12 April 2011

Subic Freeport hosts biggest IBP convention

Some 2,000 lawyers from different chapters of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) across the country attended the organization’s three-day 13th national convention here, the biggest turnout so far in the history of the IBP.

The convention opened on Thursday at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC), with guests of honor that included Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senator Francis Escudero, former Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila president Adel Tamano, and Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Acosta.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator Armand Arreza, Zambales governor Hermogenes Ebdane, Jr., Zambales 1st District representative Mitos Magsaysay, and Olongapo City mayor James Gordon, Jr. welcomed the convention-goers, with Ebdane and Gordon turning over symbolic keys to Zambales and Olongapo City to IBP officials.

In his welcome remarks, Arreza noted that in all of the conferences and conventions that Subic has hosted, this convention had the most distinguished attendees. He also invited everyone to take the opportunity to enjoy the sights that Olongapo, Zambales and the Freeport has to offer.

Meanwhile, Binay, who is concurrent presidential adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Affairs and chairman of the inter-agency campaign against human trafficking, urged lawyers to be in the frontline of the war against illegal recruiters, stressing that if the evidence points to their guilt, the illegal recruiters should rot in jail.

“We can nip in the bud illegal recruitment and human trafficking by making laws that make them answer before the law,” Binay stressed.

He emphasized that illegal recruiters should not be let off the hook, and that the full force of law should be imposed on international drug traffickers.

Apart from calling on lawyers to fight illegal recruitment, Binay, who was recently sent to China to plead the case of three Filipinos convicted of drug trafficking, also urged lawyers to contribute their own share in the realization of the objectives of good governance.

For his part, Escudero reminded lawyers of the importance of their title. He said that lawyers are seen in society as respected individuals and that their every move is being watched.

He therefore urged lawyers to maintain the level of respect that they are being accorded with.

“Sana, sa inyong mga lugar at komunidad, gampanan natin ang papel na dapat gampanan natin, papel na dapat gampanan hindi lamang bilang Pilipino, hindi lamang bilang abogado, kundi ng isang Pilipinong abogado na nagmamahal sa kanyang bayan, sa pamamagitan ng kanyang salita at gawa (I hope that, in your communities, you do your role not just as a Filipino, not just as a lawyer, but as a Filipino lawyer who loves his country in words and action),” Escudero said.

He also challenged lawyers to help eradicate recurring social problems, such as corruption and human rights violation. Escudero is chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Meanwhile, Supreme Court administrator Jose Midas Marquez officiated the oath-taking of new chapter directors and officers during an induction ceremony held later that evening. (SBMA Corporate Communications)
PHOTO: Vice President Jejomar Binay (2nd from left) hands over to SBMA administrator Armand Arreza a statuette of the Lady of Justice in recognition of the agency’s support in the holding of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines 13th Convention held at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center in Subic Bay Freeport Zone. Also in photo are Roan Libarios(left), executive vice president and governor of the IBP, and retired Justice Santiago Kapunan, IBP officer in charge.