SC forgives lawyer who had 3 wivesBy Christine O. Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer
He must have seemed like the honey bee in the 1956 Hollywood film “The King and I,” floating from blossom to blossom. Yet he found “extraordinary mercy” before the justices of the Supreme Court.
For showing deep remorse for what he did by illegally marrying three women, a lawyer disbarred for immorality in 2004 was reinstated by the high court “in the rolls of attorneys.”
Now 58 years old, Edmundo L. Macarubbo “still has productive years ahead of him that could significantly contribute to the upliftment of the law profession and the betterment of society,” according to a Jan. 22 resolution by the court.
In a statement released Thursay, the high court’s public information office said Macarubbo had been granted his petition for “extraordinary mercy” almost 10 years after he was ordered disbarred for immorality. It said the high tribunal found that the lawyer has “sufficiently atoned for his transgressions.”
The lawyer was ordered disbarred after it was found that he had “contracted a bigamous marriage with complainant Florence Teves and a third marriage with one Josephine Constantino while his first marriage to Helen Esparza was still subsisting.”
His offense constituted gross immoral conduct in violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 7, Rule 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
But the fountain of mercy is ever flowing.
Need for compassion
In a six-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, the court en banc said that while it had a duty to discipline and remove erring officers, it also had a duty to show compassion to those who had changed their ways, like Macarrubo.
According to the high court, the lawyer had “sufficiently shown his remorse and acknowledged his indiscretion in the legal profession and in his personal life.”
He had also asked forgiveness from his children with Teves and, as shown in his photo evidence, was maintaining cordial ties with them.
Backed by priest
Following his disbarment, the court noted that Macarrubo had gone back to his hometown in Enrile, Cagayan province, and spent his time working in an orchard and taking care of his ailing mother until her death in 2008.
Macarrubo worked for the local government there, became a part-time instructor at the University of Cagayan Valley and F.L. Vargas College and was also active in socio-civic activities.
The court noted that Macarrubo’s petition for reinstatement was backed by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines’ Cagayan chapter and his parish priest, Father Camilo Castillejos Jr.
Records also show that he was sending regular support to his children and had settled his marital squabbles.