|Raissa Laurel: "To become a great lawyer, to be someone someday for the country."
MANILA, Philippines – "You don't give up and you should fight for your dream."
These were the words spoken by a 23-year-old female law student who lost both legs in the Bar exams blast last Sunday.
Raissa Laurel told Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona who visited her at Philippine General Hospital on Thursday that she wants to finish her studies and serve the country.
"Iyon po ang ipinagdadasal ko everyday since I started in law school: to become a great lawyer, to be someone someday for the country," she said.
Corona vowed to personally administer the oath to Laurel once she finishes her studies at San Sebastian College and passes the Bar.
He also promised that that the Supreme Court will hire her once she recovers from her injuries.
Corona said he was impressed with Laurel's strength and will.
"I don't see that often in young people. Iyung lakas ng loob at iyung tatag ng kalooban. Hindi na nakikita sa kabataan ngayon. I think you'll make great lawyer," he said.
"You are like a daughter to me,” the Chief Justice said, before kissing her on the forehead.
Corona on Wednesday appointed two associate justices to lead a special fact-finding committee tasked to investigate the Bar exams blast in Manila last Sunday, which left 50 people wounded.
The committee has been tasked to recommend the filing of criminal and civil charges against those who will be found responsible for the blast.
It will also propose measures to prevent the occurrence of similar violent incidents, and recommend an improved security protocol for future Bar examinations.
The committee has until October 15 to wrap up the investigation and submit a report to the Chief Justice.
Laurel, meanwhile, thanked people who are continuing to send messages of support to her Twitter and Facebook accounts.
“Thank you so much for all your prayers and support for my recovery! Our God is sovereign and He is in control of everything… God bless us!” she said in a tweet on Thursday.
God and her second life
In an interview with ABS-CBN's Julius Babao, Laurel said she was also surprised with the visit of President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday.
"President of the Philippines... parang whoah, ba't ako pupuntahan? Sino ba ako?" she said.
"I made a difference sa youth, sa community na kahit may nangyaring masama sa inyo, you don't give up and you should fight for your dream pa rin. You should not let your circumstances na maging hindrance sa buhay mo."
She attributed her strength to her faith in God.
"Lakat iyon kay Lord lang po kasi iyung bomb was in front of me kaya hindi na po ako nakatakbo. Lahat po iyong noong time na iyon, tinanggap ko na mapuputulan na ako ng paa," she said.
"And then I prayed to the Lord...na sana tulungan niya ako. Kasi in pain po ako and super sakit, tapos iyung mga tao hindi nila alam ang gagawin nila sa akin, kung bubuhatin ako. Tapos medyo nagdilim na po ang paningin ko pagdating dito sa PGH because of loss of blood," Laurel said. "Nili-lift up ko po iyung second life ko kay Lord."
|"Iyung mga paa ko, wala na – pero at least iyung talent na binigay ni Lord sa akin, nandito pa rin."
'Still whole as a person'
Laurel also recalled the blast incident. She said that a bomb, and not a grenade, fell near her feet.
“Baka puwede pong may laman iyung box, Pero iyung naalala ko po iyung box may cover ng Manila paper," she said
Losing her legs will not prevent her from reaching her dreams, Laurel said.
"Although magbabago-bago iyung mga bagay-bagay – iyung mga paa ko, wala na – pero at least iyung talent na binigay ni Lord sa akin, nandito pa rin. Buo pa rin po as a person, atsaka iyung heart, nandito pa rin po iyung heart," she said.
"Tapos pinatibay pa rin po niya ako kasi, inistrengthen niya ako," Laurel said. "Iyung someone, someday iyon po ang ipinagdadasal ko."
"Iyon iyung bigay niya. Baka ito iyung way niya sa akin na iyan, you're going to be someone someday," she added.