Estelito Mendoza: Champion for “the wrong side”

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By Raïssa Robles

Estelito Mendoza picWhen obscenely rich and powerful Filipinos get into legal trouble, who do they turn to?

Estelito Mendoza.

When then President Joseph Estrada faced a Senate impeachment trial, who defended him?

Estelito Mendoza.

When former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently tried to skip the country ahead of an imminent electoral sabotage case, who went on her behalf to urge the Supreme Court to nullify a Watch List Order against her?

None other than Estelito Mendoza.

When cronies of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos needed to hold off government litigation, who helped them hang on to their ill-gotten wealth? You know the name.

Estelito Mendoza candidly conceded last year that he was always lawyering for “the wrong side”.

Still I find particularly rich in irony  the sight of Estelito Mendoza standing up for the human rights of his client, Gloria Arroyo.

It’s ironic because during Martial Law, Mendoza was the dictator’s legal henchman who helped the regime trample human rights.

Here is what Mendoza recently told the Supreme Court about the Watch List Order issued against his client Arroyo. He said the WLO violated Section 6 of the Bill of rights which states:

Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.

According to Mendoza, Arroyo -

is repeatedly being and continuously being subjected by the respondent DOJ Secretary (Leila de Lima) to successive WLOs, thereby unduly restricting and impairing her constitutionally-guaranteed right to travel indefinitely.

Mendoza wasn’t so solicitous and caring of human rights back in his Martial Law days. He was the solicitor general from 1972 to 1986. and he always won before the subservient Supreme Court.

That is to say, he won case after case which violated the rights of all Filipinos, except those in power of course.

His biggest landmark win was Javellana vs the Executive Secretary – where the Supreme Court ruled – as Estelito Mendoza had argued – that Marcos’ 1973 Constitution was ratified by the people through Citizens’ Assemblies. See my story entitled: Thank you Oliver Lozano for raising Supreme Court’s disgraceful past

Now, if you look at the Bill of Rights in Marcos’ 1973 Constitution, it looks as liberal as our present Bill of Rights.

But the truth was, we were not at all free during Martial Law.

On paper, we were free; but in reality our rights to travel, to free speech and press, to be secure in our persons and homes – were all restricted, thanks to Estelito Mendoza et al.

Estelito Mendoza was one of the top government officials who made sure to place legal handcuffs on our basic rights as a people.

One example: Ferdinand Marcos’ issuance of the Presidential Commitment Order (PCO) contained in Proclamation No 2045 “Proclaiming the termination of the State of Martial Law throughout the Philippines.”

This paper-lifting of Martial Law in 1981 had a section where Marcos gave himself the power to issue a “Presidential Commitment Order” or PCO – which in effect continued his Martial Law powers.

Simply put, the PCO allowed Marcos and his Martial Law machinery controlled by his military chief General Fabian Ver and his Defense Minister and Martial Law Administrator Juan Ponce Enrile to arrest without a warrant and detain indefinitely without charges anyone they believed was “thinking” of overthrowing the Marcos government.

Yes, they were mind readers. They believed they could enter people’s dreams and thoughts and if they thought you were about to commit subversion, you could be picked up so that you could be prevented from committing it.

Neat, huh.

This is contained in this book which I found in my late lawyer father’s possession:

Estelito-Mendoza-book-on-PC

As you can see, the book contains a piece by SolGen Estelito Mendoza vigorously defending the PCO after the Supreme Court had issued a landmark controversial ruling upholding the PCO in the case of Padilla and Morales.

The two were both detained using PCOs. By the way, Morales here is the same Horacio “Boy” Morales, Estrada’s former agrarian reform secretary, who was recently taken ill after a golf match.

In his piece, Estelito Mendoza argued that only the President who has full grasp of the national security situation can decide whose rights should be curtailed further. Estelito Mendoza concluded that:

Our Constitution wisely and with foresight reposed full faith and confidence on our Chief Executive in the matter of protecting our individual liberty, no less than preserving our national security.

What’s this? Back when the president was a thieving dictator, Mendoza argued that the constitution reposed full faith and confidence in his ability to protect Filipinos’ liberties? But now that the president is someone named Aquino, Mendoza is arguing that the president is, oh horror, violating the right to travel of his client, one Gloria Arroyo.

Last year, when Estelito Mendoza was asked about his sordid role in Marcos’ dictatorship and why he kept defending villains in litigation, he said:

I’m a lawyer. I don’t choose what cases I have. Those in the wrong side are most deserving of having lawyers.

I’m just doing my job and that’s what I have been trained for I have been at this for many years. I find great satisfaction performing my duty because I contribute to the administration of justice. I can assure you that I win my cases because I work hard.

You may not be aware of it but Estelito Mendoza recently won for Gloria Arroyo a plunder case involving the 2007 alleged anomalous sale of the old Iloilo airport. Last month, this case was thrown out.

If Marcos cronies Lucio Tan and Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco are both on Forbes’ Rich List today, they have Estelito Mendoza to thank for it.

