Review: “Fighting Back: In and Out of the Courts”

“Fighting Back: In and out of the Courts” illustrates not only how the template of rights has been used to analyze the conflicts that the NUPL’s clients face but also how this template has been expanded to new breadth to reach new horizons.

By JUDGE CLETO VILLACORTA III*
Bulatlat.com

Capture and Illustrate what I say does not substitute for the book, and the book for the experiences.

One of NUPL’s staunchest critics will be happy to note that, as he has advised in one of his articles at the Philippines Daily Inquirer, the NUPL has long been practicing what he has been preaching.

What has been advice, the rhetoric he has preached, that I myself find so useful in most instances of legal analysis?

His advice has been to examine every conflict in our lives as invariably involving the conflict between rights-holders and rights- takers.

“Fighting Back: In and out of the Courts” illustrates not only how the template of rights has been used to analyze the conflicts that the NUPL’s clients face but also how this template has been expanded to new breadth to reach new horizons.

For instance, in the case of Andrea Rosal, metalegal tactics played alongside legal ones to further give substance to the right against inhumane forms of detention. In the interstices of the case of Andrea, one can hear suggestions of another aspect of the against unreasonable seizures- the dilemma involved in a pregnant woman’s situation, that how to explain the detention of the person of the fetus if a fetus is indeed a person or a newly born baby as a result simply of the fetus or the baby’s vulnerability and attachment to his or her mother?

The NUPL has thrust the weirdest but certainly the profoundest of these issues to light. The NUPL explores the wisdom of ages of its legal luminaries and forebears alongside the collective actions of the communities who are the first person direct participants of the conflicts that create the plot of the cases we now read about in Fighting Back.

Law and its rationale are always put to the test when the legal is recreated in the context of the communities from which the law has sprung, and this test is defined by whether the law provides vibrancy to the communities or whether the law subjugates and kills those same communities.

The book Fighting Back is the law’s examination booklet. It is up to you the readers to determine whether the test is passed. ()

* The author is the judge of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 225. He read this review during the public launch of the two books on May 22 in UP Diliman.

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