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Private parts, public scandal
Posted:11:32 PM (Manila Time) | July 26, 2001
By Donna S. Cueto
Inquirer News Service

ONE called the other a liar, the other called the first a “faggot.” That was before the shouting match degenerated into an argument over who had the larger private parts.

The scene, with two men nearly coming to blows, happened not in a soap opera, but in the office of the Sandiganbayan’s third division where pre-trial proceedings in the plunder case against former President Joseph Estrada took place yesterday.

Estrada lawyer Raymond Fortun called Miguel Silos, a young lawyer helping the prosecution, “sinungaling (liar).”

Silos shot back, shouting “bakla (fag)” at Fortun.

Silos also repeatedly shouted “faggot, faggot.”

So Fortun dared the young lawyer to display each other’s “manhood.”

Fortun said his “manhood” was probably bigger than Silos’.

Silos then called Fortun an “asshole” and cursed him: “P___ng ina mo (You son of a bitch).”

Fortun cursed him back.

Cooler heads prevailed in the end and prevented the two from tearing each other apart.

It happened after the second closed-door stipulation of facts in the plunder case, where both the defense and the prosecution had to agree on the facts of the case.

Silos, a volunteer lawyer from the Carpio, Villaraza and Cruz law office, was questioned by defense lawyer Cleofe Verzola as to why he was inside the room.

Verzola said Silos had refused to enter his appearance, and would not readily give his name. She claimed that only the public prosecutors and the defense lawyers were allowed inside the room.

When Silos left the room, she slammed the door after him. She later claimed that she did not intentionally slam the door, but that there was something wrong with the door’s hinge.

Private assisting counsels led by Arno Sanidad were outside the room. He wanted to know why private assisting counsels were not being allowed inside.

After about 20 minutes, at 4:10 p.m., the defense lawyers and prosecutors streamed out of the room without agreeing on the stipulation of facts.

Again, defense lawyers questioned Silos’ presence. Verzola and Fortun claimed that Silos did not make a proper appearance.

Silos then said that he had tried to explain why he was there and that he had given them his name.

That’s when Fortun called Silos a liar.

Staff members of the Sandiganbayan who witnessed the incident were shocked.

They said the lawyers conducted themselves shamefully.

But Silos said he would not apologize for his behavior. He clarified that he was not there in the court office to represent his law office, Carpio, Villaraza and Cruz.

Fortun said Silos’ law office was also the law office of the private lawyers of the President.

“I was in fact very flattered that they thought I was representing the President, that I was the President’s lawyer. That is very flattering, I am only a three-year lawyer. I wish I were the lawyer (of the President),” Silos said.

“We (private assisting counsels) are all here in our individual capacities, not in representation of any law firm. I’m here on my own time,” he said.

Fortun said the incident was “very regrettable.”

“We are professionals,” he said.

And he said it with a straight face.

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