Mendoza – and for a long time with the help of lawyer Gilberto Teodoro – kept the government from getting back the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth which even the widow Imelda Marcos claimed was secretly entrusted to Lucio Tan and Eduardo Cojuangco.

What recently came to light was Mendoza’s reach and influence, which continues to extend all the way to the Supreme Court.

Last month, the Supreme Court recalled a “final” decision which had ordered Lucio Tan’s Philippine Airlines to reinstate 1,400 flight attendants. It turned out that the dramatic reversal occurred after Estelito Mendoza wrote the Supreme Court questioning the reinstatement ruling.

I wonder how many more Estelito Mendoza letters have swayed the Supreme Court in their decisions. They’re not telling.

Another Supreme Court landmark ruling that favored Estelito Mendoza and his big bucks client Danding Cojuangco was issued under Chief Justice Reynato Puno’s watch. Years ago, when I interviewed Chief Justice Puno I had the impression of talking to a very decent and upright man. He told me in passing then that he used to work under Estelito Mendoza when the latter was Marcos’ SolGen.

It was for this reason that I felt very sad when I read the Supreme Court ruling in 2009 allowing San Miguel Corporation to convert 24% of the sequestered common shares into preferred shares. By that act, the Supreme Court denied the coconut farmers who were claiming the shares their voting rights and their board seats. Puno had cast a vote favoring San Miguel.

I can think of two other instances when Estelito Mendoza has had an impact on national issues.

One was in 2009 when his opinion was sought on the Spratlys island dispute. As the only living member of Marcos’ team that negotiated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Estelito Mendoza advised Congress that the country should tone down its position on the Spratlys. He said those islands should not be made part of the country’s archipelagic base because the Philippines did not have the military might to defend such a position.

In the light of what’s happening today, I wonder if that kind of early capitulation was the right approach to the dispute.

Another time Estelito Mendoza played a significant role was early last year, when in his capacity as a “former Solicitor General”, he asked the Supreme Court to waive the ban on midnight appointments so President Gloria Arroyo could appoint her third Supreme Court Chief Justice even after a new President had been elected by the people.

It’s quite interesting that Mendoza used his being a “former Solicitor General” – a post he held 25 years ago – to insert himself in the issue. I wonder who his real client really was here – Gloria Arroyo or a member of the Judicial Bar Council.

Again, in this case, he won before the Supreme Court.

I’ve interviewed Estelito Mendoza, a Harvard law school graduate, several times. He’s suave, even-tempered and brilliant in oral arguments. He can make white look black and vice versa. Plus he has a grateful army of former students, colleagues and subordinates scattered far and wide in the Philippine judicial and legal system.

And that’s why he’s Gloria Arroyo’s lawyer.

201 Responses to “Estelito Mendoza: Champion for “the wrong side””

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  1. 62
    Mel says:

    NOT ONLY DOES “… Mendoza’s reach and influence, which continues to extend all the way to the Supreme Court.”, but now it has also reached the Sandiganbayan.

    “After nearly 25 years of litigation, the Sandiganbayan has dismissed the ill-gotten wealth complaint filed by the government against business tycoon Lucio Tan,” a Marcos Crony.

    Did a letter take ‘nearly 25 years’ to arrive or was there a better one that a ‘decision was issued last June 11 [2012] on Civil Case No. 0005.’

    What if an ill-gotten wealth case is lodged against the Marcos widow, her children for unexplained wealth? WHO THEY’RE GONNA CALL?

    SINCE WHEN DID LUCIO TAN become a Doctor?

    Ill-gotten wealth case vs Lucio Tan dismissed

    by Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com
    Posted at 06/13/2012 4:58 PM
    Updated as of 06/13/2012 5:38 PM

    Mendoza asks gov’t to allow Allied Bank-PNB merger

    MANILA, Philippines – After nearly 25 years of litigation, the Sandiganbayan has dismissed the ill-gotten wealth complaint filed by the government against business tycoon Lucio Tan, his lawyer said.

    In a statement, Estelito Mendoza said: “It is Dr. Tan’s hope that with this decision of the Sandiganbayan, the PCGG [Presidential Commission on Good Government] will relent in its effort to lay claim to his assets and in restricting the exercise of full rights over those properties.”

    The decision was issued last June 11 on Civil Case No. 0005. The 5th division of the anti-graft court said the PCGG does not have evidence to forfeit the tycoon’s assets.

    The government started sequestering his shares of stock in major corporations in 1986.

    The anti-graft court, however, nullified the writs of sequestration separately in 1993 and 2006, saying there was no prima facie evidence to consider them as ill-gotten.

    The nullification of the sequestration was affirmed subsequently by the Supreme Court.

    Thus, “with the decision of the Sandiganbayan on the merits of Civil Case No. 0005, the illegality of the limitation by the PCGG of the exercise of the rights of Dr. Tan over his assets through the years has received confirmation,” Mendoza said.

    He said, however, that despite the explicit resolutions, the “PCGG continues to limit the exercise of Dr. Tan over his properties, the latest, being its opposition to the merger of Allied Bank and Philippine National Bank simply because the Allied Bank shares of stock of Dr. Tan are among the alleged ill-gotten wealth of Dr. Tan subject matter of Civil Case No. 0005.”

