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Sunday, 13 September 2015

Disability doesn’t stop law student from pursuing dream

Equal to the task. Antonie Bendanillo, a third-year law student at Southwestern University, says physically-disabled people like him should not think of themselves any less. 

THE last thing 29-year old Antonie “Tonton” Eduard Bendanillo wants is to be useless.

Bendanillo, a third-year law student at the Southwestern University (SWU), had both of his fore arms amputated after he touched a live wire when he was 12.

“I thought my life would end that very moment,” he said, recalling the incident that nearly fried him alive.

“My arms were totally damaged and I felt like my legs exploded,” he said.

Back to square one

That incident happened on the summer of his first year in high school.

He spent the next four years and eight months in the hospital and another year to fully recover at their home in Tabango, Leyte.

The doctor told him he could not walk again. After years of no exercise, his leg muscles had atrophied.

Bendanillo, though, didn’t give up. Like a toddler struggling to take his first steps, he learned how to walk again.

He also practiced holding a pen and writing using his upper limbs.

“I have regrets due to the permanent disability it caused but (I am) thankful at the same time because it allowed me to see more of my direction in life,” Bendanillo said, noting he had long accepted his fate.


“I take it as a challenge; whatever trials that come, I bear it in a positive way,” he added.

In 2012, he graduated with a degree in political science at the University of San Jose-Recoletos. He first studied law there before transferring to the SWU this semester.

Bendanillo lives with his sister while he studies.

He is the third of five siblings of a government employee and a housewife.

Recording discussions using his phone helps him keep track of his lessons.

Atty. Godwin Manginsay, SWU chief legal counsel and a law professor, said they give Bendanillo extra time to complete the exams.

Coming from a place that he describes as filled with people who usually take the law into their own hands, Bendanillo said he wants to convince the public to place their trust in the justice system.

His uncle’s death while in prison also pushed him to take a career in law, saying the former did not survive to prove his innocence against a homicide charge for allegedly causing death to a minor.

Bendanillo said physically-disabled people like him should not think of themselves any less.

“Continue to strive for your dreams. There may be opportunities that only we could grasp and not the normal people,” he said. 

Source : Sun Star , 12th Sep 2015 

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