Lawyers clarify facts in a Manila Times story mentioning Atty. Simeon Marcelo

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[Publisher / Editor’s note: Below we run in full and unedited the letter we received from a group of lawyers writing on behalf of Atty. Simeon V. Marcelo.]

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Subject: Article of Joel M. Sy Egco dated 28 March 2016

Gentlemen:
We write on behalf of Atty. Simeon V. Marcelo (“Marcelo”) and the Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia Law Offices, in connection with the Article dated 28 March 2016 authored by Joel M. Sy Egco (“Article”) where it is claimed that Atty. Marcelo, along with Atty. Aveline J. Cruz, Jr., were involved in a so-called “black operation” to supposedly discredit Vice-President Jejomar Binay, (“Binay”) starting way back in 2010. It is also claimed that Atty. Marcelo and other colleagues were engaged in attacks against Sen. Grace Poe (“Poe”).

The Article and all its contents are categorically denied for being false, untrue and defamatory.

The article claims that the alleged “black operation” started in 2010 when Atty. Marcelo supposedly “requested” and “secured” the case records of the Sandiganbayan case against Vice President Binay from then-Special Prosecutor Wendell Barreras-Sulit (“Sulit”):

“An alleged ‘black operation’ against Vice President Jejomar Binay was hatched in May 2010 by former associates of the once powerful The Firm, documents showed.

In fact, former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo who was w1th the defunct Carpio Villaraza Angcangco or CVC law Office, secured Binay’s case records from the Office of the Ombudsman days after the May 2010 elections.”

The facts, admitted by then-Special Prosecutor Sulit under oath, debunk this entire story and only expose the malice permeating the Article.

No case records were ever “secured” by Atty. Marcelo as then-Special Prosecutor Sulit herself admitted under oath in her Affidavit dated 02 July 2010. While she claims she prepared these supposed records for “pick up”, then­ Special Prosecutor Sulit admitted under oath that Atty. Marcelo never retrieved these supposed records from her:

“Ms. Fe didn’t give me a call at all, so the documents that

Ombudsman Marcelo requested are still with me”.

If Atty. Marcelo were really interested in pursuing the cases against Vice­ President Binay, and requested for such records, he would have surely sent somebody to get the relevant records since he was not in possession of them. Never having these case records in his possession, it would be impossible for Atty.Marcelo to start, much more, conduct, any supposed “black operation”.

Considering the author of the Article admits he has a copy of the 02 July

2010 Affidavit, it is truly malicious that the Article insists that Atty. Marcelo “secured” these records from then-Special Prosecutor Sulit when the said Affidavit states otherwise.

Further, as Atty. Marcelo has stated under oath in his Rejoinder-Affidavit dated 27 July 2010, he never requested for the case records of Vice President Binay from then-Special Prosecutor Sulit. It was she who volunteered to give these records to him to evaluate whether the case against Vice-President Binay could be re-filed.

In this regard, it would be impossible for Atty. Marcelo to have even considered the re-filing of the cases against Vice-President Binay since he had long resigned from the Office of the Ombudsman (“OMB”) and had no authority to re-file any case in the Sandiganbayan. The Ombudsman at the time was Merceditas Gutierrez (“Gutierrez”). Atty. Marcelo, on the other hand, was already engaged in private practice. More importantly, it is well-known that Atty. Marcelo was at odds with then-Ombudsman Gutierrez because she is said to have discontinued the reforms he initiated at the OMB and harassed the OMB officials and employees identified with him, falsely claiming that they were sabotaging the operations of the OMB upon Atty. Marcelo’s instructions.

Moreover, from what is stated in the newspapers, the charges against Vice President Binay and those he has labelled as part of a propaganda campa1gn against him have nothing to do with the previous case filed against him in the Sandiganbayan. As far as can be seen from newspaper reports, the charges against Vice President Binay involve the alleged over-priced Makati Parking Building and other acts that do not have any relat1on to the former charges in the Sandiganbayan. This just goes to prove that Atty. Marcelo could not, and did not, start or conduct any campaign against Vice President Binay using the supposed case records from his former case in the Sandiganbayan.

It is also a gross disservice to Justice Antonio T. Carpio (“Carpio”) and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, who are known bastions of probity and integrity, to even insinuate that they may be influenced by Atty. Marcelo, his colleagues or any person for that matter. When Justice Carpio was appointed to the Supreme Court fifteen (15) years ago, he totally severed his ties with his former law office, then called Carpio Villaraza and Cruz (“CVC”).

It is lamentable that the current political season has been taken advantage of by some parties to drag Atty. Marcelo and his colleagues into the controversies surrounding certain candidates. Let it be made clear that none of the members of CMT are involved in any smear campaign against Vice President Binay, Sen. Poe or any political figure. CMT is engaged in the private practice of law and devotes its time to providing strictly professional legal services to its clients. None of the members of CMT are in the business of conducting smear campaigns or “black operations”.

It is also saddening that, apparently, those seeking to ingratiate themselves with Vice President Binay have been pointing accusatory fingers at Atty. Marcelo for performing acts against Vice President Binay and the members of his family. None of these claims are, however, true.

Lastly, that the Article is malicious and defamatory can be seen from the fact that neither the Manila Times, its editors nor the author of the article even bothered to seek comment from Atty. Marcelo or his colleagues mentioned in the Article.

Sincerely,

JOHN JERICO L. BALISNOMO
MIGUEL U. SILOS
ELMAR B. GALACIO
VICTOR EMMANUEL M. PANGILINAN

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1 Comment

  1. It is good that this entire letter has been published. I always like to hear the other side of the story. The failure of the reporter or the Manila Times to seek comment from Atty. S. Marcelo or his representative is terribly unfair and dishonest. Reporters should be unbiased and stick to what is considered to be good journalism: fair and balanced. The editor should be more vigilant and strict in applying these standards.