    Mendoza said that with the decision of the Sandiganbayan, the “Central Bank, the PDIC and the SEC will see their way clear to expeditiously give their respective approval to the merger of Allied Bank and PNB. The delay has not only been prejudicial to the stockholders but to the banking system and the economy of the country.”

    • 62.1
      Leona says:

      @Mel…how do the public really feel that the “prosecution” of this Tan case was handled “properly?” From the newsreports, some vital documents were allegedly “lost” by Mr. Jovita Salonga. How did that happen? Were those documents relevant to this case of Dr. Tan? Acc to the Sandiganbayan court, prosec even failed to present “Secondary” evidence on the causes of action, since it did not have “original copies” as primary evidence on hand. Why did the prosec fail if they had years to prepare for such secondary evidence presentation? Ano ba ang mga abogado ‘o prosec sa Ombudsman or PCGG? Competent ba talaga sila or not? Or it’s just “win some lose some?”

  2. 61
    jhun sugay says:

    Lawyers can bend the truth only as far as the guy on the bench allows him to. The high-priced lawyers are those who can provide the guy on the bench a way to bend the truth LEGALLY.

  3. 60
    Sarah says:

    I believe he is a hardworking lawyer with strong ties to the most influential people in the Philippines. You can not say he is on the wrong side when he practically saved his clients from being wrongfully accused. I think the author is acting like a drama queen.
    When you think about human rights, you only think of the poor people. Rich or wealthy people have rights, too.

    • 60.1
      raissa says:

      Oooh, that reasoning sounds like Imelda Marcos, the wealthy congressmen and the likes of Bernie Madoff.

      You’re in the wrong country, Sarah, where the rich have all the rights although they are very few in number. While the poor have very little.

      So, to equalize or balance the rights, you do have to think of the vast poor majority.

      It’s simple math but deadly and complicated politics.

      • 60.1.1
        Johnny Two III says:

        Who was it who said? “Those who have less in life should have more in laws”. Or something like that. Sarah, are you reading this?

  4. 59
    greybrown says:

    I looked at Atty. Estelito Mendoza as a FIXER.
    I donnu if it’s bad or good…but for the rich and can afford…Atty. Mendoza is always good thing around,

    • 59.1
      maria says:

      yes that is the right word “fixer”
      not because he is an excellent lawyer
      he is excellent fixer, having good in using connection and influence.
      that is the name of the game, in lawyering profession

    • 59.2
      maria2 says:

      want to correct my comment in previous one.
      what I want to say is, mendoza is an exceelent fixer not an excellen lawyer.
      grossly dirty lawyer.

    • 59.3
      jimmycoz says:

      We call it CHAMBER LAWYERING :lol:

    • 59.4
      Leona says:

      Not only that, he is the great “POST MAN” too! Talo ang LBC!

  5. 58
    OJ Simpson says:

    Nothing wrong with what Atty Mendoza is doing. The accused deserves a lawyer. That is guaranteed in the constitution. Its only normal you get what you pay for. You want a good defense? Hire the best lawyers…nothing is free in this world. Find me a doctor that will always treat a patient for free. You want that kind of society? Easy…move to north korea. These are facts of life in a democracy and a market economy.

    • 58.1
      maria2 says:

      yes you are correct OJ Simpson , it is for this reason that Filipinos should demand change in the judicial system by removing corrupt judges and justices who become source of connection of Atty. Mendoza.
      I would like to make a change starting from Corona.

    • 58.2
      Johnny Two III says:

      Nothing wrong with hiring the best lawyer, if it is for lawyering. But Atty. Mendoza is hired not as a lawyer but peddler of influence. Some of his cases are not won in court or court proceedings, but outside the court.

    • 58.3
      leona says:

      As long as no lawyer violates his Professional Responsibility Ethics, laws and to the courts. O.k. lang.

      • 58.3.1
        maria2 says:

        so ideal
        but sadly not happening in the real world
        winning is the name of the game = more money to the lawyers

        • 58.3.1.1
          leona says:

          lawyers, doctors, engineers, dentists, all and everybody loves to make more money. We don’t live in the world of Utopia yet, Madam. Tama ka, the real world muna tayo. Yup, “so ideal” because without even a drop of it, chaos and disorder follows. No human society will exist!

          • 58.3.1.1.1
            maria2 says:

            Observe, not even a drop of it can be seen.
            It is why in every sector of our society is in chaos.
            The world is so materialistic that even angels fear to tread.

            • leona says:

              2000 + years ago the world was also already materialistic. Not even Jesus Christ was excused from the materialisms of the so many. Don’t worry, in the next good life, it will not be like this.

  6. 57
    Marlene Howe says:

    It’s sad to think that the corrupt have the best lawyer and the people have been railroaded as usual. Why can’t some few good men of judges stop the evil to triumph? And for Medoza, you might be the best lawyer on earth but your soul is owned by the devil because not all that is legal is morally right. You have to answer to the Supreme Judge one day and there’s no way you can win!

