Rundown: High-profile cases of Estelito Mendoza, Marcos Jr.’s new lawyer

November 18, 2021 - 5:23 PM
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A photo of Atty. Estelito Mendoza during the the Good Conduct and Time Allowance (GCTA) hearing in September 2019 (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

Lawyer Estelito Mendoza, also the former solicitor-general, joined the legal team of presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to handle petitions that challenge his candidacy.

Reports said Mendoza became the legal counsel of Marcos Jr. for the cancelation case on November 15 based on his notice of appearance.

The veteran lawyer has gained a reputation from winning high-profile cases of top politicians. These include the controversial acquittal of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Bong Revilla Jr. from corruption cases.

Mendoza, who also defended the implementation of Martial Law in the country during the Marcos period, made another small win for the late dictator’s son.

Vic Rodriguez, Marcos Jr. spokesperson, told CNN Philippines that the 91-year-old lawyer got the Commission on Elections to grant the presidential aspirant a seven-day extension to respond to the first petition to cancel his COC.

The first petition was filed on November 2, therefore, Marcos Jr. was supposed to respond last November 16.

Poll spokesperson James Jimenez, who was late in the news on the extension that Rodriguez broke to the media, later confirmed that the new deadline is on November 22.

Rodriguez also said Mendoza “volunteered” to be Marcos Jr.’s legal counsel.

Mendoza’s high-profile (and controversial) wins

Here are some of the controversial cases that Mendoza handled and won in his long career.

1. Bong Revilla’s acquittal

On Dec. 7, 2018, Sandiganbayan acquitted Revilla of all plunder charges relating to the pork barrel scam where he pocketed more than P200 million in kickbacks. Mendoza and Ramon Esguerra were Revilla’s lead counsels.

2. Sudden reversal of a nine-year-old labor case

A decision of a labor case against the Philippine Airlines back in 2009 that was in favor of the petitioners got reversed in August 2018 or nine years later.

The case was resurrected after Mendoza, who later became PAL’s counsel, wrote letters to the Supreme Court.

3. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s acquittal

In July 2016, the Supreme Court acquitted Arroyo of all plunder charges related to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes fund scam. She was detained at the Veterans Memorial and Medical Center for four years since her arrest in 2012.

3. Juan Ponce Enrile’s bail

In August 2015, Enrile, who was also detained due to plunder charges in relation to the pork barrel scam as Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada, was granted bail by the Supreme Court.

Extension violates election rules, petitioners argue

In a statement on November 18, former High Court spokesperson Theodore Te reminded Comelec about the consequences after granting the respondent’s request for more time.

Te represented the petitioners challenging Marcos Jr.’s presidential bid.

“Petitioners reminded the Comelec that the consequence of granting respondent’s motion for more time would be for the Comelec to flout its own rules, which the Supreme Court had already ruled in previous instances as grave abuse of discretion,” Te said.