Pacquiao offers free lawyers for ‘laglag-bala’ victims, blasts Palace’s non-sympathy

Photo Credit: Ball Junkie/Philippine Daily Inquirer
  • Boxer says he has a team of lawyers who can provide help to victims of the scam
  • Palace should really care more about solving the cases even if they’re “isolated”
  • OFWs are modern-day heroes, they should not be treated like this, he adds

MANILA, Philippines – At this point, Manny Pacquiao is arguably doing a better job handling the ‘laglag-bala’ fiasco than Malacañang Palace — and that’s saying something.

On Saturday, the boxing superstar and representative of Sarangani announced he had set up a team of lawyers who would be offering free legal assistance to those caught up in the scam.

“I have assigned a team of lawyers that will render free assistance,” he told Sun Star. “Those who have been victimized and who want to avail of free services may contact lawyer Jojo Bondoc at 09209211162.”

Aside from providing free legal aid, Pacquiao also called on the Palace to take swift and concrete steps to solve the problem especially as it is affecting lots of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“This kind of modus is destroying not only the image of our country but also the honor and dignity of our innocent OFWs and others who have been victimized as well,” he said.

The boxer then cited the case of Gloria Ortinez, the Hong Kong-bound domestic helper who was held last Sunday after a bullet was discovered inside her bag as proof that people will inevitably suffer if the government doesn’t do something drastic.

“She was set free, but can she still regain her reputation which was destroyed?” he asked. “Will she still have a job waiting for her? Who’s going to pay for the damage to her name?”

Pointing to Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma’s earlier nonchalant statement about the cases being isolated, Pacquiao said the government nonetheless is obliged to protect the riding public against unscrupulous airport personnel.

“We should prioritize and focus on finding a solution to this problem regardless if the cases are isolated or not,” he said.

A Day for Spreading Love to Lawyers Everywhere

In case you didn’t know, Friday is “Love Your Lawyer Day” — yeah, it’s a thing apparently, and has been for the past 15 years.

This is the first year, however, that the day has been recognized by the American Bar Association Law Practice Council, which passed a resolution in late October to recognize the special day on the first Friday of each November going forward.

All of this was just announced by the American Lawyer Public Image Association, a non-profit that claims to be the only organization dedicated to promoting the positive public image of lawyers.

Founded in 2000 by Nader Anise, a legal marketer, the group is the driving force behind Love Your Lawyer Day, in which everyone around the world is encouraged to post photos and comments on Twitter, with the hash tag, #LoveYourLawyerDay, professing their deep love for lawyers.

Already, the hash tag is being used by various bar associations, lawyers and legal journalists.

“The reality is that lawyers are, for the most part, vilified in our society,” said Anise. “This day is about recognizing them, appreciating them and thanking them.”

As part of the day, Anise is calling upon everyone to refrain from uttering any “lawyer-bashing” jokes — violators must be fined $20 to donate to a charity of their choosing.

“Why are lawyers any different from other people?” said Anise. “I know people don’t think they have feelings, but you know, they can get their feelings hurt, too.”

Read below for more from the ABA resolution:

WHEREAS, Lawyers have consistently been the target of verbal bashing, derogatory portrayals and literature is rife with lawyer bashing dated back hundreds of years; and

WHEREAS, A 2013 Pew Research Center survey found lawyers last among ten professional categories for “contributions to society”;

WHEREAS, According to a 2014 Gallup survey, the public perception of lawyers on honesty and ethics is an unsatisfactory 21%; and…

WHEREAS, The portrayal of lawyers in American popular culture, including on television and cinema, is largely negative, which promotes a negative stereotype of lawyers in society…

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ENACTED by the American Bar Association Law Practice Division Council:

SECTION 1. The first Friday of November be recognized and celebrated as “Love Your Lawyer Day”, a day for the public to celebrate lawyers and express their gratitude to them for their affirmative contributions to the public good and the administration of justice.

SECTION 2. Lawyers throughout the nation are urged to celebrate “Love Your Lawyer Day” to help promote a positive and more respected image of lawyers and their contributions to society and that they do so by providing pro bono legal services to their communities and supporting charitable causes that promote the administration of justice.

(UPDATED: This post has been updated to correct the date ALPIA was founded. It was founded in 2000.)