“Atty. Roy”

Atty. Rosalio "Roy" Torrentira

Atty. Rosalio “Roy” Torrentira

Rosalio Torrentira was 20-years old when he left his home province of Bohol so he could study and work in Manila. Relying on some friends, the young man found a place to rent in Cavite. Though a college graduate with a degree in Political Science, the young “probinsyano” had a difficult time getting a decent job. To make ends meet, he sold kitchenware as an ambulant vendor, earning commissions from every sale he made.

From being an ambulant vendor, Rosalio or “Roy” to his family and friends, tried his luck at delivering softdrinks. He graduated from driving a tricycle to eventually manuevering a delivery truck. Roy earned a monthly salary of Php3, 000 and would save as much as he could. He bought clothes from “ukay-ukay” stalls. He ate at his place of work when and where there was free food to be had. He accepted old clothes from those who wanted to throw them away.

What was painful for Roy was his decision not to send money home to his mother and eight siblings in Bohol. His father, Marcos, had long passed away. Though Roy wanted to help his family out, he decided to think long-term. It was his dream to be a lawyer and to achieve that dream, he need to save up for his tuition fees.

One day, cops who were out to extort money from the hardworking driver flagged him down. The cops took him to eat at a carinderia in Paco, Manila owned by a kind woman named Nanay Mila. She persuaded the cops to just let Roy go. Roy found a nurturing soul in Nanay Mila. She found him a job as a taxi driver and would allow him to eat in her carinderia on credit.

With Php 28, 000 in his savings account, the taxi driver from Bohol decided to it was time to pursue his dream to become a lawyer. He enrolled at Adamson Law School and tailored-fit his schedules so he could still work as a taxi driver. It meant going to school after a long day of driving. It meant spending his non-working hours either in the classroom or in the school library where he could borrow books that he couldn’t afford to buy.

Roy’s life story inspired his professors and classmates. On the first day of class, when asked to introduce himself, Roy never even thought of pretending to be someone other than who he was. He was a cab driver with a dream – to be a lawyer so he can help the poor.

Whenever passengers were hard to come by, Roy would park his cab and use the time to study. Sometimes, he had to be absent from school the whole day just so he could earn a bit more. Law school was not cheap. Good friends did help out, some by lending books, others by paying for school expenses. Sadly, one of these guardian angels, Nanay Mila, passed away while he was reviewing for the bar exam. He owed a lot to her and her carinderia.

On the day when the bar exam results came out, Roy hid from friends, choosing not to reply to text messages, and even changing his SIM card to avoid contact with classmates. By that time, he was already working for the Sacdalan Law Office in Sta. Cruz, Manila. His boss, Atty. Jorge Sacdalan, was Roy’s former professor. It was his boss and an officemate that shared the good news.

Rosalio of Bohol, son of Marcos and Rosalina Torrentira, was among the elite group that passed the 2013 bar examinations. Roy was now a lawyer! I asked him how it felt and what did he do upon hearing the good news. “I shouted out of pure joy. I couldn’t believe it,” Atty. Roy said. He also ran to the nearest church where he knelt down and prayed. His family was overjoyed upon hearing the good news.

There is this song by the Script, a popular pop/rock band, that is the lead singer’s own tribute to his deceased father. In it, the British singer-composer wrote:

I still look for your face in the crowd
Oh if you could see me now
(Oh if you could see me now)
Would you stand in disgrace or take a bow
Oh if you could see me now
(Oh if you could see me now)

If you could see me now would you recognise me
Would you pat me on the back or would you criticise me
Would you follow every line on my tear stained face
Put your hand on a heart that’s was cold
As the day you were taken away

Atty. Roy’s father is not around to celebrate his son’s difficult transition from ambulant vendor to lawyer but I am sure that he is very proud of his son. Poverty is tough and stubborn, but for a person who refuses to yield, it has no choice but to step aside and make way for those who have the guts to persevere.

