For the longest time we were unable to visit the Hall of Justice building adjacent the Davao City Overland Transport Terminal at Ecoland. But without even anticipating about it we found ourselves setting foot on the building after we agreed to become godfather to a civil wedding of a son of a close friend of ours last Thursday, February 20.
In an earlier column we mentioned about the building’s many alleys converted into some kind of a bodega where files of documents were stocked on both sides. Yes, these were bundled and tied but most were bereft of containers or wrappers of sort to protect these from nature’s elements as well as from the destructive characteristics of some people.
But last Thursday we saw that the alleys appeared clean and orderly. But of course the document files – dead or perhaps semi-active – were still very much around. What make the alleys look nice to the human eyes is that the bundled files of documents were already orderly placed inside boxes and sacks well closed apparently to avoid from spilling over on the floor.
The boxes and sacks of documents are already properly piled up to give more space to people using the alleys on their way to or from the various judicial and prosecutorial offices inside the Hall of Justice building for whatever transaction they do there.
Of course we assume that the orderly placing of the document files inside boxes and sacks could be in preparation for the transfer of some of the judges’ salas and prosecutor’s offices to a new, large and spacious building that is now on its early stage of construction. We are certain that the new structure is provided with a large room where dead files as well as those involved in pending cases, could be stored until these are authorized for disposal.
So we cannot help but be happy about the improvement in the condition of the inside of the Hall of Justice building even if such is not enough to claim that it already meet the required convenience on a place where justice is to be dispensed.
But wait. We are somewhat carried by our emotion after discovering the relative orderliness in the justice hall. We are almost lost in the more important experience we had in our visit to the Hall last Thursday.
Yes, we did not expect that the officiating judge for the marriage where we were one of the male sponsors is a son of our idol law practitioner – Atty. Raul Tolentino Sr.
The judge is Hon. Ronald Tolentino, barely in his late 40s. He is so passionate in his responsibility as officiating officer that he consumed close to two hours to complete the ceremony. The wedding rites were barely 20 minutes. But Judge Ronald did not hesitate to spend more than one hour conducting some kind of a seminar-workshop for the two couples whose marriage he solemnized that day.
The way he discussed the various components of marriage was so engaging that even the witnesses could not help but learned from his lectures. The youthful judge even sought inputs from among those in the sala so as to enhance the ideas he gave to the couples.
Admitting that he is no expert in religion and is only well-versed on the law that governs marriages, in the last portion of the rites he still strongly invoked God to be the center of the couple’s relationship.
As to our own learning experience we realized that we had wished we had that kind of lecture during our wedding both in the civil and church ceremonies.
How happy we were that our knowledge of what marriage is was buttressed by Judge Tolentino’s sharing that it is a special contract for a permanent union between man and woman for the establishment of a conjugal and family life that is entered into by the parties in accordance with law.
Citing the Family Code of the Philippines Judge Ronald Tolentino put emphasis on marriage as a “contract between man and woman” only. Had there been members of the LGBT community witnessing the occasion they could have roared even if silently inside the court.
Judge Ronald’s lecture allowed us to be refreshed with the responsibilities of married couples. Very simple, according to the judge who was more professor than some others who claim they are in schools. These responsibilities are for the couple to: live together, observed mutual love, respect, and fidelity; and practice mutual help and mutual support.
Before he proceeded to the main rites, Judge Ronald admonished the couples, and in certain ways those who witnessed the occasion including us, that with any one of those responsibilities not being observed the marriage is bound to fail.
Indeed, Judge Ronald Tolentino is his father Raul’s son. Carry on Your Honor.
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