File photo by Lian Buan/Rappler
The Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), earlier conducted the preliminary conference for the election protest that former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr filed against Vice President Leni Robredo.
Marcos himself attended the conference, along with another surprising addition to his team – veteran lawyer Estelito Mendoza.
Marcos' lead counsel George Garcia said Mendoza sought to be recognized as a "collaborating counsel" but he was not able to participate because he wasn't part of the formal entry of appearance.
While Mendoza is not yet officially part of the team, Garcia said the veteran lawyer's "wisdom" would help them with the case against Robredo.
"There were talks that he would be part of the team. We have yet to know in our next meeting," said Garcia in Filipino.
"His wisdom [would be a big help] kasi napakagaling na lawyer, na-ga-guide kami (because he's a brilliant lawyer who can guide us). Siya ay sanay na sanay (He's used to) dealing with the Supreme Court."
Mendoza is known for his close ties to the Marcoses. He served as solicitor-general under the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos from 1972 to 1986. He was also the lawyer of the Marcos couple when they were facing charges over their ill-gotten wealth. (READ: Estelito Mendoza and his 2017 comeback in plunder cases)
Recently, Mendoza also managed to help 6 detained Ilocos Norte officials secure a ruling from the Court of Appeals (CA) for their provisional release.
The 6 provincial officials, however, remain under the custody of the House of Representatives, which has refused to recognize the CA ruling. They had been detained over their refusal to answer questions on Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos' alleged misuse of P66.45 million in tobacco funds.
Former senator Marcos and his lawyers expressed confidence after the PET conducted the preliminary conference, saying it appears that the recount of votes would proceed. (READ: Bongbong vs Leni: 2016 'election fingerprints' in possible recount areas)
Will Mendoza officially join Marcos' legal team? – Rappler.com