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Legal defense tactics for Mike Arroyo

/ 07:07 PM June 20, 2012

Graft raps filed vs Mike Arroyo in helicopter scam—

JOSE MIGUEL ARROYO, the beleaguered husband of detained former president Gloria Arroyo, needs the best defense lawyer in the country. I know exactly the guy for him.

Mike should check out a name partner at Obra, Cadabra Law Office, whose ad says, “We make the charges disappear.” This prestidigious firm is the best-kept secret in Philippine law—and its rates are economical, too.


I spoke to Atty. Manny Obra in his office on the second floor of a dimly lighted building on Nueva Street, near Escolta. He was just finishing his lunch, sopping up tomato sauce from a can of sardines with a pan de sal.

“Yes, I’d be Mike Arroyo’s best bet,” he half-yelled over the whir of an aged electric fan, spewing bits of tomatoey crumbs on the legal documents on his table.

A framed diploma on the wall said Obra graduated from D’Excellent School of Law in Pandacan. Apparently, he’s “the only graduate of that institution to become a bar notcher.”

“For Mike, I can design a set of new legal defense tactics that will turn Philippine jurisprudence on its head. He just has to call my number, and we’re in business.”

In Mike Arroyo’s case, Obra said he might tweak the doctrine of res judicata, which says a person who has been held liable for a wrongdoing cannot be held liable a second time for it.

“I will argue that Mr. Arroyo has already been convicted in the court of public opinion, perceived as a thieving crook,” Obra said, slapping the table. “Under res judicata, he should not be held liable again, this time in a court of law, for actually being one.”

Brilliant! There are more novel defense tricks in his legal satchel. Here are just a few he mentioned:


Res lubricata: “This is a truly magical doctrine because no one sees what happens under the table. You need an en banc panel, meaning you secretly assure the judges that the lubricant for their palms is already en the bank.”

Res medicata: “I can also resort to this doctrine, but it’s so overused its credibility has suffered. Still, when your client shows up with a neck brace, or on a wheelchair, or suddenly claims hypoglycemia, prosecutors are forced to give the benefit of the doubt, potentially leading to leniency, or hopefully, even acquittal. Mike, I think, has a heart condition that should come in handy.”

Unfortunately, I said, the most credible argument for a claim of res medicata is if the defendant actually dies.

“That’s res in peace. I don’t believe Mike needs to go that far.”

Elective prosecution: “My client cannot be held criminally liable because the People of the Philippines, your Honor, are prosecuting him simply because his wife won an election through questionable means.”

Temporary inanity: “It’s the ‘I was just kidding’ defense. Mike was just pulling a cute prank by selling old choppers as brand new to his cop friends. He suffers from a touch of automatism, which in law means the performance of actions without conscious thought.”

So pulling a lucrative prank is so second nature to Mike, that he shouldn’t be held criminally responsible if second nature kicks in when he sees a chance to kid the public out of a few million bucks?

“Exactly. I know that makes him out to be a congenital grafter, but we can dilute the bad aftertaste of a temporary inanity plea by also claiming the next line of defense.”

Diminished rapacity: “This an offshoot of diminished capacity. Because Mike was just kidding, his impulse to be greedy was impaired or diminished. Instead of rapaciously scamming the government with the five used helicopters he had, he only sold two as brand new.

“Ergo, he cannot be held fully liable, because his diminished rapacity mitigated the damage, preventing, according to my law book, ‘a foreseeable and greater harm than the harm created by the act.’”

Sounds very convincing to me. However, Obra said his best strategy, the one he’d most likely use for Mike Arroyo, embodies his unique legal defense philosophy.

“My approach to trials is like Sun Tzu’s approach to war. I never advance without planning for a possible retreat.”

Obra said he would file a motion for a change of venue.
“I’d argue that with Mike’s terrible publicity, he’ll have as much chance of getting a fair trial here as Miriam Santiago winning ‘Miss Modesty’.”

And where should the new trial venue be?

“I’d shoot for the Dominican Republic–better yet, Spain. The way that country’s economy is going, Mike’s dollar accounts could go a long way. Besides, the provision for a retreat is built in.”

And how’s that?

“In case, just in the unlikely case we lose and Mike gets convicted, he doesn’t need to scramble to the airport to flee into exile abroad—he’s already there!”

But how would Obra ensure that a change of venue would be granted?

“Simple, res lubricata for an en banc panel. It always works.”

Amazing! But surprisingly, when I told a law professor-friend of mine about Obra, my friend sneered and said this best-kept secret in Philippine law is best kept secret.

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TAGS: Graft and corruption, Helicopter Scam, Jose Miguel Arroyo, Mike Arroyo
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