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San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet

A veritable fanatic of the Internet. His avocation is teaching while his main vocation is practicing the much maligned law profession. Currently teaching Constitutional Law at the FEU Institute of Law and a guest lecturer at the De La Salle University teaching "Freedom and Regulation in Cyberspace" in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication. He is married to his beautiful Ateneo law school classmate and is blessed with a daughter and a son.

Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Where Was Katrina Legarda?

Today was the first day of the preliminary investigation for the rape case and where lawyers from both sides appeared for the first time before the City Fiscal’s Office of Olongapo City. The preliminary investigation was handled poorly by the City Fiscal. But that is another story.

From the defense is the likeable and very competent son of the late Sen. Francisco “Soc” Rodrigo, Atty. “King” Rodrigo, who was the head of the litigation department when both of us worked at Quisumbing Torres & Evangelista, the Philippine office of BakerMcKenzie, the largest law firm in the world.

Seated behind King Rodrigo was Ed Berenguer, a very able corporate lawyer, a tennis mate, and a law professor at the Ateneo many many years back.

I also saw my Ateneo batchmate, Emmanuel "EJ" Peña of Sycip Salazar Law Offices, the lawyer with the monkish pate and his Sycip boss, Joe Justiniano, a well-versed litigator trained ironically, under the wings of the late Sen. Jose W. Diokno, and cousin to an equally famous person, the acknowledged OB-GYNE expert of the UST Hospital and well-loved professor at the UST Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Zayda Noblejas-Gamilla.

But of all the high-profile lawyers, where was Katrina Legarda?

Her absence during the first hearing was not only noticeable, it was disastrous!

For someone who appears on an almost daily basis on television and heard on radio since she was retained, Atty. Legarda should have realized that as much as this case is going to be a looming court battle, perception and winning the hearts and minds of her fellow countrymen are all part and parcel of the war in the court of public opinion.

Her absence on the crucial first day seemed to suggest that she was not prepared to take the fight to the other camp. But only the night before, she appeared confidently in Ces Drilon’s ANC show. So, why did she leave the prosecution of the rape complaint to the other lawyers?

And what is this notion of an all-girl legal team? It was a sexist strategy designed to showcase the legal prowess of Amazon litigators OR the lack of it! Rather than employ lawyers on the basis of gender, she should have retained the best and the brightest minds in criminal procedure. She said Atty. Rogelio Vinluan, former partner and now, of-counsel to the ACCRA Law Offices will be advising the team but where was he as well? Like it or not, two genders are better than one!

We know that based on published reports, there is a strong prima facie case against the 6 US Marines but without her and left to the devices of the other lawyers, the defense has scored round 1 of the battle. If the case is later dismissed, Katrina Legarda should not blame media, the VFA or the Chief City Prosecutor of Olongapo City for favoring the Americans. It will be a defeat that she alone must bear full responsibility.

Atty. Legarda, it is still not too late to show your wares. As Demosthenes once said: “He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day!”

So, fight the good fight! We are watching you!


Blogger Rizalist said...

I wish they had HE=MEN defending, like three grandfatherly statemen, assisted by young bucks who look like Tom Cruise. I've made this point at MLQ3's that the procedures are international political theatre. I would agree with you: we had a bad casting director, even if we have the hometown advantage. YOU would have done better, just on the "optics".

10:27 PM  
Blogger Karl M. Garcia said...

Fianally Rizalist,

The opinion you wanted to hear came.....

Sir Edwin,

I thought that was supposedly a serious preliminary , why was it everyone was laughing at the start and the ladies seem to laugh when they do their what do you call this..counter....

11:34 AM  
Anonymous desune said...

manolo is reporting that you blogged that the prosecutors got whipped. he must be sleepy like

the truth is you already gave the prosecutors the playbook--> run out the clock.

9:38 PM  

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