‘ACCRA’ by Nick Joaquin

Rosalinda L. Orosa

Rosalinda L. Orosa

Clarita Ordoñez (Loleng) sent me a copy of the book ACCRA and the Post-Bellum Bar by National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin.

ACCRA stands for attorneys Edgardo Angara, Jose Concepcion, Avelino Cruz, Manuel Abello, Teodoro Regala, and Manuel Abello.

I quote from the book cover: “ACCRA LAW: The Post-Bellum Bar tells the story of the founding and flourishing of ACCRA Law in the characteristic evocative prose of celebrated Filipino Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin.

“Set against the backdrop of pre-war Pasig and Binondo, and the modern business districts of Makati and Bonifacio Global City, the book goes beyond the typical corporate history. Rather, it charts the evolution of the country’s legal profession, from the abogado de campanilla of the Empire Days and the first Filipino lawyers and later, the five premier law firms of the land—Angara, Abello, Concepcion, Regala and Cruz Law Offices—and help shape the reformation and modernization of Philippine law practices.

“The book includes rare historical and archival photos from the Spanish and American periods, the early years of ACCRA, and the present images of the company and its lawyers.

Veteran journalist and former ACCRA associate Teodoro Locsin, Jr. updates the narrative to include significant developments in the law firm over the last decade, making it the most prestigious institutional law firm in the Philippines.”

Reminiscing on the lawyers in our family
My mother’s side of the family has at least two notable lawyers in earlier decades. Her grandfather, Benedicto de Luna, described in Rizal’s Noli as el habil argumentador (the skilled disputant) obtained from the Univeristy of Santo Tomas three doctorates in philosophy, theology and civil law. Further, Benedicto was the only Filipino member of UST’s Spanish jury which examined candidates for doctoral degrees.

My uncle, Associate Justice J.B. Luna Reyes, gained the reputation as “an absolute terror” in the College of Law where he lectured. Without the least hesitation he would draw a big zero on the report card of a bungling student, doing so in full view of the whole class!

My brother Sixto Jr. was already a banker when he decided to take up law. He attended evening classes at the Philippine Law School, graduating as valedictorian. He finished eleventh in the bar exams, prior to which he had taken a two-week-leave-of-absence from his banking duties to prepare for them.

In this regard, the Inquirer’s description of how a bar topnotcher prepared for the exams in 2012 reads in part: “He was glued to his law books for up to 14 hours daily between April and November last year.” This revelation might lead one to surmise how Sixto would have fared in the bar exams had he devoted as much time to reviewing for them.


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