Courtroom Visit

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My first visit to court proved to be an exciting and tiring hunt for the right courtroom that would admit and let in spectators. And later, a highly edifying two hours. After combing through all the staff and court rooms in all the levels in the Hall of Justice in QC and being spooked by the detainees in yellow who to me seemed like barbarians, we finally found one. About time. The hearing, which turned out to ex parte, had only just begun. The case we witnessed concerned an IT company (the plaintiff, also the one presenting in this hearing) demanding for the return of a Php1.1 M printer that had been sold 10 months ago which had finally broken down. At first, only the counsel, Atty. Lozada, who was in a pristine white barong, dominated the dialogue in the room, with occasional grunts and clipped answers from the judge (if I remember correctly). He was getting documents listed as exhibit this and that, appealing that each original copy be compared with photocopied ones. I smiled as the first witness got sworn in before the judge, as to my thinking this scene has always been reserved only for something I’d get to see in television. Two of the court staff stayed at a lower desk, one taking notes, the other assisting in confirming the authenticity of the document. At first it was hard to understand what this was for and why the rest of the proceedings went on as they did and so I just stayed there with my neck craned forward in a futile attempt to catch the witnesses’ barely audible voices, my eyes wide as they took in the festive Christmas decorations still attached to the wall, the deceptively relaxed posture of the judge. As the case progressed though and more familiar words like chattel mortgage started to get strewn into the exchange (I found myself nodding at this), it was easier to relax. And I was surprised to realize how much I enjoyed watching. This hearing had its highs and lows. It started slow, starting with the presentment of all the...
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