ANY serious student of law knows by heart the meaning and application of the equal protection clause as enshrined under Section 1 of the Bill of Rights of the Philippine Constitution.

Likewise, students of constitutional law know that the PH Government consists of the executive, legislative and judicial departments as separate and co-equal branches of the government.

But to the lightweight guru (as coined by my editor in his stinging editorial of Dec. 10-16, 2010 issue) of President Benigno Aquino III’s legal staff, who were buoyed by the euphoria of a president who won by a vast majority in the last presidential election, it smacks of shoddy legal work or just plain naked arrogance by misreading the equal protection clause and the concept of a tripartite form of government.

Or were they playing hooky during their studies of constitutional law in law school under Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion and Justice Felix Makasiar?

The President of the Philippines who has no legal background must emulate the ways of the chairman of the board of a multinational corporation and surround himself with competent legal staff and retain the services of the country’s well-known law firms to avoid embarrassing rebuffs by the highest court on important legal controversies.

Legal set-up and retainers of multinational corporations

I have the rare privilege of working in the legal department and later executive-legal of a worldwide conglomerate and affiliates in Makati, New York City and Connecticut for 20 years.

ANSCOR, the management company in Makati, was at one time the general manager of San Miguel Corporation, Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation, Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines, and a host of affiliated companies.

ANSCOR has a legal department under Dr. Marcelo Karaan and a legal coordination department headed by A. R. Infante.

Dr. Karaan has his own legal staff and Mr. Infante employed a staff of five lawyers.

All court cases by ANSCOR and its affiliates were screened by the legal coordination department and then referred to any of the prestigious law firms retained by ANSCOR such as the Ponce Enrile, Siguion-Reyna, Montecillo law office, the Angara, Cruz law firm, the Belo law office and the Roco-Kapunan law office.

To the best of my knowledge, all cases referred to our retained counsel were upheld by the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

One particular case I remember was the lawsuit filed against the chairman of the board of Atlas Mining in Cebu by a claimant of the Atlas mines in Lutopan, Cebu who had the blessing of the President’s mother.

The case was referred to Atty. Ike Belo who successfully defended the merits of Atlas Mining’s rights to the mines all the way to the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

Author’s comment

In view of the latest embarrassment before the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Truth Commission, President Aquino should follow the system of retaining the legal services of the best law firms in the Philippines before the Supreme Court.

If the chairman of a multinational corporation can do it, why can’t the President of the country follow suit?

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