Zamboangeña Jerame Arreza: from Army sergeant to lawyer

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 29 June) —“It was really my dream to become a lawyer,” said Sergeant (Sarge) Jerame A. Arreza, a non-commissioned officer of the Philippine Army who answered the call to serve the nation in 2005.

Finally on June 25, Sarge Arreza, a native of Zamboanga City, was sworn in as a lawyer in the first ever online oath-taking ceremony administered by the Supreme Court due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

She was among the 2,103 out of the 7,685 who passed the 2019 Bar examinations. The  results came out last May.

“Masaya, nanghina, tumatawa, umiiyak (happy, weakened, laughed, cried),” Arreza recalled after she was flooded with congratulatory messages from her law school classmates and friends.

“The first thing that came into my mind was to call my mom, whom I did not inform that I took the Bar exams, to tell her the good news,” she added.

Philippine Army Sergeant Jerame A. Arreza was sworn in as a lawyer during an online oath-taking ceremony on 25 June 2020. Photo courtesy of Philippine Army

During the oath taking ceremony, Sarge Attorney Arreza said “it sank in to her that a lawyer carries a lot of responsibility,” citing the rousing speech delivered by Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.

“As Justice Leonen said, “the privilege of your title comes with a lot of responsibility. You are more than your degrees and your professional titles. They are your masks and behind these masks and titles should be authentic human beings,” she said. “I knew from that moment on that being a lawyer now will not just change my career but also my responsibilities and duties to society, the legal profession, courts and the community.”

Sarge Attorney Arreza believed that she was called to be both a soldier and a lawyer.

She first applied with the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group but was not accepted due to young age.

Later a classmate invited her to join the elite Presidential Security Group (PSG), which secures the President of the Republic of the Philippines. Making it to the quota, the PSG sent her to the 7th Infantry Division for a candidate soldier training.

While actively serving in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and financially supporting her family in Zamboanga City, she studied and finished law school at the Arellano State University in Manila.

Sarge Attorney Arreza, who hails from Barangay Baliwasan Grande here, graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Criminology from the Western Mindanao State University in 2003 here.

She said she was encouraged to pursue her dream to become a lawyer when she was detailed as a close-in security to former Solicitor General and Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera.

Once she signs the Roll of Attorneys in July, she said she wants to serve the AFP’s Judge Advocate General Service.

With a heart molded in the Philippine Army’s core values of honor, patriotism and duty, Sarge Attorney Arreza has defied the limitations to reach her dream, which will further equip her in serving the Filipino people and the nation.

“Whatever your rank and position is in the organization, you should not limit yourself. You should have to aim high and when you have the chance and opportunity for career and self-improvement, go for it!” she said.