Why is Amal Clooney taking up Maria Ressa’s case

FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa - The Philippine Star

I think Filipinos should know certain incidents and exchange of emails between the three of us – she, her mother and I – before she took up Maria Ressa’s case and her online newspaper – the Rappler. We know one more way the CIA funds when it wants to break a country with an independent foreign policy. Before I only knew about George Soros. Now I have to add Omidyar of which Maria Ressa is a stockholder.

It puzzled me because of the change in your attitude towards me long before Maria Ressa’s and Rappler came into the picture. This is the short distance from the time I helped you meet with the former President in her prison in the Veterans Memorial Hospital and your refusal to accept an appointment with Mrs. Arroyo after you won the human rights case in the World Court in her favor.

In the short period you emailed me that I should not print any pictures of you while you were in Manila. Unfortunately, the pictures were already out that you were in Manila while negotiating for your fees to be coursed to your firm Doughty Chambers. I was also surprised when your mother, my friend Baria that I should not include you in Philippine politics under the Noynoy administration.

Some even spread ridiculous stories saying I was paying Amal’s fees. All these rumors came from publicity seekers. Amal Clooney makes more money than I do or will ever do. She handles both pro bono as well as high profile cases of wealthy clients. It really depends on the nature of the case and whether the case falls within the ambit of her expertise.

Her firm the Doughty Chamber in London has something to do with what cases the lawyers take up.

I am printing some information on the legal firm for those who do not use computers or those who are too lazy to bother to find out about the firm. The Doughty Chambers are in Doughty Street in London but they have opened a branch in the Hague since most of the cases brought before them are concerned with human rights and international law.

“Members of the firm are at the forefront of international litigation ranging from the European Court of Human Rights and the Privy Council to cases before the International Court of Justice, the courts of the European Union and international arbitrations.

“The Doughty Chambers has developed particular expertise in international human rights, jurisdiction, diplomatic and consular law as well as immunities, international sanctions, regimes and corporate social responsibility issues. Doughty Street’s media-law advice also often includes an international dimension. Where required, Chambers draws on an extensive network of local lawyers in other jurisdictions to ensure comprehensive advice and representation for clients. Something like this: “Hey, we have to publish stories Omidyar Network demands since they’re giving us money.”

Duterte is accused for behaving like a puppet of Beijing with jaw-dropping public statements, like when it was reported that China planned to build structures on Panatag Shoal, off the coast of Zambales province:

Amal and another member of the firm Katherine O’Bryne worked with lawyers Modesto Ticman Jr. and Larry Gadon, a law firm in Manila on the Arroyo.

They teach international law and some have published leading practitioner guides in this area. They appear on television and other media as experts on issues relating to international law.

I think these facts about the work of barristers from the Doughty Chambers, of which Amal is just one of them, speaks for itself.

Let me state clearly I am a friend of Amal’s family from way back – her mother was one of my closest friends during our days in exile in London. She gave me the comfort of her friendship and wisdom in those unhappy days.

That is why my daughter Veronica and I were invited to the Clooney reception at Danesfield Hotel on Marlow-on-Thames in England. Danesfield House Hotel and Spa is located between Marlow and Henley-on-Thames in Buckinghamshire, just 30 minutes away from central London.

Amal and her mother, Baria stay at my house when she visits Manila and I stay with her when I am in London. But we do not discuss legal matters.

I have nothing to do with GMA’s case before the UN Council on Human Rights which is strictly a matter between Amal and GMA’s lawyers in Manila. All questions were addressed to them.

The information on her work and her career is also available in the Internet. Here it is:

President Aquino’s relentless blame games constitute persecution. The problem is, Aquino won the public when he repeatedly vowed to prosecute Arroyo. But instead of prosecution, what he pursued was persecution, particularly when he blames her in his speeches. He still blames her even after being in office for five years. Her continued detention is probably a way for Aquino to hide his embarrassment. Aquino’s bullying tactics probably influenced members of the local courts to rule against Arroyo’s request for bail.

When I received notice of Mrs. Arroyo’s victory in the Court of Human Rights, the case was already in the hands of someone else in the firm. Interestingly Mrs. Arroyo’s name was never published in your list of prominent clients with the same history of political persecution from rivals in election – in this case of Noynoy Aquino. As things went he was the American boy to win in the struggle for supremacy in the region.

You were surprised to see me at your family’s reception in a London suburb hotel and did not shake my hand. Instead I got a dagger look that was consistent with your new attitude about having taken up former President Gloria Arroyo’s case against President Noynoy Aquino. So when Mrs. Arroyo wanted me to join her in a trip to London to thank you personally for the victory you refused.

My daughter Veronica Pedrosa then of Al-Jazeera made a documentary “Imelda and Me” that compares the Marcos and Aquino stories. It tells the story that what we are fighting is the culture of impunity. In that, both the Marcoses and the Aquinos are cut from the same cloth.




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