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Circus act in high court

01:25 AM August 25, 2015

IN OUR legal ethics class of 40 students, I recall our professor conducting a survey about our preference should we decide to practice law. Believe it or not, 29 wanted to join the law firm of Estelito Mendoza, eight saw themselves in some other law offices and three in government service.

There was no need to ask why the overwhelming majority chose that law firm. In many “interesting” decisions we studied in class, we could not help being in awe of how Mendoza could so easily sway the Supreme Court toward the direction of his arguments. He could even make it “flip-flop” or somersault.

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We were told it was like “suntok sa buwan” for ordinary practitioners to hope for any relief on their motions for reconsideration of the Court’s adverse decisions. But with Mendoza, even mere “letters” would work wonders!

The latest circus show in town set up by the Supreme Court is its decision to grant bail to Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile in his plunder case. Did anyone mention Mendoza is Enrile’s counsel of record? The lawyer who spoke to the media for Enrile was just a stooge. The Supreme Court risked plunging the country “back to (being a) banana republic” (Front Page, 8/22/15), as decried by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima who can’t believe this Supreme Court “ is capable of being partial to the so-called elite, and that its decisions can be grounded not on what the law is, but on who the party is.” What took her so long to realize that?

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It was a decision that even went beyond what Mendoza’s law firm had argued in its pleadings, as also noted by Inquirer columnist Solita Monsod (“How SC decision on Enrile bail came about,” 8/22/15): “What is incomprehensible… is that the reason … was not based on the legal arguments that he offered but… on humanitarian, age-related health grounds which he didn’t even ask for…” It reminds us of that anecdote about how a general, when told by his commander in chief to jump off a building, responded, “From what floor, sir?”

This Supreme Court did not even ask which floor! Heaven help us!

—GABRIELLE MICHELLE M. AGUILLERA, [email protected]

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