Supreme Court of the Philippines

Larry Gadon unanimously disbarred by Supreme Court over misogynistic, sexist remarks

Jairo Bolledo

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Larry Gadon unanimously disbarred by Supreme Court over misogynistic, sexist remarks

Atty. Larry Gadon answers questions from the media ahead of the Marcos-Duterte proclamation rally, on February 8, 2022, at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.

(4th UPDATE) Gadon says in reaction: ‘If this is what it takes to be a public servant, then I am willing to pay the price for the Filipino people. Political machinations [are] rampant but I will not fret, I will not stop serving the Filipino people.'

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) has unanimously disbarred suspended lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon over his profane remarks, the High Court announced on Wednesday, June 28.

He was recently appointed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as presidential adviser for poverty alleviation.

In a press release on Wednesday, June 28, the SC Public Information Office (PIO) said the High Court voted 15-0 to disbar Gadon over the viral video where he “repeatedly cursed and uttered profane remarks against journalist Raissa Robles.” 

According to the SC PIO, the High Court found Gadon’s video clip as “indisputably scandalous that it discredits the legal profession.” The SC said Gadon violated Canon II on propriety of the new Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability. 

The said provision under the new code of conduct for lawyers states that “[a] lawyer shall, at all times, act with propriety and maintain the appearance of propriety in personal and professional dealings, observe honesty, respect and courtesy, and uphold the dignity of the legal profession consistent with the highest standards of ethical behavior.” 

Gadon also “failed to realize” that lawyers are expected to avoid scandalous behavior, whether in their public or private life, the SC added. 

The SC said it had acted motu proprio, or on its own initiative, on the Gadon case. Under Rule 139 of the Rules of Court, the SC or the IBP may act on a disbarment case on its own or upon a complaint. 

The SC justices, under Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, had given emphasis on the importance of upholding ethics in the legal practice. Recently, the High Court launched the new code of conduct for lawyers and the new lawyer’s oath, which emphasizes justice.

Gadon’s disbarment is the first motu proprio disbarment case under the new code of conduct of lawyers implemented this year

Reacting to his disbarment, Gadon said, “If this is what it takes to be a public servant, then I am willing to pay the price for the Filipino people. Political machinations [are] rampant but I will not fret, I will not stop serving the Filipino people.” 

In the same decision, the High Court also cited the disbarred lawyer in direct contempt for his allegations of bias and partiality against Senior Associate Justice Marvic Leonen and Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa. Gadon previously sought to inhibit Leonen and Caguioa from the case on the grounds, “which the Court found to be purely conjecture.”

“The privilege to practice law is bestowed only upon individuals who are competent intellectually, academically and, equally important, morally. xxx xxx xxx There is no room in this noble profession for misogyny and sexism. The Court will never tolerate abuse, in whatever form, especially when perpetrated by an officer of the court,” the SC wrote at the end of its decision disbarring Gadon. 

Before his disbarment, Gadon had been previously suspended by the High Court from practicing law “for similarly using offensive and intemperate language, and was warned that a repetition of the same offense will merit a more severe sanction.” Gadon had been suspended by the SC in October 2019 for using abusive and offensive language in his professional dealings, and in January 2022 in relation to Robles’ case.

Aside from his disbarment and suspension, Gadon has six other administrative cases pending before the Office of the Bar Confidant, and four under the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. 

“Although these cases have yet to be decided, the volume of administrative complaints filed against Atty. Gadon indubitably speaks of his character,” the High Court said. 

Gadon’s response

A day before the SC announced his disbarment, Gadon already issued a statement on June 27, and said he learned from “reliable sources” that the High Court moved to disbar him. Gadon said he will file a motion for reconsideration to ask the SC to reconsider its decision against him. 

“I will treat this matter as a personal concern as it will not also affect my commitment to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to help his administration achieve its goals and implement its programs to serve the public particularly on the aspect of poverty alleviation,” Gadon said.

The disbarred lawyer added his new position as presidential adviser does not require lawyering so his suspension and disbarment will not affect his appointment.

Gadon, in an interview with ABS-CBN’s ANC on Wednesday morning, further defended himself and said the High Court was “very choosy.” 

The disbarred lawyer cited the cases of detained former senator Leila de Lima and her “illicit, immoral, illegal cohabitation with her driver” and lawyer Chel Diokno who “made a mockery” of the SC when he filed a petition on “behalf of the fishermen who denied having authorized him.” Gadon said De Lima and Diokno allegedly committed more grave abuses and yet they were not punished. 

Gadon also accused the SC of making a political decision, pointing out that he was the one who filed impeachment cases against former chief justice Maria LourdesSereno and Leonen. 

“I could say that this is a political decision rather than a meritorious decision,” Gadon told ANC. 

The disbarred lawyer remained intransigent, saying he will not apologize for his remarks against Robles.

“I will not apologize because the problem with the Supreme Court is they did not see the reason why I had that kind of outburst. Because Ms. Robles of Rappler was spreading lies against the President and it was done during the campaign season, campaign period,” Gadon said.  

Gadon wrongfully claimed that Robles is part of Rappler. A freelance journalist, Robles writes for the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, among others. 

When asked if he regrets his previous actions, Gadon replied: “I have no regrets because my president won. If I did not counter those acts of Raissa Robles, people would have believed her and my president would not have won.” 

In an earlier interview with GMA’s DZBB, Gadon already said he will not apologize to the people he had previously cursed. 

Hindi ako hihingi ng tawad kasi unang-una, sila ang may kasalanan kasi nagkakalat sila ng kasinungalingan. Pasalamat nga sila hindi ko sila pinapatay. Ang ibig ko lang sabihin eh kasalanan din naman nila bakit sila namura eh, nagkalat ba naman sila ng kasinungalingan at paninira. Eh ganoon talaga ang magiging reaksiyon ko,” Gadon said on Tuesday, June 27. 

(I will not ask for forgiveness because first things first, it’s their fault because they were spreading lies. They should be thankful because I did not order them killed. What I mean is, it’s also their fault why I cursed them because they spread falsehoods and lies. That would be my reaction, of course.) –

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.