    • 57.1
      maria2 says:

      Marilyn, the attraction of money, power , connection and influence are very strong.
      As a saying goes ” even monkeys laugh when they see money”.
      Many of those few good men, unfortunately, do not have balls or maybe do not care about other people. In the law profession, they got this so called brotherhood, once you dont blend with them goodbye your career. If you oppose the brotherhood, gone your clients and your beloved profession. That is why better hear no evil, see no evil and no talk against evil.

    • 57.2
      leona says:

      I don’t think he believes there is a Supreme Judge. If there is, he believes he’s the supreme One! He only believes “his law” and not “The Law.” And he has many disciples in that. Thus, rich clients goes out for him. May we hear Ms. Raissa if he handled a criminal case of a poor client unjustifiably accused in court and won it? Or a civil case not much value to him but to his client who also was deprived of something on a question of justice, equity, fairness on a principle of law? If he has,he might just get some mitigating circumstances in the next life whether he believes there isn’t one.

  7. 56
    Sable zablan says:

    One of these days, estelito will get to his Waterloo case. It may just be GMA’s. He is Star War’s Chancellor Palpatine, Darth Vader’s mentor.

  8. 55
    Johnny Two III says:

    In the US and elsewhere, it is not uncommom that criminals or the wrong side would hire the best lawyers. These best lawyers do not necessarily get them off the hook but try to get them a lighter sentence. They even advise their clients to admit guilt to obtain the lighter sentence. Anyone heard of a lawyer here do the same thing? Have the likes of the Mendozas, Fortuns, Flaminianos, etc. taken this route for their clients. Think Floyd Mayweather.

    • 55.1
      leona says:

      So far I haven’t heard one prosecutor to bargain with his client. If there is, and that prosecutor can’t be arranged, the judge can. So, where does the prosecutor stand? And so on all the way up to the highest court. Not that you can call one “the best lawyer” in that!

  9. 54
    Manny says:

    More important now that PNOY sees that the Freedom Information Act passed into law.
    Why delay when that was one of his election promises. Same with those in Congress .
    And people should know the reason for their hesitant to do so.

    And that all past and current SALNs ( Statement of Assets / Liabilities Networth ) of the SC
    justices be made public. Including that of Atty E. Mendoza and Ombudsman C. Morales.

    Don’t the legitimate press have access to these information?

    • 54.1
      raissa says:

      We don’t have access to the SALN of ALL the Supreme Court members and the Ombudsman.

      As for Atty. Mendoza, he can’t be compelled because he is not a government official.

      I will write a piece in the future on the FOI.

      • 54.1.1
        Manny says:

        We look forward for that FOI article , and please name exactly who are the senators /congressman opposing it. And its about time ABS-CBN reveals
        those SALNs.
        Many corrupt politicians, judges, even crooked lawyers are caught and convicted on
        none disclosure / misdeclation of assets / failed to pay tax.
        We need witnesses , proofs / records for that to be known , so how effective is the Witness Protection Program of the country?

        These rich crooks use accountants-lawyers that can be encouraged to step up and expose wrongdoings . Plus outside competent / uncorruptable auditors .
        But without a honest , well trained , decent paid N B I agents . esp the one that heads it , corruption will prevail.
        Justice without delay , prison sentences to the guilty will be a solution.

      • 54.1.2
        leona says:

        Don’t bother about Atty. Mendoza, he’s super rich! Tama si Ms. Raissa, he’s not a gov’t officials.

    • 54.2
      maria says:

      people like mendoza difficult to get records
      they know too much about the law
      they will give you a hard time

  10. 53
    keanleogo says:

    Just read the column of Malaya’s Amado Macasaet about “Judicial Independence” and would like to share with you all.

    Please click this link
    http://www.malaya.com.ph/dec16/edmacasaet.html

  11. 52
    Wendy says:

    Wow after reading the article above including the comments,all 109 of them, for which banter thoroughly got me entertained, I now consider myself educated to the max. I get that about the ice tea and the ‘origins’ of that chicken and the eggs. Truly educational,huh

    I read this when you posted it a few days before, Raissa but decided to read it again,this time ever so slowly, since I couldn’t sleep anyway. Also I wanted to check if there was something new on your website.Things are getting super interesting I can hardly wait for impeachment proceedings to begin. Let’s cross our fingers the “Cheap” Justice RC from Batangas will go through with the Senate trial.. to allow for changes to ‘righting’ the ‘wrongs’ within the judiciary.I’m sure there’s plenty.

    More power to you and merry Christmas to you and yours!

  12. 51
    CommonSense says:

    Thank you for your enlightening blog.
    There is something I don’t understand, and perhaps you can think about it if warranted:

    What PNoy is doing is COMMON SENSE in most developed worlds.

    If there is a supreme court justice who is clearly in violation of the constitution, then he should resign immediately. Who can misinterpret the simple sentence structure that says:
    “You cannot eat any food, except for rice.” For all those worldwide with any common sense, this means you can eat ONLY rice. You cannot get any clearer than this in the world of English grammar. In most developed countries where common senses tends to prevail, such a justice resigns. No questions asked.

