Meet Atty. Howard Chan, who passed the 2014 Bar Exams and officially became a lawyer on April 29, 2015. He may be one of the future defenders of justice, but his colorful background will surely inspire students and parents as well. And yes, he was once a service crew in Baguio City before he became a lawyer.
As you can see in his IDs he posted on his official blog, Atty. Howard Chan recalled his journey as he struggled to reach his goal. But unlike the story of many law students, he belong to a working-class family. His late father was a taxi driver, while his mother was a waitress. Living 5 other siblings, his father became jobless when he was in college.
“Coming from a working class family, it was hard for me to believe that well-to-do people genuinely care for the poor. We’ve had rich relatives who never even bothered to check on us when we had no electricity, water, nor food to eat.” Atty Howard Chan wrote on his blog post, but clarified that he is not against rich people.
“When I became a lawyer, I just knew that I have to be that kind of lawyer that I admire back in the days when we were struggling. I don’t have to be the smartest or the most prominent. I just want to be one of the most judicious and moral.” He added, noting that he vowed to be an agent of justice and equality among Filipinos.
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Credit: Atty. Howard Chan
In an interview by ABS-CBN, Atty. Chan described his experience as a service screw. He recalled how some customers can be rude and how stressful his job was to meet their demands, in exchange of a very small amount of money. That time, he said he was receiving a basic salary of P21 per hour back in 2007, or eight years ago.
“Yung bang tipong tatawagin ka tapos papakuha ng ketchup. Pagbalik mo e papakuha ng tissue. Pagbalik mo ulit e papakuha ng tubig, and then magtatawanan sila,” Atty. Howard Chan told ABS-CBNnews.com, adding that sometimes the store manager scolds him after the latter was scolded by unhappy customers.
(It’s like this, customers call you to get catsup [ketchup]. After you give it to them, they will ask for table napkins. Afterwards, they will ask for water, and they will eventually laugh at you.)
But his struggle did not end there, he also worked as house painter, a tutor for Singaporeans, and a call center agent for two years after quitting his studies at Saint Louis University in Baguio City. As an additional stress, his father passed away when he was on his second year at College of Law of the University of the Cordilleras.
Atty. Chan is also not ashamed to admit that he borrowed money from his then-girlfriend (now his wife) to pay for his final exams back in 2008. But despite of the challenges, he finally finished Law at University of Baguio while working online as a virtual assistant. Looking back, he said he still cannot believe he became a lawyer.