If Mr. Fred Languido wants to insinuate that the former mayor Tomas Osmeña has something to do with this case because of the appearance of Atty. Benjamin Militar, a lawyer associated with Tomas, I would like to disabuse the mind of the public of such notion.

I was the one hired by Ms. Maria Victoria Beltran (Bambi) minutes after Mayor Labella’s Facebook page posted a screenshot of the subject post. As far as I am concerned, I am still the lead counsel, and I have not been dismissed by Ms. Beltran. To recall, Tomas O and I had a very healthy exchange of social media posts regarding Osmeña’s anti-counterflow executive order.

The fact that Atty. Militar had appeared with me does not mean that Tomas has anything to do with this. There are a lot of other lawyers, lawyer organizations, and organizations with legal counsels who are supporting Ms. Beltran. The Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) has expressed its support, and members from the group aside from me would be part of Ms. Beltran’s legal time. Some members from the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) have also expressed interest in joining the team.

Atty. Militar’s visiting the Police Regional Office (PRO) yesterday afternoon to see Ms. Beltran was on my behalf, for the simple reason that I was in Sogod, Cebu, 60 kilometers from the city, and would not be able to reassure Ms. Beltran of my legal services. There were other lawyers requested by me, who, for one reason or another (fear of contracting the virus, inability to leave their lockdown zone, unwillingness to leave one’s young wife on a Sunday afternoon) gently declined my request.

It was only Atty. Militar who stood up to take the challenge to be with Ms. Beltran as a lawyer during those crucial moments. He did not do it because he is Tomas O’s lawyer or because Ms. Beltran is openly critical of the current administration’s crisis response. He did not even know Ms. Beltran personally or the case prior to my briefing him while he was on his way to PRO 7. He did it as a matter of courtesy to a brother of the profession, and in fulfilment of his oath as a lawyer.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Languido would see in it Tommy O’s all-powerful invisible hand. Had it been Mr. Languido who is in Ms. Beltran’s place, and he had hired me to represent him, it would still have been Atty. Militar who would re-assure him of legal support that Sunday afternoon.