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  • Writer's pictureLeonora Lo-oy

Ice candy vendor becomes local court judge


Nothing beats hard work and dedication. This was proven by a newly appointed Municipal Trial Court judge in the Cordillera, Hon. James Abalos Fernandez.


Judge Fernandez is among the 51 new Municipal Trial Court judges in the country. He was assigned to the 2nd Municipal Circuit Trial Court in Tublay-Atok, Benguet.

Having built his career from humble beginnings, Fernandez dedicates this new milestone in his life to his late parents.


“I dedicate my success to my parents, who are now both in heaven. I hope I made you proud up there, Mama and Papa!” he wrote on Facebook.


Working student


Fernandez, who is also a Certified Public Accountant, recounted in a Facebook post what he had been through before he got to where he is now.


The new judge narrated he was born to a carpenter father and an ambulant vendor mother in Kalinga. At the age of 10, he lost his dad. This prompted him to sell ice candy to help his mom whom she described as a ‘very industrious woman’.

Apart from ice candy, Fernandez also sold banana cue, barbeque, ‘palamig’, ‘halo-halo’, lumpia, and hot cake in his elementary to high school days to cope with meager resources. He likewise helped his mother cook food that she sold and exchanged for rice or vegetables in Bulanao and neighboring areas.


To earn money for college, he continued being a working student. On school days, he was a student assistant at the library, and in the summer, he worked in government offices under the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES).


After becoming a Certified Public Accountant, he pursued law. At the time, he was already working at the Local Government Unit of Baguio City.


He passed the Bar exam in 2014 and began his career as a Public Attorney in 2016.


Seven years later, he is now in charge of a Municipal Trial Court.

People behind his success


Fernandez thanked the people behind this achievement, citing that they are the ones who helped him get to his position.


“I am very grateful to all the people who have helped me to be in this position right now especially to my Mom, my family and relatives, my bosses and colleagues in my work, acquaintances, and to all my friends,” he stated.


He also acknowledged the Creator saying, “of course, I am very thankful to our Lord God who is always there keeping His promises to help, strengthen and uphold me.”


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