MANILA, Philippines – Veteran litigator Estelito “Titong” Mendoza will be collaborating with lawyers from the Ponce Enrile Reyes and Manalastas law firm to defend opposition senator Juan Ponce Enrile in his plunder case in connection with the multi-million-peso pork barrel scam.
Mendoza filed on Monday, June 16, an entry of appearance before anti-graft court Sandiganbayan, also requesting for copies of all pleadings, notices, resolutions, and other documents relative to Enrile’s case.
Among the Philippines’ highest paid lawyers, Mendoza was counsel in various high-profile cases involving alleged plunderers in the country.
Mendoza was the chief counsel in the impeachment trial of pardoned plunderer, former president, and now Manila mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada.
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Mendoza also lawyered for indicted plunderer, former president, and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He successfully secured a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Supreme Court (SC) that effectively allowed Arroyo to travel abroad, despite the existence of electoral sabotage charges lodged against her.
The legal luminary was also the counsel of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda when the government sued the couple for ill-gotten wealth.
Mendoza now shares his half-a-century litigation experience with Enrile’s defense team in his plunder case.
Along with Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Enrile faces plunder and graft charges before the Sandiganbayan over the illegal diversion of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus projects of dummy non-governmental organizations (NGOs) linked to businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
Napoles-controlled NGOs served on paper as beneficiaries of PDAF, a lump sum allocation intended for community development pet projects of lawmakers.
Both cabinet members under Marcos
Now 84 years old, Mendoza served as justice secretary and solicitor general under the administration of Marcos. Lawyering for the government at the time, Mendoza defended before the SC the 1973 Constitution that validated Marcos’ absolute reign over the country.
Mendoza won the case before the SC, paving the way for 20 years of despotic rule.
After Marcos’ ouster, Mendoza later on became a business executive of Philippine Airlines, Philippine National Bank, Petron, Meralco, and San Miguel Corporation.
The 90-year-old Enrile was also in the Marcos cabinet. He served as acting finance secretary, justice secretary, and defense secretary in that order.
Enrile eventually supported a coup d’etat that ended Marcos’ two-decade dictatorial rule and catapulted Corazon Aquino to the presidency in 1986.
Also on Monday, June 16, Enrile through Mendoza, filed a supplemental opposition to the court’s issuance of an arrest warrant and asked the court to dismiss his plunder case.
Enrile earlier filed an omnibus motion before the Sandiganbayan, asking the court to determine probable cause against him and allow him to post bail should an arrest warrant be issued.
Enrile cited his frail health in asking the court to allow him to post bail for his temporary liberty. (READ: Ahead of arrest, Enrile pleads liberty) – Rappler.com