One of the things that has come out of this huge debate over the DAP controversy is the resurrection of a dead language called Latin.
There was a time in Manila that Latin was de regueur among the youth. If you didn’t know any Latin you would not count.
Today, only lawyers, doctors and priests have preserved this language that even Italians no longer speak, unless they attend a Messa in Latino in one of those tiny churches in Italy attended by old women.
My hubby Alan, who speaks three languages, decided to delve into Latin and he made a surprising discovery. Latin, although long dead and long buried, is still evolving. Especially in the legal field.
And so he decided to write about his findings:
One of the results of the ongoing debate about the constitutionality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is that it has attracted flocks of lawyers spouting legal terms the public can barely understand.
It’s like somebody kicked a huge legal beehive over and a great angry swarm of bees flew out, all of them buzzing in Latin.
Lawyers, judges, law students, fresh law grads and legal experts have surrounded the Constitution, fiercely arguing among themselves and attacking any non-lawyer who dares come close, warding off the masses with high-level law degree wands casting Latin bolts.
Some of them sound like high priests or adepts muttering incantations that resemble Harry Potter spells. Nobody is sure if they’re trying to impress the public or mumbling enchantments to raise the unholy dead (i.e., Marcos). For all we know, one of the enchantments is a “Latin Force field of Repulsion.”
This is particularly hard on most journalists, whose knowledge of Latin is close to zero (nullus maximus) and whose range of professional expressions is limited to phrases like “I’m not finished yet”, or “but I sent it already!”, or “I’ll pay that later” or “one for the road.”
Just about the only Latin expression they understand is “et cetera” and how often does that come out in legal arguments? We’re guessing the lawyers make sure they avoid using it, to prevent anybody from accidentally understanding and following the discussion.
So, as part of our strict and ongoing commitment to public service, we’re publishing this brief list of legal Latin terms and sayings in the hope that this will enrich the discussion and help journalists understand what’s going on as they take one more for the road.
To read the rest, please click on this link.