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Seekers of the Truth

February 8, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Seekers of the Truth
Ronald Roy — February 8, 2012

I was 27 years old 49 years ago, when I walked into Atty. Norberto “Doy” Quisumbing’s Lawyers’ Inn seeking an apprenticeship. I got it directly from Doy himself, who quickly spotted what he described as my potentials as a pleader. These potentials were honed up in all the eight months he kept me as an apprentice.

Doy Quisumbing (1919-1988) was widely regarded as our country’s American barrister Clarence Darrow (1857-1938) whose stupendous record of saving 49 out of 50 murderers from the electric chair stands unbroken to date. Doy must have had Darrow in mind when he told me to observe his style in an obvious boast that cross-examination was his forté.

And how! Each time I saw him in actual courtroom combat—he left simple cases to assistants—Doy would dazzlingly win a complicated suit largely on cross-examination.

His parting shot on my last day was “Ronald, don’t forget that many so-called losing cases can be won on cross. You should develop your own trial technique if you plan to stand head and shoulders over the rest of your colleagues in the legal profession.”

Quisumbing’s advice was clear. While there are universal principles of trial technique, what sets a litigator apart from the field is a trial technique etched out of his distinctive humanity. Thus his style is his own, no one else’s.

Doy was exceedingly crafty. In appearance, he was nondescript at 5’5” in height, and his squeaky little voice was far from intimidating. But he wore the natural cloak of his congeniality to advantage: to relax the unsuspecting witness before asking the killer question; and when he did, the witness’s “dumbfoundedness” meant the cross-examiner had just won the case for his client!

That was the great Doy Quisumbing’s trial technique, one suited to his uniqueness and cued to the conditions of his era 50 years ago. He was unique just as the grumpy Clarence Darrow was in the American setting. Quisumbing was subtle and benign. In contrast, Darrow was brusque and aggressive. They were geniuses on cross-examination, both paradoxically bound by their oppositeness.

So who can say that a Quisumbing or a Darrow is what the defense and prosecution need in the ongoing impeachment trial of CJ Renato Corona, let alone the fact that neither of them is remembered as having ever handled a freakish quasi-judicial proceeding called “impeachment”?

Impeachment is such uncharted waters in our jurisdiction, indeed, that not even the most learned and seasoned litigators can claim a decisive edge over their mediocre confreres in the trial circuit.

Far from being allegedly seen as boring entertainment on national television, radio and print media, the impeachment trial has drawn comments from the following concerned citizens.

Trial lawyer Norberto Martinez: “CJ Corona is a good man in the right position at the wrong time. Unfortunately, it’s a numbers game where he’ll be convicted to the great misfortune of the country.”

Willy Villarama: “Yesterday (Feb 3.) at the Kapihan sa Rembrandt hosted by Erick San Juan, Leah Navarro of the Black and White Movement was heckled, booed and shouted down by media for spinning that the prosecution was winning in the impeachment case. She left the room pale-white in shame! Congressman Teddy Casiño had to admit the prosecution needed improvement!”

Martin Cepeda: “In this numbers game, I don’t think the prosecution can get the required 16 votes. Very powerful quarters are working hard to get the 8 votes needed to save Corona.”

Former DBP Presaident Remedios Macalincag: “On my impeachment score card, the defense panel is way ahead. But then, it’s still a numbers game.”

Jeepney driver Luis Matapat (Translated from Tagalog): “Instead of pouncing on Corona who I think is innocent, P-Noy should address the problems of the economy, especially the crippling fuel hikes. And hey, that Korean girl friend of his looks like his sister Krys… kinda abnoymal, ha?”

Well, Tony (Santos), all I can say about this Ronald Llamas scandal is that P-Noy has been less than transparent and forthright. Following P-Noy’s logic, he would give his good friend Llamas a mere slap on the wrist for groping a lady pedestrian because the crime of Acts of Lasciviousness is not germane to the core functions of his Cabinet position.

Piracy of intellectual properties has been condemned by the United Statesas a reprehensible crime against nations. Therefore, the U.S. State Department’s silence on this issue only obviously confirms a quid pro quo deal between P-Noy and those neocolonialist gringos fromWashington. That’s the larger picture, Tony, and it stinks!

Numerous personalities in media are beginning to think CJ Corona is headed for an upset acquittal—and he hasn’t even started to present his evidence yet—if only because the prosecution continues to shoot itself in the foot. It is interesting to note that at this point the prosecution has failed to take advantage of the liberal rulings of Impeachment Presiding Officer Juan Ponce Enrile.

Another reason CJ Corona is gaining ground is the prosecution’s desperate penchant for propaganda and fishing expedition—a counter-productive tactic that prolongs the proceedings to the vexation of the impeachment court.

In view of the prosecutor’s dismal lack of preparedness, one can only understand their pyrrhic stratagem of burning down an entire house to flush out a suspect.

Note their arsenal: 8 badly written articles of impeachment, a proliferation of private prosecutors, 5 spokespersons, a hundred witnesses, voluminous documents, a clowning Cong. Rodolfo Fariñas, in fine—multiple shotgun blasts to ensure a lethal hit with one projectile!

An overkill of this magnitude pathetically betrays the prosecution’s “bereftness” of evidence, not to mention its impotence to win the hearts and minds of seekers of the truth.

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