Gadon’s threat to sue SC officials ground for disbarment – Sereno camp

Lian Buan
Gadon’s threat to sue SC officials ground for disbarment – Sereno camp
'Threatening them with criminal prosecution on the basis of falsehoods is grossly immoral and deceitful,' says the spokesperson of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno

MANILA, Philippines – Lawyer Larry Gadon’s threat to sue Supreme Court officials if Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno does not resign is a ground for disbarment, Sereno’s camp said on Thursday, February 22.

Sereno’s spokesperson, lawyer Jose Deinla, said Gadon violated Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which requires lawyers to “uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes.”

“He is encouraging suits for the corrupt motive of vilifying the Chief Justice and Court officials, who, unlike him, are otherwise honest. Threatening them with criminal prosecution on the basis of falsehoods is grossly immoral and deceitful. He is not deserving of his membership in the Bar,” Deinla said.

Gadon on Thursday said that if Sereno does not resign by March 1, he will sue other SC officials for violations of anti-graft and procurement laws.

Aside from Canon 1, under Rule 19.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, a lawyer cannot “participate in presenting or threaten to present unfounded criminal charges to obtain an improper advantage in any case or proceeding.”

Gadon said the disbarment ground does not apply to him.

“How can it be unfounded? The records of the House and the testimonies of witnesses are all real,” the lawyer said.

Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) national president Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo said that Rule 19.01 might be invoked by anyone who may want to file an ethics complaint against Gadon. But they have to “show that these suits are unfounded and meant only to harass the Chief Justice and pressure her into resigning.”

“It is also possible that the complainants will accuse Atty Gadon with abuse of process, which refers to a person using the legal system in a way that is not necessarily serving the underlying legal action, but rather to achieve another purpose,” Fajardo said.

The IBP handles ethics complaints against lawyers.

Gadon said the cases will stem from the SC’s purchase of a Land Cruiser for Sereno, the hiring of information technology (IT) consultant Helen Macasaet, the delay of survivorship benefits, and the rent of a presidential villa in Boracay Shangri-La in 2015. 

Talagang idadamay ko lahat. This will be the end of their careers. Lahat ng pinaghirapan, lahat mawawala. ‘Yan ay mangyayari dahil sa katigasan ng ulo ni Sereno (I will reall drag in everyone. They will lose everything they worked hard for. This will happen because Sereno is stubborn),” Gadon warned.

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.