‘Super’ lawyer Mendoza to defend Sara in confidential fund cases

‘Super’ lawyer Estelito Mendoza to defend Sara in confidential fund cases

/ 05:05 AM May 29, 2024

Lawyer Estelito Mendoza —photo by Noy Morcoso/INQUIRER.net file photo

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Sara Duterte has tapped veteran lawyer Estelito Mendoza to represent her in three certiorari petitions before the Supreme Court over the controversial P125 million confidential fund she received in 2022.

The 94-year-old Mendoza served under former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. as solicitor general from 1972 to 1986.


Touted as a “super” lawyer, Mendoza had represented several high-profile politicians before the Sandiganbayan and Supreme Court, among them former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Sen. Ramon Revilla, and Juan Ponce Enrile, the President’s chief legal adviser.


READ: VP accused of spending P125 million in confidential funds in 19 days

In a 16-page consolidated comment dated May 9, Mendoza said the high court granted his legal representation of Duterte in resolutions issued on Jan. 30 and Feb. 6.

According to the Supreme Court website, three separate pending petitions are challenging the constitutionality of Duterte’s P125 million confidential fund.

READ: Sara Duterte confirms requesting P125M secret fund for OVP in 2022

The main petitioners are lawyer Christian Monsod, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, lawyer Howard Calleja and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro.

In calling for the dismissal of these petitions, Mendoza argued that none of the appeals managed to present an “actual case or controversy.”


READ: SC to VP Sara: Answer petition on constitutionality of OVP’s P125M CF

Case or controversy

“Simply put, the ‘case-or-controversy’ requirement of the Constitution bans this court from deciding ‘abstract, hypothetical or contingent questions’ lest the court give opinions in the nature of advice concerning legislative or executive action,” Mendoza said.

Even if the high tribunal is vested with judicial power, it does not follow that it should also resolve every question it may have the authority to answer, he added.

Mendoza said the petitioners also failed to show that they would suffer or have suffered “concrete injury resulting from the act supposedly committed by respondent VP Sara ‘with grave abuse of discretion.’”

“The petitioners simply made a blanket allegation that they are taxpayers or concerned citizens but without the constitutional requirement of justiciability,” he said.

The petitions for certiorari filed last year by Monsod and Castro asked the Supreme Court to declare the transfer of P125 million in confidential funds from the Office of the President (OP) to Duterte’s office unconstitutional.

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The confidential funds of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) were part of the P221.4 million in contingent funds released by the OP to the OVP in December 2022.

TAGS: 2022 OVP confidential funds, Estelito Mendoza, Supreme Court

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