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Great to be of service to the IBP Cebu City Chapter

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - June 10, 2021 - 12:00am

Lawyers are the most pressured professionals all the time and in all jurisdictions. They are mandated to go to school every year and update themselves on the latest law and Supreme Court decisions. Ignorance of the law excuses no one. But to lawyers and judges, ignorance of the law can be a ground for disbarment and for dismissal from the bench of all our magistrates who do not know the law.

It is thus my pride that for the last 20 years, I have been a teacher and a lecturer in fora and learning sessions, where I update my brethren on labor laws.

It was a very auspicious Saturday last week, June5,  when more than 300 lawyers attended the very successful MCLE or Mandatory Continuing Legal Education in compliance with Supreme Court requirements for lawyers to be updated on the latest state of the country's laws and jurisprudence. Kudos to IBP Cebu City Chapter president, Atty. Michelle Mendez-Palmares, a very articulate and brainy lady lawyer. The event was co-sponsored by the University of San Jose Recoletos School of Law, headed by the young and dynamic dean, Atty. Jonathan Capanas, and his vice dean, the beauty and brain, Atty. Ellaine Bathan. Well planned, well organized and perfectly executed. The participants were all praises to IBP Cebu City and to USJR.  There were many familiar names among the attendees, one of whom is Cebu's freedom fighter, Democrito "Mocring" Barcenas.

The whole activity started with a lecture by Atty. Maricris Bathan-Lasco, followed by Justice Pamela Maxino and Dean Rodel Taton. Atty. Eleanor Roque gave a lecture on Taxation, a subject that I hated too much, and which many of the lawyers do not really love. But the lecture was nice and easy to understand, and the questions were answered very effectively. My topic is the last because many always consider labor law as the poor cousin to Political Law and Civil Law. My favorite nephew who just passed the 2019 Bar, Atty. John Majed Ungab was attending and he told me that Labor Law is his Waterloo, both in law school and in the Bar. But my lecture inspired him to give this subject a second chance. Atty. Majed, actually made good grades in the Bar. I mentored him, I guided him and I was helping him all throughout the Bar. He is a fine young and promising Josenian lawyer, who is still a very eligible bachelor.

My two-hour lecture focused on Balancing the Scales of Social Justice at a Time of Pandemic, and Update on the latest labor laws and decisions by the Supreme Court. I discussed the decisions of Justice Marvic Leonen about a young female Cebuana who was subjected to a series of sexual harassment by her male immediate superior who stole kisses from her, touched her laps, pulled her bra and offered to help her future husband in making a baby. The failure of management to act on her complaint was interpreted by the High Court as a form of constructive dismissal. Even when she actually resigned, she was granted millions in backwages and moral damages as well as exemplary damages, attorney's fees with legal interests compounded annually.

There was another young girl who was working as a teller in a bank based in Mandaue City, who was illegally dismissed when she committed an error in counting two bags of peso bills amounting to P1.3 million used in purchasing a manager's check. The Supreme Court held that the bank was unjust in terminating her services after long years of service with no adverse record. Also a Cebuano aircraft maintenance engineer was illegally dismissed and the company failed to prove gross negligence. After getting millions in retirement from an airline company, he was awarded backwages and separation pay, in millions again from the aircraft maintenance firm. Lucky guy. The discussions were lively and each lawyer was smiling and giggling all throughout my lecture. I was happy to have served my own IBP chapter.

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