By Edward C. Maratita, Jr.
The next generation of lawyers from Eskuelan San Francisco de Borja dubbed as “Tomorrow’s Attorneys”, piled into the Rota Judicial Center on April 25 as part of their school level “Civil War” Junior High Mock Trial.
The Junior High Mock Trials are held every year in March or April and are sponsored by the Northern Marianas Humanities Council.
The ESFDB Junior High Mock Trial event give students third to eighth grade the chance to play the different roles in a trial overseen by teacher coaches and law professionals.
“The purpose of the event is to provide students insights of the law, with real-life legal experience, so the setting, personnel and procedures closely follow the actual workings of a criminal or civil trial,” said administrator/principal Carmen H. Atalig.
Atalig added, “It also introduced students to the legal system, with emphasis on research, presentation, and teamwork. The students provided a full prosecution, defense, witnesses and even a bailiff.”
“This event was a great idea. It gives pointers for the lower grades who will be the next generation representing the school. I will be graduating next month and I am glad to share with my fellow schoolmates the do’s and don’ts,” said eighth grader Jeremy John Atalig II.
“These third to eighth grade students are putting in a lot of time in their roles,” said class adviser and lawyer coach Edward C. Maratita, Jr. “They have been working for the past two months, five days a week in preparation for their big day.”
“It’s great to see these students using their God-given talents for something positive. They are using their speaking, listening and thinking-on-their-feet skills,” added Maratita. “Once they get into the courtroom, these students are on their own. We coaches cannot speak to them until the trial is over.”
The gist of the fictitious case, which is based on Commonwealth v. Kelsey Reed, about Kelsey Reed allegedly stalked via online Jaime Alaxanian. Reed and Alaxanian are juniors at Maritime University, in Alamagan County, Commonwealth. Both students reside in Seaside Hall, a co-ed dormitory on campus.
The junior prosecution attorney’s was played by Autumn Pasensia T. Hocog, MJ L. Mahusay, and SonJoe S. Manuel, all 5th graders.
The junior prosecution witness was played by Éclair M. Ladao, Edgar Aaron Tuazon, and Brylle P. Reyel, all 5th graders.
The junior defense attorney’s was played by fourth grader John Anthony Tobongbanua, third grader Edward U. Maratita III, and third grader John Henry Tacud.
The junior defense witness was played by third grader Marco Edward B. Hocog, Titus Hugh T. Hocog, and Norbert H. Mundo III.
The varsity defense attorney’s was played by eighth grader Jeremy John Atalig II, seventh grader Auston Marvin Guiawan, and sixth grader John Kent Clitar.
The varsity defense witness was played by sixth grader Kaitlyn Amber Balgoa, sixth grader Michael Jon Cantil, and eighth grader Marvin Clitar.
The bailiff was played by Perry K. Mesngon II. Mr. Aniceto Mundo served as the judge.
The varsity defense team will be representing their school in the upcoming Junior High Mock Trial competition to be held on April 29 in Saipan.
Coordinating the event were teacher coach Mary Rose Lucero and Lawyer Coach Edward C. Maratita, Jr.
The administration, faculty, and staff would like to extend their appreciation to Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja, Rota Judicial Center staff, Aniceto Mundo, parents, and guest. Thank you, maraming salamat po, Si Yu’us Ma’ase, and Olommway!