Time to get off from legal work

DANDAN BANTUGAN COLUMN

Everytime that there is a seminar for the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE), lawyers found it an avenue for anything.
Just like today, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Bohol chapter will hold an MCLE seminar at the Bohol Tropics Resort for four straight days until Saturday. This will be a full 36-unit course for the fifth MCLE compliance.
However, we heard that some IBP Bohol members are not joining because they already completed their fifth MCLE compliance already.
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Four our part, we do not have any other recourse but to attned the same as we have some deficiencies in the past MCLE seminars as we joine some of the bad boys who came to the seminar late or went outside of the seminar venue and do something else.
The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) has issued a memorandum to all court personnel including the judges and clerks of courts to join the seminar and this will be considered as part of their official time.
In the past, our company will also skip some of the lectures as we concentrate on knight of the four corners. Some laywers are also into the game cards.
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This situation usually occurs especially if the MCLE is being conducted by the University of the Philippines (UP) Law Center which was quite relaxed as far as the attendance of lawyers to the MCLE is concerned.
But if the MCLE seminar is being conducted by the MCLE staff themselves, just the like the one being held today, expect the worst case scenario as they are very strict with the attendance.
We are always treated as if we were criminals.
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Anyway, Atty. Ted Lagang, president of IBP Bohol, told yours truly that the MCLE seminar starting today will also accept senior law students and lawyers from other provinces who have to catch with up with the fifth compliance period.
Be that as it may, lawyers usually took their time off today from their legal works. While some, especially those coming from the towns, will use this situation as a valid excuse for whatever personal reasons for their trip to the city.
We have just one advice for them, just be sure to be present at the seminar venue before the start of the lectures or immediately before it ends. Otherwise, the MCLE staff will not issue your certificates of compliance as a pre-requisite to Bar Matter No. 850.
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Well, it does not come as a surprise to us if we see judges bringing their case folders during the MCLE seminar and write their decisions while attending the activity.
The same is true for prosecutors and lawyers who also bring their case folders in order to take advantage of their time while joing the seminar. Some practising lawyers also use the opportunity to socialize and renew their camaraderie in the local legal circle.
This despite that we know that some of them do not have their certificate of compliance of the MCLE after all. They just go there to make their presence being felt by those in the bar.
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However, we wish to point out that the MCLE seminar is not an exercise in futility. New jurisprudence and court rulings are being discussed there and renew a lawyer’s desire to study more about the law.
There are lawyers who just take the MCLE seminar for granted and rather continue the works in their law offices while being at the MCLE seminar. They just wanted to enjoy being having their cake and eat it too.
For us, joining the MCLE is an obligation and a commitment that indeed learning is a never ending process.
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POSTSCRIPT: For comments and suggestions and non-violent reactions, just email to [email protected]

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