Best that money can buy
“Already, there is a joke going around about lawyers being no more virtuous than prostitutes—they will do (or say) anything for a client if the price is right! The Integrated Bar of the Philippines should really start thinking more seriously about setting up a ‘vice squad’” (“Binay affidavit clearly useless,” Opinion, 6/12/15). As we all know, a “vice squad” is a division of a police force tasked with enforcing laws against prostitution, etc. Has the IBP failed miserably to “police” its ranks? Has it really gone that bad?
Touted as an organization to promote the nobility of the law profession, the IBP may have instead become a breeding ground for the world’s oldest profession! In most cases involving grand larceny or plunder, we are frequently treated to the droll spectacle of “abogados de campanilla” making fools of themselves by raising defenses that insult even a nonlawyer’s intelligence! How do they ever find the gall to say the most stupid things with a straight face? Truly, given the sheer magnitude of their clients’ thievery, they are “the best that money can buy”!
High-profile lawyers defending the Binay family and their gang of dummies against charges of looting public funds in the billions of pesos are falling all over each other in proclaiming that their clients are just victims of political harassment. And where common sense demands that they show any countervailing proof of their clients’ innocence, their resort to all kinds of gibberish and gobbledygook is shamelessly pathetic.
Take the defense that high-value estates belong to their clients who are legitimate businessmen, not dummies of the Binays. Lawyers speaking for them at the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee investigating the scams of the Binay family could only wave a single one-page, vaguely-worded document to prove their clients’ ownership over vast swaths of precious real and “royal” estate! In contrast to their usually finicky and show-offish penchant for verbosity in crafting other legal documents, one cannot help but chuckle in utter disbelief at the sheer recklessness that document bore silent witness to. The simplest formulation of a lease contract would yield a much more decent presentation. Worse, it was not even notarized—a dead give-away, an unmistakable indication of recent fabrication! And they have the temerity to tell the Senate, “That’s all we have, take it or leave it!”
If not prostitution, can stupidity ever be a ground for disbarment?
—ROGELIO S. CANDELARIO, [email protected]
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