Here he comes again: “Marcos solgen is Bong Revilla’s lawyer” (Inquirer.net, 1/12/17). Lawyer Estelito Mendoza, the lawyer who won bail in the Supreme Court for former senator Juan Ponce Enrile on an unheard argument (“humanitarian grounds”), is back to take up the cudgels for former senator Bong Revilla. He is the same lawyer who also won a quick acquittal in the Supreme Court for former president Gloria M. Arroyo, to the consternation of Ombudsman Conchita Morales Carpio (a retired Supreme Court justice) who thought she had an air-tight case.
Both Revilla and Enrile are facing non-bailable plunder charges for allegedly pocketing hundreds of millions of their “pork barrel” funds. But while Enrile is now free as a bird, Revilla has been under detention for years. What took Revilla so long to seal the deal with the lawyer who may be the only one holding the key to his freedom from further incarceration?
Another former senator, Jinggoy Estrada, is also under detention without bail for similar charges. What is he waiting for? Why hasn’t he hired Mendoza yet?
With all due respect, we think Mendoza in his very ripe old age should do the country a favor by retiring from law practice and desist from defending high-profile government officials accused of massive corruption. He should be writing his memoirs instead. Nine out of 10 lawyers hereabouts concede that he is one tough act to cross swords with in any court of the land, more so in the Supreme Court. The playing field is simply not even with his imposing presence in any courtroom.
Mendoza has that reputation of not losing any important case. Why judges and justices defer to him so much has been a puzzlement since time immemorial. Rightly or wrongly, it was generally believed though that during his time as the solicitor general of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, no one could get appointed to the judiciary without passing through him.
ANGELI O. MARCONI, [email protected]
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