Before this assignment, I never even knew where Philippine court was or how it looked like. I had this image of a large colonial building with an imposing facade, smartly dressed lawyers racing to their destinations and the gripping tension as the fate of human lives hung in the balance. It was, quite embarrassingly in retrospect, the romantic Hollywood view in my head. The first time we went to court was to check the schedule of proceedings. It was around 5 pm then. We didn’t really know where it was so we just wandered around the city hall area. Eventually, we were greeted by an old stone structure that was reminiscent of a jail with the sounds of aerobic dancing incongruently emanating from it. It was an odd picture to say the least. In my head I was thinking, “So this is the Philippine justice system?” We asked the guard on duty where we could find the schedule of hearings. He said they were posted in front of the court rooms but not until the day of the hearing itself. Ah, great. It wasn’t a totally fruitless journey though, at least we found out where court was.
Two days later, we set out to finally see what a court room hearing really was – and what a journey it was! On my way to court in the morning, I was met by the usual metropolitan traffic. It would’ve been fine if I wasn’t already running late. When I finally got to the city hall, parking turned out to be a pain. I’ve been scouting the area for a while when I finally chanced upon an empty space. After braving the perils of parallel parking, some guy looking for parking said it was reserved for him, the hotshot lawyer. Who was he kidding? I got there first, there was no name on it and it was public property after all! I was late, it was raining and I had no umbrella; he wasn’t going to get any concessions from me. Well, fine, I moved my car a bit so he could squeeze in.
After getting lost inside the building (because apparently, the room numbers are different from the actual court room...
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