The IBP Makati Chapter is a chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. It finds its roots in the Pasay-Makati-Mandaluyong- San Juan Chapter. Primarily because of the growing number of members based in Makati City, the country’s premiere financial district, there was a proposal to identify and segregate Makati as a distinct chapter of the National IBP Office. The National Board of Directors eventually approved the proposal and in 1991 the IBP Makati Chapter was born.
The first set of officers for the year 1991 to 1993 was headed by Atty. Raoul “Reggie” Angangco as president. Immediately upon his ascension to his post, Reggie and his officers commenced talks with the Makati City Administration for the allotment of an office space within the city. The discussions proved fruitful as the Chapter was allotted a small corner in the notarial section of the Makati Chateau building which housed the Makati courtrooms and prosecutors’ offices. Among the projects undertaken during the term of President Angangco was the computerization of the Makati court system. He believed that the Makati courts needed to keep abreast with technological developments. To achieve this, the Chapter embarked on fund raising activities. The computers purchased from the funds raised were raffled off to a number of Makati courts. The Chapter also adopted one of the core projects of the IBP National Office – the provision of free legal aid services to indigent clients qualifying under established guidelines. Handling lawyers mostly came from major Makati-based offices on a rotation basis. The workload often required legal representation for litigation cases, drafting of pleadings, and rendering legal opinions. Although these were handled pro-bono or without any compensation, members of the Chapter protected their clients’ interests with the same passion and dedication accorded regular paying clients.
Home is where the heart is, and during the term of Atty. Eusebio “Ebot” Tan, the Chapter started to search for a home. Ebot vigorously led a fund raising campaign with the vision of relocating the Chapter’s offices to a more permanent location. Aside from continuing with its legal aid program the Chapter launched the IBP Makati Forum, a venue where prominent speakers were invited to address lawyers on a variety of topics that had an impact on the law profession and civil society. These regular fora not only provided valuable pieces of information but also allowed the Chapter members to meet each other in fellowship rather than in a litigious confrontational atmosphere. It thus became a venue for fostering camaraderie among the Chapter’s members.
Information dissemination is an essential part of membership development. Atty. Cirilo “Doro” Doronilla marked his term as president with the creation and distribution of the IBP Makati Newsletter, a repository of well written articles on the Chapter’s activities, projects, events, and updates on legislation and jurisprudence. In addition to the continuing legal aid programs and IBP Makati Forum, the Chapter sponsored dialogues between the bench and the bar. These dialogues provided an avenue to identify concerns of both the judiciary and legal practitioners and explore means to address such concerns.
The Chapter finally housed its heart at the upper ground floor of the Cityland dela Rosa Condominium dela Rosa Street during the term of Atty. Edgardo “Ed” Balois. The years of fund raising initiated by his predecessors finally bore fruit with the inauguration of IBP Makati office. Members of the Chapter soon found comfort and pride in the spacious dignified office. Here, important Chapter documents, case files and memorabilia could be stored. Clients didn’t have to flutter from one law office to the other. Members could identify one single collective address to transact business with the Chapter.
Under the term of Atty. Celia Librea-Leagogo, the Chapter’s officers forged deeper into providing excellent legal aid services. In recognition of the Chapter’s efforts at providing outstanding legal aid, the IBP National Office conferred upon Chapter member Atty. Jose “Jojo” Jose an award as best legal aid lawyer. In the meantime, President Leagogo introduced and personally spearheaded Makati City jail visits. These activities were undertaken to ensure that the conditions of the inmates were more humane and that no person would have been unjustly detained.
Atty. Ponciano “Pons” Gonzales Jr.’s leadership was punctuated with the Chapter’s introduction of its own Mandatory Continuing Legal Education or MCLE seminars for the Chapter members and Makati-based practitioners. Through his relentless efforts and the able assistance of Chairperson Aileen Derides, the Chapter was recognized by the IBP National Office as the first to offer and provide the entire 36 units MCLE program. No other chapter has matched such record to date.
Atty. Santiago “Boy” Gabionza Jr.’s term provided even closer working relations with the Makati City judges with the goal of improving the administration of justice and court services. Continuing with bench and bar dialogues, the Chapter was likewise able to provide modern office equipment and soon all Makati courts were equipped with computers and printers.
The hallmark of the term of Atty. Ma. Trinidad “Leny” P. Villareal was continuity, remaining steadfast in pursuing the laudable projects of her predecessors. She embarked and further improved on past projects such as the MCLE Seminar, providing free legal aid services, and hosting bench and bar dialogues. The membership data base was likewise created and there were numerous occasions during which the fellowship between members of the Chapter were strengthened.
Atty. Danilo “Danny” Cortina served as the President for the term 2007 to 2009 and paved the way for the creation of the Chapter’s website, the posting of an electronic newsletter, and the formation of an e-group for Chapter memberss designed to provide access and communication for the members. Legal seminars were held in Makati barangays to provide legal literacy for the underprivileged, especially those relating to women and children’s rights. Membership development and recruitment was also further enhanced through various fellowship events.
From 2009-2011, Atty. Joel Raymond “Joel” R. Ayson led the Chapter in embarking on its environmental advocacy programs, and involving lawyers in the care of our water, air and land resources. Chapter members were encouraged to get out of their comfortable offices to join coastal and underwater clean-up drives.
On its 20th year, the IBP Makati Chapter has earned the reputation as being one of the most outstanding, dynamic, robust and relevant chapters of the IBP National Office. The awards it has garnered are testimony to its sincere efforts at maintaining the dignity of members of the bar. It also takes pride in the quality and dedication of its members. Past President Raoul Angangco served as president of the IBP National Office. Past President Celia Librea-Leagogo is now an associate justice of the Court of Appeals.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that “nothing is ever achieved without enthusiasm”. With the continuing support of its members there is no doubt that the IBP Makati chapter will continue to play an exemplary role in the legal profession