    If someone clearly commits a major crime against the people (I am not even talking about taking drugs), then he should not be allowed to run for office. Also, people should not vote for such as person. But we have E running and coming in second.

    If you decide to be a senator, in most developed countries, it is common sense that there is so much work that you can’t do anything else. Also, as a holder of one of the highest positions in the land, the senator should not be compromised by a conflict of interest. That means, in most developed countries, it is common sense that senators shouldn’t be making movies and advertising skin care products (and considering the senate job as a part-time endeavor). The Philippines is a small country, so there is less work? Think again, the Philippines is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, and so any senator should have unlimited amounts of work to make the place better.

    Let’s talk about PNoy.

    What he is doing is pure common sense from the perspective of developed countries, where common sense prevails (most of the time).

    He wanted to hold a suspected criminal accountable by restricting her movement. In a developed country, if there is a suspect, the police can restrict his movement such that he is bound to stay within a particular area. This particular “she” is clearly a suspect. So he restricted her movement. What is wrong with that? There is a suspected terrorist. Shouldn’t we restrict that guy’s movement until we are sure that he is not a terrorist? Sure, the U.S. is holding a bunch of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo without charging them with anything. Is the U.S. doing it just to PERsecute them for no reason? I think not.

    He finds a justice in violation of the Constitution. So he wants that guy impeached because that bad boy will not resign. Isn’t it common sense to impeach the bad guy before he does any more harm? Is it being a dictator to want to impeach someone who is clearly in violation of the Constitution of the Philippines?

    Let’s think about this for a moment. If PNoy is doing all this just to get HL back, are the people gonna just sit there and let him get away with it?
    Look at the people he has surrounded himself with. Do we really think that the new ironlady will let him get away with it?
    One of the best ways to judge an individual is to look at his or her friends (not necessarily family members because you cannot choose them). So look at those surrounding PNoy.. Did he choose those whom he could order around as a dictator? Do any of those friends of his seem like they are in the mood for dictatorship?
    A person cannot be a dictator by himself. He needs the entire machinery. PNoy has no such machinery for dictatorship. Not even close.

    Let’s assume for a second that he is indeed trying to replace CJ with a friendly new CJ who would get him HL back. Why in the heck would he go through all this trouble just to do that? A much simpler option would have been for him to do a back-door deal with the current CJ to let him keep HL for something in return (say a ticket to Portugal for someone?). With CJ being accused of corruption, this would have been the least painless way to keep HL. This way, SC would have never rendered judgement on HL to begin with.

    What PNoy is doing is nothing special by any stretch of imagination. He is simply doing what is normal. He is simply doing what makes common sense.

    What is surprising is that many in the Philippines seem to mistake common sense for something sinister. One reason for this is that many have not experienced what it means to behave according to common sense because the whole society has been conditioned to think that what is abnormal is normal and that what is normal is fantasy.

    A guy wants to eliminate (or minimize) corruption, and he gets to be called a dictator.

    I know that many of these accusations are being drummed up by paid hacks. But these paid hacks are no dummies. They are doing it because they believe that enough people may believe it.

    I find it terribly sad to see a country’s president and leaders desperately trying to defend their actions when those actions are nothing more than efforts reflecting good common sense.

    Aren’t people born with common sense? Babies know a snake as a dangerous animal by instinct.

    I hope we start to think and act based on common sense…soon.

    • 51.1
      raissa says:

      Thank you for your very interesting take on common sense.

      Quite a number of lawyers in the Philippines twist common sense into a pretzel and many people believe them because they took up law and had much more schooling than the rest.

      • 51.1.1
        Steve says:

        Raissa, thank you. Hope more people will read your blog and support the cause to eradicate corruption.
        In the philippine daily inquirer today, dec 17, the ateneo de Manila law alumni association inc and the joint “Philippine judges association, metropolitan and city judges association of the Philippines, Philippine trial judges league” issued their support on the independence of the judiciary is the core of the “Rule of Law”.
        One ponders over whether these lawyers by profession have any “conscience”. How could the judiciary achieve its own decree of “no constituency, serve no majority or minority but serve only the public interest as they see it in accordance with their oath of office, guided only by the constitution and their own conscience and sacred honor”. They have consistently showed biased decisions favoring their patrons. Impeachment against the cj is not directed to the judiciary as an institution as they perceived. If we do not root out corruption now, the country is bound for bankruptcy in the foreseeable future. Let all examine their own conscience and support the efforts of the government to eradicate corruption. Hopefully someday they won’t have to lie to their grandchildren that the Philippine is not a sovereign republic because grandpa didn’t have the integrity to uphold the “rule of law”.

      • 51.1.2
        leona says:

        Yes, but some are just stupid also. Like a young American lawyer asking the doctor on the witness stand: Are you sure when you examined the corpse that it was dead? The doctors answered: Yes, I am sure. Lawyer: Why? Ans: Because the brains was on the pan where I placed it after removing it from the body. Hehehe…

        • 51.1.2.1
          maria2 says:

          just like what Cuevas was asking the prosecuting team, how they know Corona accumulated ill-gotten wealth?

          registered of deeds records tell so, how these properties, change hands
          and the SALN misdeclared?

