OchoaTHE NEW “little president” and the person in charge of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s legal concerns are both Thomasians.

Lawyers Paquito “Jojo” Ochoa Jr. and Eduardo de Mesa have been appointed cabinet members of Aquino administration, occupying the posts of executive secretary and chief presidential legal counsel, respectively.

Ochoa graduated from the Faculty of Arts and Letters in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He later finished law at the Ateneo de Manila University.

De Mesa, on the other hand, graduated in 1974 at the College of Education with a bachelor’s degree in education major in English. He passed the National Examinations for Teachers in 1977. De Mesa finished law at the University of the Philippines (UP) in 1985 and was admitted to the Philippine Bar the following year.

Ochoa was Aquino’s legal counsel when the latter became Tarlac’s second district representative in 1998. He became the city administrator of Quezon City in 2001.

Before he became the “little mayor” of Quezon City, he was a special assistant to the city mayor. The new executive secretary was also a senior associate of Ochoa Alto and Associates in Bulacan from 1992 to 1995, and a lecturer at UP’s National College of Public Administration and Governance.

Ochoa is also a founding partner of the Marcos Ochoa Serapio and Tan Law Firm.

Meanwhile, De Mesa is a commissioner on bar discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, an accredited arbitrator of the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc., and labor and litigation department head of Carag De Mesa and Zaballero Law Offices (CDMZLaw).

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According to CDMZLaw’s website, De Mesa has broad experience in commercial, civil, criminal, administrative, and litigation and had successfully represented clients before Court of Tax Appeals, Court of Appeals, and Supreme Court on concerns involving tax, assessments, claims for tax refunds, and tax exemptions.

A specialist in labor law, he handled collective bargaining negotiations, settlement of labor disputes, employee disciplinary actions, labor law advisory services, and labor litigation.

De Mesa is also an election and immigration lawyer. Rommel Marvin C. Rio


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