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‘Pro bono’ counsel long-time Enrile friend

/ 12:02 AM September 04, 2015

Allow me to clarify a couple of points on the letter titled “Special treatment, courtesy of law practice’s biggest gun” (Opinion, 9/2/15).

Firstly, representing Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile in those cases as principal counsel likewise is the law firm Ponce Enrile Reyes & Manalastas with lawyer Eleazar B. Reyes as the primary handling counsel. Secondly, together with my associates, we are representing Senator Enrile in those cases on a pro bono basis, or more appropriately put, on a “friendship basis.” The statement in the letter that it was because of Enrile’s “enormous wealth (which) has enabled him to hire the biggest gun in law practice” is completely unfounded. Senator Enrile and myself have been close friends since the 1950s. That both of us have honed our skills in litigation has drawn us closer to each other.

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As to the comments on the “Enrile Decision,” which is still pending, I would suggest that those who really would like to understand and comment on the decision, endeavor to read the pleadings filed by the parties in the cases. It is somewhat regrettable that notwithstanding our motions for hearing on the cases, the Supreme Court did not hear oral arguments on the cases.

Although likely not intended the way it is written, I appreciate Marites dela Merced’s compliment about my “convincing and penetrating power” in arguing before the Supreme Court. I would only like to state that I work hard on every case I handle, whether pro bono or for a fee, thinking out exhaustively the strategy, endeavoring to produce the simplest and most persuasive pleading, mustering in the effort all of the learning and experience I have acquired in my more than 60 years of law practice. My Roll of Attorneys Number is 4441.

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The reward is not in the “fee” that is earned; in the language of US Justice Benjamin Cardozo, “… the great truth will have been learned that the quest is greater than what is sought, the effort finer than the prize, or rather that the effort is the prize—the victory cheap and hollow were it not for the rigor of the game.”

Parenthetically, to share with aspiring lawyers the product of my experience, I deliver every school year two lectures to students of the UP College of Law, one to first year students on the topic “So You Want To Be A Lawyer? Expectations vs. Reality: What lawyering is all about”; and to senior students “The Art of Litigation: Practical Suggestions in Winning a Case Before a Court.”

—ESTELITO P. MENDOZA

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TAGS: Eleazar B. Reyes, Estelito P. Mendoza, Juan Ponce Enrile, Ponce Enrile Reyes & Manalastas
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