Lawyers of Relampagos withdraw from pork cases

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 12 2018 11:57 AM

MANILA - The lawyers of former Budget and Management Undersecretary Mario Relampagos have given up on representing their client who has opted to run away from his Priority Development Assistance Fund scam cases at the Sandiganbayan.

Lawyer Godofredo De Guzman of the De Guzman Dionido Caga Jucaban and Associates Law Offices filed his motion to be relieved as counsel before the Sandiganbayan 5th Division last February 6.

De Guzman told the court that despite their efforts, they could not convince Relampagos to return to the country to face his 11 graft cases in connection with the PDAF of former Senator Jinggoy Estrada.

“For the past few weeks, the Undersigned Law Firm has exerted utmost efforts to convince Accused Relampagos to return and face the charges against him. Despite earnest efforts, Accused Relampagos has not heeded his counsel’s advice,” De Guzman said in the motion.

Aside from the Estrada-related cases, Relampagos is also involved in other PDAF cases of other lawmakers in various divisions of the Sandiganbayan, totaling to more than 300 cases to date.

The 7th Division has already initiated steps to have Relampagos extradited from the United States, his last known location according to his lawyers.

Relampagos, who claimed that he only signed documents related to the PDAF scam in his “official capacity” has earlier said through his lawyers that he does not see an end in his cases.

The lawyers said they can no longer represent Relampagos after he fled.

“In light of the foregoing, the Undersigned Law Firm humbly submits that it can no longer carry out its responsibilities effectively for reasons beyond its control,” De Guzman said.

During the continuation of the graft hearing of Estrada and his co-accused, the court asked for comment from the prosecution.

After the prosecution told the court that they have no comment, Associate Justice Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega said the motion of the lawyers of Relampagos is considered submitted for resolution.