MANILA, Philippines – Finally, the prosecution found a match for Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas.
On Day 22 of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, Deputy House Speaker Raul Daza took the podium. Daza was a defense counsel in the impeachment trial of former President Joseph Estrada.
The 76-year-old Daza was in familiar company as he faced the two octogenarians. Enrile is 88 while Cuevas, a former Supreme Court justice and justice secretary, is 83 years old.
Old age and a long experience in government and the law are not the only thing that the 3 have in common. They also all belong to the Sigma Rho Fraternity.
This led to an interesting exchange that triggered laughter in the session hall:
Daza: Good afternoon, Mr. President.
Enrile: Good afternoon. Good afternoon, brod. He (Cuevas) is also your fraternity brother.
Cuevas: Good afternoon, brod. Including brod Drilon!
Other Sigma Rhoans in the impeachment trial are Senators Franklin Drilon and Edgardo Angara and his son, prosecution spokesperson Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara. Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio is also their fraternity brother.
Throughout the trial, Daza, Enrile and Cuevas were gracious and courteous toward each other.
Uncharacteristically, Cuevas was hardly objecting to Daza’s questions. The moment he did, he said, “Very vague. I hate to object but I have to.”
Enrile, who often scolds prosecutors, was relaxed in dealing with Daza.
Rep. Angara said on Twitter that the exchange among the three senior citizens was so amusing it led Prosecutor Rep. Rodolfo “Rudy” Fariñas to call it “octo-maneuvers” or “octomechanics.”
Other Twitter users also noticed.