CELLA, IBP Cebu chapters elect new officers

BAR NONE - Atty. Ian Vincent Manticajon - The Freeman

Congratulations to the new officers of IBP Cebu City Chapter and IBP Cebu Chapter! Congratulations also to the new officers of the Cebu Lady Lawyers Association, Inc. (CELLA)!

Last Saturday, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) held elections for new officers across its different chapters nationwide. In Cebu, the two chapters --Cebu City and Cebu Province-- elected as their president Atty. Rosendo Hernaez III and Atty. Michael Francis Hubahib, respectively.

Incidentally, Hernaez and Hubahib are also both members of the Young Lawyers Association of Cebu, Inc. (YLAC). This bodes well for the two IBP chapters, with their young and dynamic officers at the helm, ready to offer innovative solutions to address the challenges currently facing the legal profession.

May the two young leaders of the IBP in Cebu, along with their officers, be blessed as they undertake their important role of providing the essential support that Cebu lawyers need to effectively carry out their duties and maintain the integrity of the profession.

On Friday, February 24, CELLA made history by electing Atty. Regal Oliva, the country's first transgender woman president of a women lawyers’ organization. My good friend Atty. Cecilia “Jugce” B. Jugao-Adlawan shared with me excerpts from Oliva's acceptance speech at the Casino Español on V. Ranudo St., Cebu City, and I must say, it was truly captivating.

Entitled “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants,” here’s a portion of Oliva’s speech: “Today, I made history to have been elected as the first Transgender Woman President of the Cebu Lady Lawyers Association Inc. I take pride in sharing this long line of leadership to empowered women who came to lead and serve before me in making this organization as formidable as it is today.

“I thank the women in the Board for accepting the challenge of serving with me in the next biennium. I owe it much to you on whatever success we reap, and I share the burden of the responsibility to address our advocacies to reach more women in our communities, alleviate their causes, and always look to the most deprived societies. All for the lost, the least, and the last.”

Oliva has held positions as the president of the IBP Cebu City Chapter from 2019 to 2021 and as the deputy governor for the Eastern Visayas Region of the IBP from 2021 to the present.

Joining Oliva in CELLA’s 2023-2025 Board of Officers are lawyers Georgie Herrera-Klepp, external vice president; Mary Grace Hermosa-Casano, internal vice president; Jizza Raagas, secretary; Elizabeth Reyes, treasurer; Angelica Fernandez-Dumon, auditor, Lalaine Esmeralda-Salve, PRO; and Hazel Dapitan-Espina, Tercel Maria Mercado-Gephart, Rhea Senining-Judilla, Mary Rose Salvatiera-Lubino, Niva Costanilla-Villamor, as directors.

I believe that there are three critical issues that Philippine lawyers face today. Even a handful of lawyers facing significant danger to their life is unacceptable, and unfortunately, many previous incidents of violence against lawyers have remained unsolved.

The second critical issue is the increasing role of technology in the legal profession. Today’s lawyers need to adapt to new tools and platforms, especially with AI or artificial intelligence already in the scene and its exponential improvements looming on the horizon. To stay relevant, we can focus on skills and expertise that make us uniquely valuable to our clients.

The third critical issue is access to justice. Despite efforts to make legal services more accessible, many of our people still face barriers to accessing legal services, particularly those from marginalized communities. As a new generation of lawyers emerges, it is essential that they not only prioritize pro bono work, but also work towards strengthening our legal institutions and promoting a just and equitable society.

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