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This picture paints a thousand words

12:05 AM July 23, 2016

What’s wrong with that photo on the front page of the July 16 issue of the Inquirer which was captioned, “Upbeat. Former Vice President Jejomar Binay chats with lawyer Estelito Mendoza after posting bail at the Sandiganbayan on Friday”? Everything.

Cases of graft, malversation and falsification of public documents have just been filed in the Sandiganbayan against Binay and his son, former Makati City mayor Junjun Binay, which are all bailable offenses. Ramon Tulfo asked in his Metro column in the same Inquirer issue (“Evidence of alleged plunder”), why on earth were they not indicted for plunder which is nonbailable, considering that the amount involved was P2.28 billion?

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If a picture paints a thousand words, that one of Binay and Mendoza together spoke volumes. Why is Mendoza the favorite lawyer of people accused of plunder, a crime committed by public officials who help themselves to hundreds of millions of public funds that should have been spent for public purpose and benefit?

Mendoza has been at the forefront of most court battles involving the Marcos family and alleged Marcos cronies—and just recently, former senator Juan Ponce Enrile (supposed to be a brilliant lawyer himself who is now accused of plunder). The caption did not say he is now Binay’s lawyer, too, but their body language said he will be. The mischievous joke going around is, Mendoza is a damn good lawyer only people accused of amassing enormous ill-gotten wealth and plunder can afford his fees.

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And let’s not forget. Mendoza is the only lawyer known to have enjoyed the unique privilege of writing letters to the justices of the Supreme Court about a case he handled without the other party knowing about it until it was too late. That is a big no-no to other lawyers who still value their license to practice law. It is said to be a form of influence-peddling. That is the bigger picture that freaks us out.

—ANGELI O. MARCONI, [email protected]

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TAGS: estelito mendoza, Jejomar Binay, Juan Ponce Enrile, Junjun Binay
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