name as witness, as a sign of good will to my friends.

Lesson #5. Never leave your friends/clients. They will rely on you to see them safely through the whole ordeal.

After that, they let us off the hook. It still cost my friends around P500, I think. Still, it's better than going to the police, right?

I kept saying "Thank you" to the SSB men involved, including their team leader. They were really nice after that.

Lesson #6. Never stop saying thank you. It boosts their ego.

Before leaving, I tried my hand at one more joke. I told them, "Ayan, mga ser, 'di ba may Alabang Boys? Eto naman po ang mga Diliman Boys."

Everybody laughed, both the potheads and the SSB guys.

You'll know it's a happy ending when everybody laughs.


  1. Lesson # 7 (from my own "first" case): Crying works. -- D.R.