          Only those who are with criminal minds do not understand what truth is.

    • 51.2
      Johnny lin says:

      @common sense
      Your take on common sense is right on the money. You must not have been back to the Philippines in a long time. Filipinos especially public servants, aside from having astute common sense and humorous nonsense, they have another sense, Crooked Cents(sense). This sense is their ticket to corruption.
      Example: one is applying for a permit, any kind, everything in the papers pertaining to the requirements is in order, perfect. Instead of making it easy for the applicant, he would scrutinize every letter on the papers looking for mistakes in spelling of the name or anywhere else. The moment the employee finds something, even how trivial and irrelevant, he would initiate the delaying process to force the applicant offer grease money. This is very common to old employees working in any government institutions, which they have claimed it their turf, because their financial responsibilities had become so massive to maintain with their meager salary. Public servants crooked sense is faultfinding. They have mastered this craft. Unsurprising was Corona calling PNoy a dictator. That is the norm of corrupt people as you said “what is abnormal is normal”. You are right.

  13. jhun sugay says:

    Lawyers can bend the truth only as far as the guy on the bench allows him to. The high-priced lawyers are those who can provide the guy on the bench a way to bend the truth LEGALLY.

  14. Sarah says:

    I believe he is a hardworking lawyer with strong ties to the most influential people in the Philippines. You can not say he is on the wrong side when he practically saved his clients from being wrongfully accused. I think the author is acting like a drama queen.
    When you think about human rights, you only think of the poor people. Rich or wealthy people have rights, too.

    • raissa says:

      Oooh, that reasoning sounds like Imelda Marcos, the wealthy congressmen and the likes of Bernie Madoff.

      You’re in the wrong country, Sarah, where the rich have all the rights although they are very few in number. While the poor have very little.

      So, to equalize or balance the rights, you do have to think of the vast poor majority.

      It’s simple math but deadly and complicated politics.

      • Johnny Two III says:

        Who was it who said? “Those who have less in life should have more in laws”. Or something like that. Sarah, are you reading this?

  15. greybrown says:

    I looked at Atty. Estelito Mendoza as a FIXER.
    I donnu if it’s bad or good…but for the rich and can afford…Atty. Mendoza is always good thing around,

  16. OJ Simpson says:

    Nothing wrong with what Atty Mendoza is doing. The accused deserves a lawyer. That is guaranteed in the constitution. Its only normal you get what you pay for. You want a good defense? Hire the best lawyers…nothing is free in this world. Find me a doctor that will always treat a patient for free. You want that kind of society? Easy…move to north korea. These are facts of life in a democracy and a market economy.

    • maria2 says:

      yes you are correct OJ Simpson , it is for this reason that Filipinos should demand change in the judicial system by removing corrupt judges and justices who become source of connection of Atty. Mendoza.
      I would like to make a change starting from Corona.

    • Johnny Two III says:

      Nothing wrong with hiring the best lawyer, if it is for lawyering. But Atty. Mendoza is hired not as a lawyer but peddler of influence. Some of his cases are not won in court or court proceedings, but outside the court.

    • leona says:

      As long as no lawyer violates his Professional Responsibility Ethics, laws and to the courts. O.k. lang.

      • maria2 says:

        so ideal
        but sadly not happening in the real world
        winning is the name of the game = more money to the lawyers

        • leona says:

          lawyers, doctors, engineers, dentists, all and everybody loves to make more money. We don’t live in the world of Utopia yet, Madam. Tama ka, the real world muna tayo. Yup, “so ideal” because without even a drop of it, chaos and disorder follows. No human society will exist!

          • maria2 says:

            Observe, not even a drop of it can be seen.
            It is why in every sector of our society is in chaos.
            The world is so materialistic that even angels fear to tread.

            • leona says:

              2000 + years ago the world was also already materialistic. Not even Jesus Christ was excused from the materialisms of the so many. Don’t worry, in the next good life, it will not be like this.

  17. Marlene Howe says:

    It’s sad to think that the corrupt have the best lawyer and the people have been railroaded as usual. Why can’t some few good men of judges stop the evil to triumph? And for Medoza, you might be the best lawyer on earth but your soul is owned by the devil because not all that is legal is morally right. You have to answer to the Supreme Judge one day and there’s no way you can win!

    • maria2 says:

      Marilyn, the attraction of money, power , connection and influence are very strong.
      As a saying goes ” even monkeys laugh when they see money”.
      Many of those few good men, unfortunately, do not have balls or maybe do not care about other people. In the law profession, they got this so called brotherhood, once you dont blend with them goodbye your career. If you oppose the brotherhood, gone your clients and your beloved profession. That is why better hear no evil, see no evil and no talk against evil.

    • leona says:

      I don’t think he believes there is a Supreme Judge. If there is, he believes he’s the supreme One! He only believes “his law” and not “The Law.” And he has many disciples in that. Thus, rich clients goes out for him. May we hear Ms. Raissa if he handled a criminal case of a poor client unjustifiably accused in court and won it? Or a civil case not much value to him but to his client who also was deprived of something on a question of justice, equity, fairness on a principle of law? If he has,he might just get some mitigating circumstances in the next life whether he believes there isn’t one.

