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PRACTICE COURT

(1st Sem. S.Y. 2018-2019)

COURT VISIT
MTC Manila Branch 21

Submitted by:
JANINA E. LUCAS

Submitted to:
ATTY. TED FERNANDEZ

UNIVERSITY OF THE EAST-MANILA


College of Law
“Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers. It may not be difficult to store up in the mind a vast
quantity of facts within a comparatively short time, but the ability to form judgments requires the
severe discipline of hard work and the tempering heat of experience and maturity.”
-Calvin Coolidge

Knowledge and expertise in the field of law is derived from two things: Theory and practice. During

the early years of a law student, one is trained to master the law by reading laws, jurisprudence and

annotated books from different authors who are expertise in their fields. This is how one could

understand, analyze and digest each and every doctrine and provision there is in the law. Through the

years, a student of law gains these knowledge in order to be prepared for the bar. To be able to answer

each and every question and to pass the most grueling test of his or her life.

But what about after passing the bar? What happens when you finally see your name on the list of bar

passers and everyone is already calling you an Attorney? Does it stop there after one conquered the

bar examinations? Is one fully prepared to face the profession right away? Probably the answer is no.

One can never be overly confident to say that they are immediately ready to be a lawyer. Lawyering

entails a lot of knowledge and skills. The College of law already prepared you for the former, but one

should also be prepared for the later.

They say experience is the best teacher. It is true no matter how cliché this might be. In this field that

we are striving to be in, experience really matters. Practice court might be one of the best “teachers”

that a law student can have to experience what lawyering is all about. Of course lawyering is not limited

to the four corners of the court room or litigation. But I believe that litigation is the heart or core of

the practice of law. Therefore, one must be adept with the procedures in court and how it is in actuality.
When it was time to visit a court for this assignment, I was actually excited. It was not a first time for

me to be in a court since I did my on-the-job-training in the Public Attorney’s Office, but just the

same it felt like it was the first time and it still exhilarates me.

The court visit started early morning. We went to the Municipal Trial Court of Manila and observed

the court proceedings in the Sala of Presiding Judge Ana Teresa T. Cornejo-Tomacruz. As expected

there were several people waiting in the hallway. Some have serious faces and others remained cool

while chit chatting with each other. We checked the calendar of cases posted next to the court door.

There were 33 cases scheduled that day. Upon entering the court door, the room was already almost

full. There were vacant seats in front so Atty. Sharmagne Binay (PAO lawyer) greeted us and invited

us to be seated in front row.

Everyone seems to be busy including Public Prosecutor Tan Chua Cheng, the PAO lawyer Atty. Binay

who just recently took over Branch 21, branch Clerk of Court, Court stenographer, Court Legal

Researcher and other Court staff. As much as we wanted to record the entire court proceedings,

unfortunately we were not allowed to do so. Hence, we just observed the proceedings and have taken

some notes on the cases.

Since the court we visited was a Municipal Trial Court, most of the cases involves violations against

certain ordinances of Manila. A bulk of the case line up is about Ordinance No. 5555 which is drinking

in public places. Most of the people involved in this violation are younger ones, one of the defendant

in one of the case has even just turned 18 and after 2 days was already violating such ordinance. These

cases about Ordinance 5555 was mostly set for arraignment and preliminary conference. Most of them

have pleaded guilty to a lesser offense and opted to pay the minimal penalty for the offense.
In most of the cases, I have observed that either the defendant or the plaintiff is absent. The Judge

reiterated the importance of attending and coming to the court when one is subpoenaed. In those

cases, the judge in some case has caused for another notice to be sent. In one case when it was

confirmed that there was no specific address, he ordered the case to be sent to archives pending the

submission of complete or correct address. It is also worthy to note the importance of having correct

names on the official document. In case No. 14 People vs. Reden Mina y Geli, the name of the accused

was amended. The accused was present in court at the time. The information was read to him for

violating Ordinance 7498. The PAO lawyer was appointed Counsel de Officio. The accused pleaded

guilty and paid the fine.

The case People vs. Johnny Emit Sy is a Slight Physical Injuries case where the defendant pleaded not

guilty. The information was read in Tagalog. Since the accused appeared without counsel, the PAO

lawyer appeared as Counsel de Officio. The Private Attorney for the Complainant was advised to

provide the Court Authority to prosecute.

In the case of People vs. Edison Santos which is for violation of PD 1602 or Illegal Gambling, we are

able to witness an actual presentation of witnesses and evidences in the Court. The Prosecution

presented two witness who are the two police officers who were present in the operation. The

prosecution also presented the evidence which is the money used in betting and was obtained by the

police officer during the said operation. This was actually the last case before the Judge adjourned.

In conclusion, the court visit was a fruitful one. I have learned a lot of things on how the court operates

and how cases are heard and tried in an actual Court. I have also learned a lot from the prosecutor

and the PAO lawyer. Truly it was an amazing experience which inspired me and reminded me of why

I wanted to become a lawyer.