(First of two parts)
By Hannah A. Papasin and Julius D. Mariveles
As far as he could remember, Cesar Beloria Jr.’s summers as a boy growing up in the village of Villamonte were spent climbing trees, swimming in the river, riding on, and sometimes falling off, carabaos, and, like any boy his age, living a carefree life. It was also in Villamonte where Cesar Jr., son to a former prosecutor, had his first setbacks, among them being kicked out of high school.
“I was a rowdy kid, most of my neighbors even thought that I would not finish high school,” Cesar recalled as we had late afternoon coffee on the roadside of Calle Onse, the vacant lot just across their house where he, and some of his friends, most of them in their 20s planned to join barangay politics in the 90s.
“We won,” he said, recalling that summer when the candidate they supported became barangay captain.
Turning 41 this July, and already a lawyer, Cesar Jr. has served various local government units – from being one of the city lawyers in Bacolod under two mayors, Monico Puentevella, and Evelio Leonardia, to becoming deputy administrator in Talisay City to being a legal consultant in the town of Don Salvador Benedicto, Cesar has gained, for someone still young, substantial experience serving in the bureaucracy.
That experience is not limited to making legal briefs or representing clients in court hearings but included heading the ordinance enforcement team of the City Legal Office in Bacolod City, a sometimes undesirable job for a lawyer who has political ambitions. “My job included not only clearing urban poor residents in violation of the law but it also involves serving orders against influential businessmen,” Cesar explained.♦
- No urban poor group or individual has filed a case against Cesar but he admitted that a local businessman had filed a case against him after he served a closure order against that person who had been operating his general merchandise business just across the old City Hall “without the necessary permits.”
As enforcement team head, Cesar felt that laws had to be followed by all, regardless of class or status, because that is how “society, as we know it now, is supposed to work.” (In the next article: how a high school kick out became a lawyer, and how did Cesar’s public service career start?)