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FACT CHECK: No current disbarment case at SC vs De Lima, Diokno


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FACT CHECK: No current disbarment case at SC vs De Lima, Diokno
The Supreme Court has the sole power to disbar a lawyer. It may act on a disbarment case on its own or upon a complaint.

Claim: Former senator Leila de Lima and human rights lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno will be disbarred. 

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video containing the claim has 4,000 views as of writing. 

The title of the video makes reference to the recent disbarment of newly-appointed Presidential Adviser for Poverty Alleviation Larry Gadon. It says: “De Lima at Diokno edidisbar na rin! Mas dapat silang ma disbar kesa kay Sec. Gadon, Dilawan pahiya!” 

(De Lima and Diokno will be disbarred next! They deserve to be disbarred more than Sec. Gadon, yellows shamed!)

No proof: The video did not show any proof that the Supreme Court (SC) is now looking into the disbarment of the two lawyers. It only showed excerpts of a Politiko article reporting on Gadon’s statements following his disbarment. 

There’s also no known current disbarment case against De Lima and Diokno pending in the Supreme Court. The High Tribunal has also not issued any official statements regarding the issue on its official website.

Grounds for disbarment: Only the SC can disbar a lawyer. It can act on a disbarment case motu proprio, or on its own initiative, or upon the filing of a complaint with the SC or the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). Section 27 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court states the following as grounds for disbarment:

  • Deceit
  • Malpractice
  • Gross misconduct in office
  • Grossly immoral conduct
  • Conviction of a crime that involves moral turpitude
  • Violation of the lawyers’ oath
  • Willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court
  • Corruptly or willfully appearing as legal counsel for a party to a case without the authority to do so

There are no announcements from the High Court stating that it had acted on its own initiative for the possible disbarment of De Lima and Diokno. 

De Lima had previously faced several disbarment complaints related to her alleged defiance of a temporary restraining order issued by the High Court in 2011, and her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison and her relationship with driver Ronnie Dayan.

Meanwhile, Diokno faced threats of a possible disbarment complaint in 2019 for supposedly misrepresenting Filipino fishermen in a case on the West Philippine Sea.

Gadon’s disbarment: The SC disbarred Gadon on June 28 over misogynistic and sexist remarks against journalist Raissa Robles.

“The privilege to practice law is bestowed only upon individuals who are competent intellectually, academically and, equally important, morally. 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 said in its ruling.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. appointed the disbarred lawyer as Presidential Adviser for Poverty Alleviation on June 26. – Lorenz Pasion/Rappler.com

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