24 October 2011

First Time in a Regional Trial Court

The Manila City Hall where you will find the courts. Trials usually start at 8:30 a.m.

MONDAY,  I woke up early to meet my classmates at Manila City Hall. As one of the requirements in our subject Practice Court, we were required to render several hours of court visits. The requirement made a lot of sense to me as I haven't been to a court before. I don't know what a real court looks like nor how a case is really heard. I consider my self very fortunate to have been to a court, not everyone has been to a court. That's true even to some lawyers.

Inside the Manila City Hall, we had a hard time looking for the Regional Trial Court we were supposed to visit. "It should be somewhere here - third floor, but where is everyone?" We opened an old inconspicuous door and there it was! It was a room as jam-packed as an MRT on a rush hour.

Persecutor cross-examining the witness.

I was excited. I had been waiting for this moment for years. It was my first time to see how a Philippine court looked like. Judge, prosecutors, defense attorneys, family members, inmates, stenographers, evidences -- everything that I have been reading in books and cases were there right before my eyes. We observed the persecutor cross-examine the witness. There was tension in the air as the lawyer was trying to squeeze the truth out of a witness who herself wasn't sure of her answers.

I was seated beside an inmate ready to be sentenced for a crime. "Kuya" didn't mind me. He had his own business. I find a sense of security knowing that all inmates are handcuffed. I also noticed that the "witness stand" was an old dilapidated chair, which had probably been there since circa 60's (?) The Philippine flag at the background was old, you can tell that it hasn't been washed in years. Along sides were cabinets that seemed like lockers. There were also old unused papers lying on every corner. Without people, that room could easily be mistaken for a bodega.

Inmate waiting for his case to be called

Outside, just a few steps away, there was a room renovation going. I think they are furnishing a new court to replace the existing one. Thank goodness. Once complete, there should be a better venue to administer justice. With that said, they no longer have to used that "bodega," and oh, that hideous looking witness chair.


khantotantra said...

yung images, not the usual picture na pinapakita sa movies na malaking hall na grandyosong grandyoso.

maybe watching too much tv/movie doesnt help me see the real court room. hehehe.

cseamush said...

...and English parin ba ang medium ng communication sa trials?

I attended a hearing 2x before and sobrang pinipilit mag-English ng mga nasa trial, to the point na malabo at may miscommunication (na kelangan din naman i-Tagalog nung tumatagal na)

malayo talaga sa Pinoy movies, kung saan maganda ang courts, tapos full dramatic Tagalog ang proceedings pag sa pelikula, using terms like "nasasakdal", etc... (mabuti pa nga ata na Tagalog nalang para mas madali sa ordinaryong masa...ewan ko lang pano lalabas sa SCRA at pano nyo ida-digest yun bro)


Charles said...

that's a revelation. so tutoo nga yung napapanood ko sa mga old action films. sana nga magamit na yung new room for honor's sake.

gillboard said...

must be exciting. i wanted to be a lawyer before. loved watching lawyer shows like The Practice or Ally McBeal and even The Good Wife.

If only our justice system worked the way americans do, i may have considered taking up law.

tndcallphilippines said...

sounds pretty depressing, actually. not something i'd like to experience.

s said...

talaga pwede kumuha ng pictures habang may hearing?

sana upload ka pa ng madaming pictures

at yung mga natutunan mo sa law school

para ma-educate kami

kakatakot talaga

kasi may prob yung birth cert ko at need ko pa daw apela sa korte

kasi di daw typo error yun


kung ganyan ang itsura ng korte

parang lalo akong matatakot

atorni, wag ko na lang kaya pa correct yung NSO ko?


thanks for sharing

rah said...


Madali lang yang kaso mo :) petition lang yan to correct errors. Simpleng hearing lang yan. Hassel nga lang dahil gagastos ka pa ng abugags para ilakad yan. Mabilis lang yan. Kailangan mo lang patunayan na "ikaw nga yan" hehe

sweet pea said...

haha..grabe naman. manila RTC kasi to. ive been to other courts..maganda naman. panget lang sa manila talga..:D

Zhurutang said...

. . . ahehe, dati ni-try ko na kumuha ng photo sa loob ng isang korte sa san pablo city. in'acknowledge ako ng judge bigla at napagalitan. kakahiya- buti pa sa manila, pwede?

rah said...

@zhurutang... not sure kung pwede. Stolen shots lang nakuha ko. Good thing hindi ako inacknowlege. hehehe.

Layla said...

reminds me of my ojt in college! QC RTC ako...it's very cramped! pero parang mas maluwag pa ata yung sa court na iyan.

rah said...

@ layla, it seems maraming courts dito sa pilipinas ang cramped. I believe pyschologically, it affects how he officers of the court administers justice. Sa loob ng ganitong court, mabagal ang galaw ng mga tao. Kaya siguro mabagal din ang paggalaw ng justisya sa pinas. Kungg nakikita lang sana to ni Lady justice. Bakit nga ba kasi, naka cover ang mata niya? hehe

archer dee said...

Litigation is far from glamorous, as the media portrays it to be. Even the wheels of justice in our country turn ever so slow, compared to that in the United States. The only difference is, lawyers in this country still argue and appeal before a judge, while in the US, a judge has no hand in dispensing justice. In a nutshell, theatrics before the jury can go a long way in the US.

As for the appearances of our courts, the ones in the City of Manila are better than their Malabon counterparts! But that doesn't mean that justice is denied. There are still judges who keep true to the ideals of justice.