  18. Sable zablan says:

    One of these days, estelito will get to his Waterloo case. It may just be GMA’s. He is Star War’s Chancellor Palpatine, Darth Vader’s mentor.

  19. Johnny Two III says:

    In the US and elsewhere, it is not uncommom that criminals or the wrong side would hire the best lawyers. These best lawyers do not necessarily get them off the hook but try to get them a lighter sentence. They even advise their clients to admit guilt to obtain the lighter sentence. Anyone heard of a lawyer here do the same thing? Have the likes of the Mendozas, Fortuns, Flaminianos, etc. taken this route for their clients. Think Floyd Mayweather.

    • leona says:

      So far I haven’t heard one prosecutor to bargain with his client. If there is, and that prosecutor can’t be arranged, the judge can. So, where does the prosecutor stand? And so on all the way up to the highest court. Not that you can call one “the best lawyer” in that!

  20. Manny says:

    More important now that PNOY sees that the Freedom Information Act passed into law.
    Why delay when that was one of his election promises. Same with those in Congress .
    And people should know the reason for their hesitant to do so.

    And that all past and current SALNs ( Statement of Assets / Liabilities Networth ) of the SC
    justices be made public. Including that of Atty E. Mendoza and Ombudsman C. Morales.

    Don’t the legitimate press have access to these information?

    • raissa says:

      We don’t have access to the SALN of ALL the Supreme Court members and the Ombudsman.

      As for Atty. Mendoza, he can’t be compelled because he is not a government official.

      I will write a piece in the future on the FOI.

      • Manny says:

        We look forward for that FOI article , and please name exactly who are the senators /congressman opposing it. And its about time ABS-CBN reveals
        those SALNs.
        Many corrupt politicians, judges, even crooked lawyers are caught and convicted on
        none disclosure / misdeclation of assets / failed to pay tax.
        We need witnesses , proofs / records for that to be known , so how effective is the Witness Protection Program of the country?

        These rich crooks use accountants-lawyers that can be encouraged to step up and expose wrongdoings . Plus outside competent / uncorruptable auditors .
        But without a honest , well trained , decent paid N B I agents . esp the one that heads it , corruption will prevail.
        Justice without delay , prison sentences to the guilty will be a solution.

      • leona says:

        Don’t bother about Atty. Mendoza, he’s super rich! Tama si Ms. Raissa, he’s not a gov’t officials.

    • maria says:

      people like mendoza difficult to get records
      they know too much about the law
      they will give you a hard time

  21. keanleogo says:

    Just read the column of Malaya’s Amado Macasaet about “Judicial Independence” and would like to share with you all.

    Please click this link
    http://www.malaya.com.ph/dec16/edmacasaet.html

  22. Wendy says:

    Wow after reading the article above including the comments,all 109 of them, for which banter thoroughly got me entertained, I now consider myself educated to the max. I get that about the ice tea and the ‘origins’ of that chicken and the eggs. Truly educational,huh

    I read this when you posted it a few days before, Raissa but decided to read it again,this time ever so slowly, since I couldn’t sleep anyway. Also I wanted to check if there was something new on your website.Things are getting super interesting I can hardly wait for impeachment proceedings to begin. Let’s cross our fingers the “Cheap” Justice RC from Batangas will go through with the Senate trial.. to allow for changes to ‘righting’ the ‘wrongs’ within the judiciary.I’m sure there’s plenty.

    More power to you and merry Christmas to you and yours!

  23. CommonSense says:

    Thank you for your enlightening blog.
    There is something I don’t understand, and perhaps you can think about it if warranted:

    What PNoy is doing is COMMON SENSE in most developed worlds.

    If there is a supreme court justice who is clearly in violation of the constitution, then he should resign immediately. Who can misinterpret the simple sentence structure that says:
    “You cannot eat any food, except for rice.” For all those worldwide with any common sense, this means you can eat ONLY rice. You cannot get any clearer than this in the world of English grammar. In most developed countries where common senses tends to prevail, such a justice resigns. No questions asked.

    If someone clearly commits a major crime against the people (I am not even talking about taking drugs), then he should not be allowed to run for office. Also, people should not vote for such as person. But we have E running and coming in second.

    If you decide to be a senator, in most developed countries, it is common sense that there is so much work that you can’t do anything else. Also, as a holder of one of the highest positions in the land, the senator should not be compromised by a conflict of interest. That means, in most developed countries, it is common sense that senators shouldn’t be making movies and advertising skin care products (and considering the senate job as a part-time endeavor). The Philippines is a small country, so there is less work? Think again, the Philippines is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, and so any senator should have unlimited amounts of work to make the place better.

    Let’s talk about PNoy.

    What he is doing is pure common sense from the perspective of developed countries, where common sense prevails (most of the time).

