'Enemies' with benefits: Romy Mac taps legal nemeses for Senate bid

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 17 2018 10:23 PM | Updated as of Oct 17 2018 11:45 PM

MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo's lawyer Romulo Macalintal on Wednesday said he tapped the legal counsel of former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., and the lawyer of the late presidential hopeful Fernando Poe Jr. to be his election lawyers for the 2019 mid-term polls.

Macalintal, a veteran election lawyer who is running for senator, said he sought the help of his good friends, courtroom rivals George Garcia and former Comelec chief Sixto Brillantes Jr. for his first foray into elective office. 

Macalintal and Garcia are pitted against each other in the ongoing Robredo-Marcos electoral protest case.

Macalintal faced off with Brillantes in 2004 when he represented former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in a poll fraud case against Poe, who was then Brillantes' client. 

Another Macalintal-Brillantes face-off happened when former broadcasters Loren Legarda and Noli de Castro competed for the vice-presidential race in the same year.

"This is one for the books. Ito ay pagpapatunay lamang na kaming mga abogado, hindi kami magkakaaway," Macalintal told reporters after filing his candidacy with Garcia and Brillantes by his side.

"Ang magkakaaway ay mga kliyente namin at kami ay nagtatagisan lang ng talino," he said.

Marcos' lawyer said he informed his principal that he would take in Macalintal as a pro-bono client.

"Ang kaso matatapos, madedesisyunan; ang pagkakaibigan hindi," Garcia, who has known Macalintal for 25 years, told ABS-CBN News.

"Sinabi ko naman yun at wala naman silang adverse reaction sakin," Garcia said.

"Kahit naman lawyer nila ako, hindi naman ako magbibigay ng info," he said.

Brillantes, who has been Macalintal's "friend since the 90s" said he was happy his colleague decided to make a bid for public office.

"Sabi ko, basta tumakbo ka, nasa tabi mo ko kasi mababawasan ako ng kalaban sa kliyente," Brillantes said in a phone interview, in jest.

"I know his capacity as a lawyer and senator," he said.

Macalintal also tapped Beng Sardillo, another Robredo lawyer, to be one of his election legal counsels.