Law practice in the Philippines quite simply is not that straightforward. Ask lawyer Raymond Fortun who recently resigned as spookesman for alleged Chinese mafiosi Cedric Lee who, together with starlet Deniece Cornejo, are accused of viciously mauling variety show host Vhong Navarro and framing him for rape.
But Fortun has apparently been increasingly frustrated over the subjection of his client to the Philippines’ renowned Court of Public Opinion which, for several weeks, has buzzed with speculation and theories about the “truth” surrounding this much-celebrated case.
Fortun reportedly linked the prevalence of “inaccurate reportage” coming from the media and the “unprofessional actions” of the involved law enforcement agencies to Filipinos’ “apparent unpreparedness to temper their emotions” when regarding sensational cases like these.
Fortun in early February this year had originally taken on the job because he seemingly believed that Lee was the real victim in this case…
“I love the underdog… I enjoy the good fight, and I relish handling the toughest cases. Lawyering for me has never been about the money. It’s about the pursuit for truth and justice, it’s about fairness and equality,” Fortun’s Facebook status message read.
Turns out that this case was simply too tough for Fortun. By mid-February, he was already complaining about the incessant “trial by publicity” being copped by his client.
Indeed, in a statement to the press shortly after his resignation as Lee’s mouthpiece, Fortun may as well have been directly addressing Philippine Senators currently “busy” pointlessly grilling pork barrel scam snitches Benhur Luy and Ruby Tuason under the guise of the much-abused concept of the Senate “Blue Rubbon Committee”.
Fortun believes that people need to know more about the law and how it works especially in respecting due process before making judgements.
“All I wanted is for people to be fair, to let the evidence come out before they rendered a guilty verdict. More importantly, I just wanted people to respect the accused’s Constitutional rights to due process. But … this country is not ready to be fair,” he said.
In a letter to Lee reported on Sunday, Fortun similarly said that Filipinos are not prepared “to temper their emotions” when it comes to controversial cases.
There you go.
With their Senators (and even their President) behaving the same way, it’s hardly surprising that Philippine society overall mirrors these attitudes. The dynamic at work within the Senate “probe” into the pork barrel scandal, evident in the emotionally-charged manner with which Senators take turns grilling their celebrity snitches, without a doubt reflects the character of Philippine society itself.
[Photo courtesy PhilNews.ph.]
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