In the continuing Kris Aquino versus Nicko Falcis saga, ANCX recently received information that Fortun Narvasa & Salazar Law Office has filed a “Withdrawal of Appearance” in all cases that they were handling for their now erstwhile client, online personality and former TV host Kris Aquino. The documents containing the pleadings state that the law firm “respectfully withdraws its appearance as private prosecutor with private complainant’s conformity.” The documents were signed by the firm’s founder, Philip Sigrid A. Fortun, and Kris Aquino herself.
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The cases are all connected to the 44 counts of Qualified Theft and Violation of Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998 complaint filed by Kris against Nicko Falcis, the former managing director of Kris Cojuangco Aquino Productions (KCAP). She filed the cases in seven cities last year: Makati City, San Juan City, Taguig City, Mandaluyong City, Pasig City, Quezon City, and Manila.
The former lead defense counsel for the Ampatuan family in the Maguindanao Massacre trial has represented Kris in her legal battles for more than 15 years.
In 2003, Atty. Fortun was one of the lawyers who represented Kris when she filed charges of grave threats and grave coercion, among others, against actor, former mayor, and her former lover Joey Marquez.
In 2005, Atty. Fortun helped Kris reach a settlement in an 80-million libel case she filed against top GMA Network officials. Kris withdrew the case after she received a letter of apology.
In 2014, it was again Atty. Fortun who helped the TV host-actress reach a custody and visitation rights agreement with ex-husband, professional basketball player, James Yap, for their only son, James “Bimby” Yap, Jr. James and Kris married in 2005; were separated in 2010; and their marriage was annulled in 2012.
Atty. Fortun’s younger brother, Atty. Raymond Fortun also used to represent Kris in her past legal cases, until he shifted careers and became a wedding photographer.
To illustrate the kind of relationship the client and lawyer have, on January 5, 2019, the interview-averse Atty. Sig Fortun was front and center on one of Kris’s Facebook Live sessions that discussed her legal issues with Nicko Falcis.
Along with the “Withdrawal of Appearance” pleadings, documents stating “Entry of Appearance” from the DivinaLaw Office were filed. The documents state, “DivinaLaw respectfully enters its appearance as counsel for private respondent Kristina Bernadette C. Aquino…”—Kris’s real name.
The “Entry of Appearance” documents were signed by lawyers, Nilo T. Divina, Enrique V. dela Cruz, Jr., Eloisa D.V. Sy, Mikko Angela C. Axalan, and Klinton M. Torralba.
DivinaLaw Office has been representing Kris in the grave threats case filed by Nicko and his brother Jesus Falcis. In April 2019, the case was junked by the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office.
The copies of the documents containing the Withdrawal of Appearance and Entry of Appearance were sent to ANCX on Wednesday, July 10, by a source who requested anonymity.
These documents came three days after ANCX got a copy of the resolution dismissing the Qualified Theft and Violation of Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998, which Kris filed against Nicko, this time in Manila.
Prior to this, Kris’s complaints against Nicko had already been junked in Pasig City, Makati City, and Taguig City. Nicko, however, was issued an arrest warrant for estafa and fraudulent use of access device in Taguig City. In April 2019, Kris withdrew the qualified theft complaint she filed in Mandaluyong City. Only San Juan City and Quezon City are left without a resolution.
The source assumes that this decision from Kris is a result of “lost trust or confidence in Fortun in litigating her cases.”
In this battle where the odds are currently against her, could Kris be hoping DivinaLaw might better deliver the wins she needs?