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FG’s ex-lawyer joins Duterte’s legal team for canvassing of votes

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A former lawyer of ex-First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike Arroyo” will be part of the legal team representing incoming President Rodrigo Duterte when Congress convenes in a joint session and sits as the National Board of Canvassers.

Inocencio “Toto” Ferrer, Jr., former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s erstwhile Finance Secretary, is among the legal minds tapped by incoming presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo to assist in the national canvass.

Panelo is Duterte’s lead counsel in the canvassing of votes, representing the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP).

Ferrer was last seen in the national spotlight as the lawyer of Chinese-Filipino casino junket operator Kim Wong in the Senate hearings on the US$81-million Bangladesh bank heist.

Aside from Ferrer, the other lawyers who will be assisting Panelo in the national canvass are: Demaree JB Raval, remembered as the lawyer of then presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. in 2004 who insisted on having ballot boxes allegedly containing dubious election returns opened to prove fraud.

Raval’s motions prompted Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan to say “Noted!” each time and bang the gavel forcefully to the point that it proke.

The seasoned lawyer is the Secretary-General and General Counsel of LDP and the personal lawyer of former senator Edgardo Angara.

Also on Panelo’s team is University of the Philippines constitutional law professor and election law book author Rudyard Avila.

Aside from Panelo’s team, another contingent of legal minds, this time from Duterte’s political party PDP-Laban, will be present during the canvassing to monitor the proceedings and raise objections, if need be.

The PDP-Laban contingent will be led by incoming Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre with the following lawyers as members: former Arroyo-era Justice Secretary Alberto Agra, Executive Secretary Bingbong Medialdea, incoming Solicitor General Jose Calida, and Loreto Ata, a member of the Duterte’s six-man transition team.

The national canvass will officially start on May 25 in plenary hall of the House of Representatives complex.