Malilong: Lawyers

WE don’t enjoy a scolding, not even watching someone getting it. Practicing lawyers will tell you that one of our most unpleasant experiences is sitting in the same courtroom where a colleague is getting a dressing down from a judge.

I feel no such compassion, however, for the lawyers who have been behaving like they were medical experts and who were told bluntly by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to stop pretending that they knew more about Dengvaxia and dengue than the actual experts and instead focus on the law.

The comeuppance is long overdue. Duque should have told them off long time ago, that their grandstanding has completely muddled the issue and in the process hurt the government’s other immunization programs.

Indeed, listening to the pseudo experts, you get the impression that no one died of dengue until Dengvaxia. May the souls of those who have died from the disease and whose deaths have prompted the government’s frantic search for a vaccine torment them in their sleep. That would be just punishment for the hysteria that they have spread with their grandstanding.

•••

Michael Cohen isn’t any ordinary American lawyer. He is US President Trump’s long-time personal counsel.

Trump is alleged to have had a sexual relationship with porno actress Stormy Daniels soon after his wife, Melania, gave birth to a son in 2006. At the height of the presidential campaign in 2016, Trump supposedly paid Daniels US$130,000 to keep her mouth shut on the affair.

Early this year, reports of the affair began to resurface in US newspapers. Trump promptly denied both the liaison and the payoff. The other day, however, his lawyer admitted that he was the one who paid the hush money to Stormy (whose real name is Stephanie Clifford) from his own pocket and that he did not ask or expect his famous client to reimburse him.

A very generous lawyer, this Mr. Cohen, but a smart one? I leave it to you to judge. A few hours after Cohen confessed to his being a “kunsintidor,” Stormy’s own attorney announced that her client was no longer bound by their confidentially agreement in view of his public disclosure of the payoff. In other words, he unhushed her.

•••

The practice of law is one of the most dangerous professions in the world. A number of lawyers have died violently, mostly in an ambush perpetrated by motorcycle-riding gunmen. Arjel Joseph Cabatbat refused to have his name added to the growing list of victims.

Cabatbat was driving his Montero on Edsa near the corner of East Avenue in Quezon City when three gunmen on two motorcycles fired at him and sped off. Apparently unhurt and not losing composure, Cabatbat chased his attackers, ramming the two motorcycles with his SUV, killing one of them, who turned out to be a policeman.

Well, sometimes the good lawyer wins.
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