‘With lawyers like ours, who needs criminals?’
It is a fact of life in these parts that in every scam unearthed and denounced, there is always a law firm behind it. At no other time was this made more evident than during the dictatorship of Ferdinand E. Marcos. One of the biggest law firms was put in harness to set up layers upon layers of dummy or shell corporations to hide the true ownership of ill-gotten wealth.
Those lawyers were so smart such that government agents tasked to look for that wealth often found themselves facing a blank wall! Ask any lawyer and he will tell you, without batting an eyelash, which law firm that was. Hint: It’s still one of the biggest law firms in town and still raking it in! It has gotten away with all those shenanigans. That encouraged many other law firms to follow suit and grab their share of other crooks’ loot.
Now comes this headline news which reported that “Vice President Jejomar Binay’s law firm sent more than P100 million to a Hong Kong company using the same remittance agency embroiled in the alleged $81-million money laundering scheme under investigation in the Senate” (“Binay sent P100M to HK via Philrem,” Front Page, 3/17/16). According to the Anti-Money Laundering Council, the law firm involved in that money-laundering scandal is “Subido, Pagente, Certeza, Mendoza and Binay.”
This is alarming. Given the magnitude of the thievery, it sends the message that many lawyers are themselves scoundrels in cahoots with crooks! Their oath is to pay obedience to the law, not to make a mockery of it. What has the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to say about this? What has the Supreme Court to say about this? Is not an investigation into the possible criminal misdeeds of the lawyers in that firm warranted? Shouldn’t those found guilty of taking part in those crimes disbarred? Why is the bar (no pun intended) so low when it comes to measuring the honor and integrity of lawyers? As the saying goes, with lawyers like ours, who needs criminals?
—RAMON NORMAN TORREFRANCA, [email protected]
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