Cuevas back to ‘energize defense’

The so-called energizer and father of the defense panel is back after resting due to illness

HE'S BACK. Lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas is back on the podium.

MANILA, Philippines – The defense’s energizer is back.

After 2 days of absence, lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas returns for the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona. Cuevas has been suffering from vertigo.

Wearing his signature white suit, Cuevas showed up on Wednesday, March 21, or Day 33 of the impeachment trial.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile greeted Cuevas when he entered the appearances for the defense.

“Welcome back, counsel. I hope you have recovered from your vertigo.”

Cuevas wanted to apologize for his absence, saying it was not intentional. Enrile, his fellow octogenarian, said there was no need to say sorry “sapagkat tao lamang tayo” (we are just human). (Watch the video below.) 

A former Supreme Court associate justice and justice secretary, Cuevas is already 83 years old but has shown wit and energy on the floor. He is known for frequently saying the line “Irrelevant, immaterial, impertinent” during the prosecution’s presentation of witnesses and evidence. 

Defense lawyer Joel Bodegon acted as lead counsel in the 2 days that Cuevas had to rest at home.

Cuevas’ absence was felt not just by defense counsels but also viewers of the trial.

‘Like a father to us’ 

Defense spokesperson Tranquil Salvador III has referred to Cuevas as the “energizer of the defense.”

In an interview before the trial, defense counsel Jose “Judd” Roy III said the panel has “tried to survive even if our leader was not with us.”

“I think this sort of lays to rest any concerns about whether or not the team can perform on its own.”

Roy added, “He’s like a father to us, a strict father to us so we try to be very careful [in handling the case].” – 

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