TIMESMAN| Preserve the old CFI building

I AM 100 percent in support of the appeal of our good friend, Councilor Pilar Caneda Braga, to Mayor Inday Sara to preserve the more than half century old Court of First Instance

building along Pichon Street (formerly Magallanes St.) facing the Bonifacio Monument, where the Museo Dabawenyo is housed. The city government is planning to build a museum inside the People’s Park at Camus Street soon.

As chair of the Davao Historical Society, Councilor Braga called on the city to grant the request of the group to preserve the memories of not only the people living and dead that once a part of the old CFI, but as well as its rich heritage to future generations. She said that the building will also serve as a symbol of Davao’s rich tradition of pursuing truth, freedom, justice, and peace.

Councilor Braga (How are you now, Ma’am?) recalled the big contribution of “Nanay Soling,” mother of now President Duterte and lola of Mayor Inday Sara, who envisioned the landmark site to be “declared as a heritage site and preserved as model of old Davao architecture.”

“Aside from preserving its architectural heritage, the old Court of First Instance building is very significant to Davao historical narrative, notably the martial law years when Davao was known as the `killing fields’ being then the laboratory for the urban guerilla warfare of the New People’ Army,” the councilor reminisced.

“Our first Davaoeno and Mindanaoan President and longest-serving City Mayor, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, tried his landmark cases as a prosecutor in that building,” Braga continued.

On my personal account of the Court of First Instance, more popularly known then as CFI, I frequently dropped by the place to delivery copies of the weekly TIMES then to the salas of the late judges Dominador Zuno Sr., Alfredo Gonzalez, and Cusi (Sorry Judge, I already forgot your first name).

My favorite judge was Judge Cusi, a Bol-anon, who always left few coins on his table, not knowing at first the money was intended for me.

I recalled on the first day I noticed the coins, I didn’t touch them. The following week, while again delivering copy of the TIMES, Judge Cusi was there, and upon seeing me, he said: “Loreto, pag may nakita kang barya sa lamesa ko, kunin mo, sinadya ko yan para pang kape mo.” Although we had regular delivery boys then, I continued delivering copies to CFI because of Judge Cusi’s kindness towards me.

On Judge Gonzalez, a Spanish speaking judge, I seldom approached him at his sala. Reason, his favorite expressions were cuss words whenever I saw him talking to his companeros or subordinates. He was not angry, but it was his expressions that those who did not know may have concluded he was quarreling with somebody.

Judge Zuno Sr.? He was a Batangueno and he was like a father to me. He was the husband of Mom Tinay of well read column “These..I know,” and father of former councilor and vice mayor Boy Zuno Jr.

My official first appearance at the CFI was when I became a star witness in a libel case filed by late Star publisher Joe Santes against Mirror matriarch Anita Flaviano. I appeared as witness of Mrs. Flaviano against Santes who she charged in court for physical injury.

Both cases were settled out of court after I convinced both of them to settle amicably.

Almost all the façade and interiors of the old CFI building remain intact except for some repairs and repainting. The three rooms of the late judges and the session hall are still there only these are now converted as displays for old pictures of Davao’s yesteryears and artifacts, some of them were more than a century old.

I am not a Davao born, but like President Duterte who is a Cebuano, I conside myself now a Davaoeno and this humble corner will stand behind the Davao Historical Society for its call to the city government to retain the greatness and valuable heritage of one of the remaining historical landmarks of the city.

We hope Mayor Inday Sara will listen as this is also her beloved Davao.


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