The Resolution reads, in part:
“For PETITIONERS, Atty. Theodore Te will argue for a maximum of twenty five (25) minutes and he will decide on how to share his time with the other counsel/s for petitioners.”
Its not my first oral argument before the Supreme Court En Banc—its my fifth (previously on the Death Penalty [People v. Malabago], Oil Deregulation [Edcel Lagman, Joker Arroyo et al. v. Executive Secretary], Visiting Forces Agreement [Jovito Salonga, Wigberto R. Tanada, et al. v. Executive Secretary, Electricity rates [Freedom from Debt Coalition et al. v. ERC and MERALCO]) but the thrill—and the anxiety—is still there.
Today, the Court set orals for the Calibrated Pre-emptive Response (CPR) issue (Del Prado et al. v. Ermita et al.) and at 1 pm, I will stand before the 15-member Court and once again start with that over-used opening, “May it please this Court. . .”
I’ve been preparing for this for what seems like ages and to speak only for 25 minutes. In an oral argument, however, 25 minutes is like the last two minutes of a basketball game—it can last for hours. In the Meralco orals, I started at 10 in the morning with my presentation and ended my presentation at 4 in the afternoon straight (without lunchbreak, coffeebreak or bathroom break); the orals for that case ended eventually at 9 in the evening.
I pray not only for wisdom, guidance, inspiration but also that I won’t need a bathroom break for hours.