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José Escaler, lawyer extraordinaire

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It’s a pity that nowadays, it’s almost impossible to find a principled lawyer made from genuine intellectuality such as José Escaler of Pampanga. What we have instead are unprincipled lawyers molded from genuine lies.

It’s also a shame that the glory brought by this illustrious Pampangueño to his fellow Cabalens would years later be tainted by the arrival of perhaps the most corrupt president this archipelago has ever known.

Today we commemorate his birth anniversary. Below is a brief biographical sketch of this lawyer extraordinaire from Apalit, Pampanga. It was written by Héctor K. Villaroel (from the 1965 book Eminent Filipinos which was published by the National Historical Commission, a precursor of today’s National Historical Institute).

JOSÉ ESCALER
(1885-1927)

José Escaler, intellectual, lawyer, industrialist, and businessman, was born in Apalit, Pampanga, on January 19, 1885, the eldest of six children of Manuel Escaler and Sabina Sioco.

He obtained his early education from private tutors; afterwards, he studied at San Juan de Letrán, where he finished his segunda enseñanza at the head of his class in 1897. His studies were briefly interrupted during the Revolution. When peace was restored, he studied at the Liceo de Manila, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree with highest honors in 1903. In 1905, he earned his Bachelor of Laws from the Escuela de Derecho at the head of his class; after which he left for the United States and Europe and studied briefly at Yale and Oxford universities. In 1909, he returned to the Philippines and took and passed the bar examinations.

In recognition of his educational attainment, he was elected president of the Philippine Columbian Association for several terms and made vice-president of Club Filipino. Meanwhile, after a brief apprenticeship in the law office of William Kincaid, a noted American lawyer, he was made the latter’s junior law partner. Later, he established his own office in Intramuros, with Quintín Salas as his partner.

As a public servant, he started as clerk of the Philippine Assembly; then became attorney of the City of Manila; and, in 1916, was appointed first Assistant Director of Education. The following year, he was appointed Undersecretary of Justice; and, in 1918, acting President of the University of the Philippines, where he had served earlier as member of the Board of Regents and as professorial lecturer.

Escaler was one of the most active businessmen of his generation. He was at one time vice-president and director of several commercial enterprises. A firm believer in the country’s economic progress, he stressed that government intervention in the economic realm was inevitable, that technical know-how must be developed, and that research facilities and laboratories should be established.

Not being a person of very strong constitution, his health soon broke down. He left for Europe to rest and recuperate, but it was too late. He returned to Manila in January 1927, and died on February 17 of a heart ailment. Escaler married Aurea Ocampo on June 26, 1915, by whom he had seven children.

Oh where have all the gentlemen from the old school gone?

Noynoy & Mar vs the Evil Empire: Who Else Will Join The THIRD PARTY?

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Mar Roxas III & Noynoy Aquino III: the 'THIRD' Party!

Mar Roxas III & Noynoy Aquino III: the 'THIRD' Party!

He’s not a trapo after all.

In a shocking development, Senator Mar Roxas III announced that he’s backing out from the presidential race to support fellow Liberal Party member Noynoy Aquino III. The announcement was made yesterday during a conference held at the historic Club Filipino (were Noynoy’s mom Corazón Aquino took her oath as President of the Philippines way back in 1986):

“Today I am announcing my support for the candidacy of Noynoy Aquino for president in 2010,” Roxas told Liberal Party members and supporters.

“Noy has made it clear to me that he wants to carry the torch of leadership,” he said. “I do this (step aside) for unity in support of change and that means that somebody must make a sacrifice. It must be me.”

The two “Thirds” (they both share ‘III’ at the end of their respective last names) are a force to reckon with, perhaps the perfect tandem to possibly halt ousted President Joseph Estrada’s plans of backing out from the most anticipated presidential election in recent history.

Erap has been vocal these past few weeks, saying that the only reason for him not to run for the presidency is when the opposition fields only a single candidate.

As of this writing, Makati Mayor Jejomar Bínay and Senator Manuel Villar, both from the opposition, are yet to make a final statement whether or not they would support Noynoy or still pursue their political ambitions. But Erap said that he’ll still woo other presidentiables from the opposition to unite and fight whoever Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will anoint.

It will be remembered that in the 2004 presidential elections, the massive electorate who sided with the opposition were divided between Pánfilo “Ping” Lacson and legendary icon (Erap’s bestfriend) Fernando Poe, Jr. Both were well-loved and supported by the masses. But since the votes were divided between the two of them, the results proved to be disastrous: Ping ended up second to FPJ’s votes while the latter was blatantly cheated all the way to high heavens.

Noynoy is still hesitant whether or not he should run. But with Mar Roxas’ stirring announcement (quite possibly he’ll run as Noynoy’s Vice President), that could possibly be the nail in the coffin for Noynoy’s decision-making. Besides, Mar has already spent millions of pesos with all those television advertisement of his. It’s not that easy to back out from the presidency especially when millions have already been spent, and Noynoy knows this. Besides, with the recent passing of her “icon of democracy” mom (not to mention the recent Ninoy Aquino holiday last August 21), this is the perfect time for him to ride on the heels of the so-called “Cory Magic”. It’s back, still fresh, still strong, still sporting the bright yellow in the minds of the populace. All he has to do is to keep it burning, to keep the momentum going.

Hopefully this time, the opposition will learn from mistakes of the past. It’s still September — plenty of time to THINK.

Who else will join the Third Party?

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