    He wanted to hold a suspected criminal accountable by restricting her movement. In a developed country, if there is a suspect, the police can restrict his movement such that he is bound to stay within a particular area. This particular “she” is clearly a suspect. So he restricted her movement. What is wrong with that? There is a suspected terrorist. Shouldn’t we restrict that guy’s movement until we are sure that he is not a terrorist? Sure, the U.S. is holding a bunch of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo without charging them with anything. Is the U.S. doing it just to PERsecute them for no reason? I think not.

    He finds a justice in violation of the Constitution. So he wants that guy impeached because that bad boy will not resign. Isn’t it common sense to impeach the bad guy before he does any more harm? Is it being a dictator to want to impeach someone who is clearly in violation of the Constitution of the Philippines?

    Let’s think about this for a moment. If PNoy is doing all this just to get HL back, are the people gonna just sit there and let him get away with it?
    Look at the people he has surrounded himself with. Do we really think that the new ironlady will let him get away with it?
    One of the best ways to judge an individual is to look at his or her friends (not necessarily family members because you cannot choose them). So look at those surrounding PNoy.. Did he choose those whom he could order around as a dictator? Do any of those friends of his seem like they are in the mood for dictatorship?
    A person cannot be a dictator by himself. He needs the entire machinery. PNoy has no such machinery for dictatorship. Not even close.

    Let’s assume for a second that he is indeed trying to replace CJ with a friendly new CJ who would get him HL back. Why in the heck would he go through all this trouble just to do that? A much simpler option would have been for him to do a back-door deal with the current CJ to let him keep HL for something in return (say a ticket to Portugal for someone?). With CJ being accused of corruption, this would have been the least painless way to keep HL. This way, SC would have never rendered judgement on HL to begin with.

    What PNoy is doing is nothing special by any stretch of imagination. He is simply doing what is normal. He is simply doing what makes common sense.

    What is surprising is that many in the Philippines seem to mistake common sense for something sinister. One reason for this is that many have not experienced what it means to behave according to common sense because the whole society has been conditioned to think that what is abnormal is normal and that what is normal is fantasy.

    A guy wants to eliminate (or minimize) corruption, and he gets to be called a dictator.

    I know that many of these accusations are being drummed up by paid hacks. But these paid hacks are no dummies. They are doing it because they believe that enough people may believe it.

    I find it terribly sad to see a country’s president and leaders desperately trying to defend their actions when those actions are nothing more than efforts reflecting good common sense.

    Aren’t people born with common sense? Babies know a snake as a dangerous animal by instinct.

    I hope we start to think and act based on common sense…soon.

    • raissa says:

      Thank you for your very interesting take on common sense.

      Quite a number of lawyers in the Philippines twist common sense into a pretzel and many people believe them because they took up law and had much more schooling than the rest.

      • Steve says:

        Raissa, thank you. Hope more people will read your blog and support the cause to eradicate corruption.
        In the philippine daily inquirer today, dec 17, the ateneo de Manila law alumni association inc and the joint “Philippine judges association, metropolitan and city judges association of the Philippines, Philippine trial judges league” issued their support on the independence of the judiciary is the core of the “Rule of Law”.
        One ponders over whether these lawyers by profession have any “conscience”. How could the judiciary achieve its own decree of “no constituency, serve no majority or minority but serve only the public interest as they see it in accordance with their oath of office, guided only by the constitution and their own conscience and sacred honor”. They have consistently showed biased decisions favoring their patrons. Impeachment against the cj is not directed to the judiciary as an institution as they perceived. If we do not root out corruption now, the country is bound for bankruptcy in the foreseeable future. Let all examine their own conscience and support the efforts of the government to eradicate corruption. Hopefully someday they won’t have to lie to their grandchildren that the Philippine is not a sovereign republic because grandpa didn’t have the integrity to uphold the “rule of law”.

      • leona says:

        Yes, but some are just stupid also. Like a young American lawyer asking the doctor on the witness stand: Are you sure when you examined the corpse that it was dead? The doctors answered: Yes, I am sure. Lawyer: Why? Ans: Because the brains was on the pan where I placed it after removing it from the body. Hehehe…

        • maria2 says:

          just like what Cuevas was asking the prosecuting team, how they know Corona accumulated ill-gotten wealth?

          registered of deeds records tell so, how these properties, change hands
          and the SALN misdeclared?

          Only those who are with criminal minds do not understand what truth is.

    • Johnny lin says:

      @common sense
      Your take on common sense is right on the money. You must not have been back to the Philippines in a long time. Filipinos especially public servants, aside from having astute common sense and humorous nonsense, they have another sense, Crooked Cents(sense). This sense is their ticket to corruption.
      Example: one is applying for a permit, any kind, everything in the papers pertaining to the requirements is in order, perfect. Instead of making it easy for the applicant, he would scrutinize every letter on the papers looking for mistakes in spelling of the name or anywhere else. The moment the employee finds something, even how trivial and irrelevant, he would initiate the delaying process to force the applicant offer grease money. This is very common to old employees working in any government institutions, which they have claimed it their turf, because their financial responsibilities had become so massive to maintain with their meager salary. Public servants crooked sense is faultfinding. They have mastered this craft. Unsurprising was Corona calling PNoy a dictator. That is the norm of corrupt people as you said “what is abnormal is normal”. You are right.

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