Congratulations, Atty. Roy Torrentira, and please continue to make us proud! (Send your comments to toots.ople@yahoo.com)

Author: Susan Ople

Susan "Toots" Ople is the President of the Blas F. Ople Policy and Training Institute. She's an OFW and labor advocate based in the Philippines.

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  • juan_liwanag

    Dear Toots, please feature more stories like this whenever you encounter any. This kind of experience is what our people need to overcome their cynicism and fear that victory could not be had in a benighted country such as ours. I hope many OFWs would pay attention to this experience and the lessons it carries. Enough of the sisihan. Let us instead help one another and our country become better as place where people could make something of themselves.

  • bong_iskongbayan

    May Atty Torrentira’s tribe increase. Congrats!

  • toy,,ksa

    what an inspiring story…….. salute all those people who really striving hard despite of their financial hindrances……congrts,,

  • Jay ar

    I also have a meaningful story to tell. Masasabi kong karapat dapat at naaayon din.

  • Raul J. de Vera, Jr.

    What comes to mind is one question: “What’s your excuse now?” To say that this is an inspiring story is an understatement. Our OFWs and their families should learn from this story on how “long-term thinking” could benefit everyone. Love reading it till the end. Of course, everybody loves a winner!

  • Malourdes Nocumcabatlao

    Atty. Roy Torrentira good morning i be proud of you for those made to you when you studied but we have a few fortunate “kababayan” like you….but i’m relate you when i’m in studied also i’m from poor family i a worse experience i had with you..you know i’m graduated in college with my dish in breakfast, lunch and dinner only one green banana that cost P1.00 that i was eat everytime…so my potassium is very high and a big help to our own what we are getting poor….and less than i came to the school with only P2.00 my pocket money….for the whole day classes everyday…believe it or not, i was happened to me….cut it off… my stories during my college life…and i’m here i’m cry while i write to you my experiences…okey congratulations young Atty. Torrentira make it good to your profession being you….

  • Cristina S. Taro

    I know this person.. He was my senior back in College days at the University of Bohol, Liberal Arts Department.. Congratulations for a job well done ROY, hope to see u again PANYERO 🙂

  • Maribel L. Semacio Saeed

    Congratulations atty. Roy

  • EPA

    Wow what an inspiring story,amazing tlga! Parang fairy tale! Dream come true ha Atty. ROY oNE in a million ka! We salute you! CONGRATS and more power! Keep up d super A work GUD LUCK! MAY YOUR TRIBE INCREASE!

  • Atty. Roy

    I really loved the way Usec Toots wrote my story. Though some people thought those written were exaggerations, the people around me know it by heart to be true. I congratulate Usec Toots for a job well done. I cannot take the honors for this good story for I just play my role in life as what God wants me to portray. As the saying goes, “Life is best for those who are enjoying it, difficult for those who are analyzing it and worst for those who are criticizing it.We create our life according to what we see life to be.” 🙂 Thank you everyone. I love to see you all soon.

  • Atty. Roy

    Thank you sir. I am glad you liked it. Were it not for Usec Toots, this story would not be here written.

  • beverly

    congratz roy.u deserved it.

  • foobarph

    atty roy = inspiration + good example

  • Jinky Pascual Borela

    a guy truly worth emulating . . . congratulations Atty. Roy Torrentira!

  • pen

    Wow! very inspiring story Thumbs up to you Atty. Roy, Good luck and God bless you…

  • Ampie

    Good day Atty. Roy. I’m a 4th year law student, and your story really inspired me. The country needs more people like you.

  • alex m. flores

    atty, roy, i really inspired with your story….i’m sure your HUMILITY brought you in the pedestal of success.

  • Carlos A.Mauri

    A lot of people blame other people for the status of their life. Some blame their parents, some their luck, some to other circumstances but never blaming themselves. It is always our choice for what we want to become. “It is destiny of our choice”. Atty. Roy’s success came from no other than his perseverance and determination to overcome all odds. Congratulations Atty. Roy for a job well done.