She greeted me with her Kodak-winning smile and teased me as the
fashionista lawyer who ever walked on this damn earth. But the beauty of her beam reflected the pain that her physical body had been torturing her for several years of survival. Her pleasantries conveyed hope and cheers to her staff and comrades to hide the sorrow she had suffered and had to endure for the remaining hours. But despite the weakness revealed the strong and determined Honorable Judge as she banged her gavel in the court room with all her might to remind both lawyers and litigants that, yes, she was indeed The Prodigious Honorable Judge who would shake your world, so beware.
The Honorable Judge walked along the highway of justice with dignity and pride, never letting her physical suffering hinder whatever outcome awaited the indictment of those praying in vain that justice be served. The shadow of death lurked all throughout but the mighty Honorable Judge fought until the very end with her very last drop of blood to remind everyone that the battle had been won and the land of promise conquered.
The Honorable Judge sent criminals behind bars, set free those wrongly accused, awarded deserving plaintiffs, and released defendants from malicious prosecutions. She shed a taint of light on the hope of the condemned. And to a certain extent, she gave hope to those who questioned the legal system that indeed, somehow, justice would be served.
But one morning, as I sipped my coffee and cherished the aroma of freshly brewed beans, a text message stopped me dead. I had to rub my eyes twice to be sure I was not mistaken. Yet the dreaded message was still there with the words it wanted to convey, striking me hard point blank. “F#@%, another stupid prank text message,” I said to myself in denial. But staring at the name of the sender made me shiver in discomfort. It was sent by the Branch Clerk of Court. This could not be…
Atty., ninang judge rossi died last night.
And it left me speechless and unswayed for the remaining hours. She’s gone.
The night of her death showcased all sorts of pain that can be described in the vocabulary of man. The wails of those who held her dearly antagonized the supposedly peaceful evening of those who were not aware. And before the clock struck the witching hour, her soul bade me good bye.
It was a loss, damn an unbearable loss. But her departure from the physical world— away from her pain, suffering and tears, only proved one thing…with her loss and on what she has left, JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED.
Fagots will rot; sinners will be castigated with abomination. But the name of the Honorable Judge will forever stand still amidst destruction to the envy of the spiteful.
She was the Honorable Judge who gave justice to the name ROSSI S. MANTALA-CASTRO.