Lawyer tackles life, the law, and celebrities on YouTube show

AS A video-sharing platform, YouTube has made it possible for many people to create content and share it with the world, and for a lawyer who cut her teeth in entertainment law, Marie Glen Abraham-Garduque saw YouTube as a way to not only share her life with her viewers but also inform them of their rights and answer their questions about laws in the Philippines.

“To say that [knowledge of the law] is important is an understatement. Whether we realize it or not, law regulates every aspect of our lives. Law is relevant from the time of a person’s birth which determines civil personality as mentioned in Article 40 of the Civil Code until the time of his death where wills and succession would be material,” Ms. Abraham-Garduque told BusinessWorld via an e-mail interview on Dec. 8.

And this mission to inform more people about the law — as well as tackling issues surrounding celebrities — became what is now the Mugshots with Atty. Maggie YouTube channel. The channel, which started in June 2019, is both a lifestyle and law advice channel where Ms. Abraham-Garduque — better known as “Atty. Maggie” — shares snippets of her life in some videos, answers legal queries in others, and tackles celebrity issues such as her most recent video which discussed why actress Liza Soberano filed a cyberlibel case against an internet service provider employee after he made a rape joke about her.

Ms. Abraham-Garduque is a litigation lawyer who handled cases for celebrities Willie Revillame and Kristine Reyes and the Sarah Lahbati case against GMA Network in 2013 during a falling-out which led to Ms. Lahbati being sued for libel. The feud ended in the same year with both sides fixing their differences. Ms. Abraham-Garduque is also the personal lawyer of actor Alden Richards.

“[Being a celebrity lawyer] is different in the sense that it demands for more work than the usual work load in handling non-celebrity clients. As a lawyer, you should not only handle the case but you should also know how to present the said case in public. They are public figures and of course everything you feed the media will affect their career. All my celebrity clients know that if they ask me to handle their case, I would decide what interviews they can accept, when to have the interview and what questions they can answer. Even what they should and should not post in their social media accounts,” she said in the interview.

She added that some of the usual legal issues celebrities run into are “contractual breach and damages, tax evasion and libel cases.”

But when it comes to regular people, Ms. Abraham-Garduque noted that most of the time she gets asked about marriage problems on her “MUGTanong” segment where she answers questions from regular people.

In the interview she mentioned that she has received a lot of questions about “womanizing husbands” and “inquiries on what cases to be filed against them and their mistresses.”

“I likewise received more questions on physically, psychologically and economically abused women and children. There were also a bulk of questions on how to severe marriages, inquiries on whether they should file annulment, legal separation or nullity of marriage and the difference of each of these cases,” she said.

And during the pandemic, she said she had a lot of questions about labor issues.

She said that the reason she started the channel was because she wanted to spread knowledge of the law, but her workload in the law office does not permit her to do it on a wider scale. She explained that for her, “knowledge of the law equates to power,” because having enough knowledge of laws may make it hard for people to exploit and abuse a person.

“For me the most important laws are of course our fundamental law, our Constitution, then the Civil Code of the Philippines, Family Code, Revised Penal Code and Labor Code of the Philippines. Anent our Constitution, it is important to know Article III [or] the ‘Bill of Rights so that one would know his rights as a citizen of the Philippines. Civil Code as it contains laws on human relations, obligations and contracts and property ownership. Of course, knowledge of the Family Code is self-explanatory. Revised Penal Code as violations thereof involves one’s liberty and of course labor laws so one would know his rights as an employee. If you know at least those, I think it would be hard for you to be legally exploited,” she said. — Zsarlene B. Chua

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