Supreme Court of the Philippines

SC penalizes anti-poverty czar Gadon again over gross misconduct

Jairo Bolledo

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SC penalizes anti-poverty czar Gadon again over gross misconduct

CZAR. Appointed Presidential Adviser for Poverty Alleviation Larry Gadon holds a press conference in a restaurant in Quezon City on June 28, 2023.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

The SC fines disbarred lawyer Gadon P150,000 and rules him ineligible for judicial clemency

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) again penalized anti-poverty czar Larry Gadon for gross misconduct.

On Thursday, May 23, the High Court said it found disbarred lawyer Gadon guilty of gross misconduct for committing perjury and making accusations based on hearsay. Sources told Rappler that the SC’s decision was unanimous.

Gross misconduct is punishable by disbarment, but since Gadon had already been disbarred, “the penalty of disbarment will no longer be imposed but nevertheless recorded in his personal file.” The High Court also fined the official P150,000 and adjudged him ineligible for judicial clemency.

A disbarred lawyer can seek reinstatement through judicial clemency. But with the SC’s latest decision, Gadon has lost his chance to retrieve his lawyer title.

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EXPLAINER: What’s disbarment and how can a lawyer get disbarred?

EXPLAINER: What’s disbarment and how can a lawyer get disbarred?

For lying in his impeachment complaint against former de facto chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno before the House of Representatives (HOR), a disbarment case was filed against Gadon. Aside from this, he was also accused of filing baseless criminal cases against several SC officials.

As the body investigating erring lawyers, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Committee on Bar Discipline (IBP–CBD) recommended Gadon’s two-year suspension after the panel found the disbarred lawyer lying under oath. Gadon was found to have lied when he claimed that Sereno falsified an SC temporary restraining order (TRO).

Meanwhile, the IBP body dismissed the cases filed by Gadon against SC officials for lack of evidence.

When the decision on Gadon’s latest case reached the IBP Board of Governors (BOG), the body modified the penalty to a three-year suspension. The SC adopted the IBP-BOG’s findings, but modified the penalty to gross misconduct punishable by disbarment.

Court’s ruling

In explaining its decision, the SC said it found Gadon to have committed perjury for making allegations not based on his personal knowledge or any authentic records in the impeachment complaint he filed. This was contrary to his sworn guarantee in the verification he included in the complaint.

“Gadon knew that he never had any personal knowledge nor any  authentic document to support the accusation that Sereno falsified a TRO of the Court. Yet, he still included this in his verified impeachment  complaint, attempting to lend a semblance of credibility to his  unfounded accusation,” the SC said.

“This not only deceived the HOR, but also revealed an intent to inflict unnecessary harm to the reputation of a lawyer and former  member of the Court,” it added.

According to the SC, these findings proved that Gadon was motivated by malicious intent to malign and defame the former de facto chief justice.

The SC added that Gadon violated canon II, section 11, of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability, the current code of conduct for lawyers. The said provision prohibits lawyers from making false statements, which can be considered as gross misconduct – a serious offense.

“His disregard for the verification requirement in impeachment  complaints shows disrespect for the impeachment process, using it to advance his personal agenda rather than air genuine and legitimate  grievances,” the High Court added.

Even though the 2018 case of Republic vs. Sereno nullified the latter’s chief justice appointment, this did not absolve Gadon in the case, said the SC.

In June 2023, the High Court unanimously disbarred Gadon for his misogynistic and sexist remarks. With a 15-0 vote, the SC moved to disbar him over the viral video where he “repeatedly cursed and uttered profane remarks against journalist Raissa Robles.” 

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. 

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.” He was also 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.

Last year, he was appointed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as the government’s anti-poverty czar. –

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Jairo Bolledo

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