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Counsel of ex-Palawan gov Reyes blasts Roque for ‘lawyering’

By: - Reporter / @JhoannaBINQ
/ 01:43 PM January 13, 2018

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and lawyer Ferdinand Topacio. INQUIRER file photos

One of the lawyers of former Palawan governor Joel Reyes called on Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Saturday not to use his position to push for cases he had personally handled as a private lawyer.

“He should choose—does he want to be presidential spokesman or he wants to continue his private practice?” lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said during the Saturday Forum at Annabel’s Restaurant in Quezon City.

“We find it objectionable that the former lawyer of the Ortegas, who’s now a member of the Cabinet, will use the bully pulpit of his position to promote cases which he has personally handled,” Topacio said.

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“We are bewildered, kami po ay nagtataka kung sino ang kinakatawan ni Secretary Roque nung nagsalita siya tungkol sa kaso,” he added.

(We are wondering who Secretary Roque was representing when he spoke about the case.)

Roque was a lawyer of broadcaster and environmentalist Gerry Ortega, who was killed allegedly due to his strong anti-mining advocacy. The principal suspect in the Ortega slay case is the former Palawan governor.

READ: Roque commends Ombudsman for seeking Joel Reyes’ rearrest

The spokesperson earlier said in an interview that he would meet Solicitor General Jose Calida and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to appeal the recent decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) nullifying the finding of probable cause and the issuance of an arrest warrant by the Puerto Princesa Regional Trial Court (RTC) against Reyes.

The spokesperson said that he had asked President Rodrigo Duterte’s permission to talk publicly about his opinion on the matter. However, Topacio said that Roque should not have done it in the first place if he was “loyal” to the President and respects his position.

“The President, in good faith allowed him, but he should not have sought permission in the first place kung mahal niya ang trabaho niya at kung mahal niya ang pangulo. At kung ginagalang niya ang posisyon niya bilang alter ego ng pangulo,” Topacio said.

(…if he loves his job and if he loves the President. And if he respects his position as an alter ego of the President.)

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“He should not have had even tried, it was unseemly, it was improper. He displayed grave lack of delicacy,” he added. /jpv

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TAGS: Ferdinand Topacio, Governor, Joel Reyes, Lawyer, Palawan, Roque
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