Palace keeping Gadon despite SC disbarment | Inquirer News

Palace keeping Gadon despite SC disbarment

Larry Gadon. STORY: Palace keeping Gadon despite SC disbarment

‘KIND PERSON’ | Gadon, whom a senator describes as “actually a kind person,” holds a press conference on Wednesday, June 28, 2023, saying he would file a motion for reconsideration on his disbarment. (Photo by NIÑO JESUS ORBETA / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — All 15 justices of the Supreme Court have voted to revoke the license of newly appointed presidential adviser Larry Gadon to practice law for his “scandalous behavior” when he harangued journalist Raissa Robles last year.

In a statement on Wednesday, the high court said it had ordered Gadon’s disbarment — the most severe sanction for lawyer misconduct — for “misogynistic, sexist, abusive and repeated intemperate language.”


Despite this, Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on Wednesday said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. felt that Gadon’s SC disbarment would not affect his work as a presidential adviser on poverty alleviation.


“The president believes he will do a good job,” Bersamin said.

“He will continue in his new role as presidential adviser on poverty alleviation as there are urgent matters that need to be done in the President’s antipoverty programs,” added the former chief justice.

Gadon’s disbarment would be a matter which he will have to personally attend to, Bersamin said further.

In a statement following the high court’s ruling, Gadon said he would file a motion for reconsideration, claiming the decision was “too harsh.”

“My remedy and reaction to this is to file a motion for reconsideration on the ground that the penalty is too harsh for the alleged cause,” he noted.

Gadon also said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel on Wednesday that he would not apologize over his past remarks and actions.


“I will not apologize. The trouble with the Supreme Court is that they did not see 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. So it was really damaging on our part,” he said.

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa said in a tweet that Robles is not from Rappler.

Gadon said the high court’s ruling was a “political decision rather than a meritorious decision,” claiming that it could be punishing him for filing an impeachment complaint against Associate Justice Marvic Leonen in 2019 and against former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in 2017, which led to her ouster.

‘Slap in the face’

Lawmakers, however, disagreed with Malacañang’s decision to keep Gadon.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday said the decision of the Supreme Court to drop Gadon from the country’s roll of attorneys should prompt President Marcos to banish the disbarred lawyer from the Cabinet.

“I ask the president to reconsider the appointment of… Gadon. Not only was he disbarred, he was also cited in direct contempt by the Supreme Court, voting 15-0,” Hontiveros told the Inquirer.

“A disgraced former attorney,” she pointed out, “does not inspire confidence in the Cabinet.”

According to the opposition senator, having Gadon in the government would only “demoralize the bureaucracy by incentivizing an official whom the court unanimously does not trust.”

Besides, Hontiveros pointed out, he did not have any expertise to serve as the government’s antipoverty head.

Rep. Arlene Brosas, House assistant minority leader, said Gadon should now be held accountable for crass and violent actions.

“Lawyers are supposed to be champions of justice and equality,” Brosas said in a statement sent to the Inquirer.

For Liza Maza, former chief of the National Anti-Poverty Commission, the President should reconsider Gadon’s appointment since his disbarment is a “slap in the face” of the Chief Executive.

She said that appointing Gadon was an “insult” and a “great disservice to women who continue to bear the brunt of poverty in the Philippines.”

Robles has not responded to the Inquirer’s request for comment.

Meanwhile, Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Francis Escudero both noted that Mr. Marcos has the prerogative to name individuals to his Cabinet.

Estrada, who joined the 2022 senatorial race with Gadon under the President’s UniTeam ticket, also defended him from those questioning his appointment.

“He’s actually a kind person,” the senator told the Inquirer in a mobile phone interview.

“The position to which [Gadon] was appointed does not require him to be a member of the Philippine bar nor a lawyer,” Escudero said.

‘Scandalous behavior’

Acting on its own without waiting for a complainant, the Supreme Court in January last year suspended Gadon from law practice after a video of him cursing at Robles went viral on social media the previous month of December 2021.

Gadon verbally abused Robles apparently for calling Marcos, then a candidate, a tax evader.

The tribunal found Gadon’s behavior in the video “indisputably scandalous that it discredits the legal profession” in violation of their professional code, which demands the “appearance of propriety” among lawyers at all times.

“Gadon unfortunately failed to realize that lawyers are expected to avoid scandalous behavior, whether in their public or private life,” the Supreme Court said in its statement.

It also cited Gadon in direct contempt of court for his “baseless allegations of partiality and bias” against Senior Associate Justice Leonen and Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa, whom Gadon wanted to inhibit from his disbarment case.

The Supreme Court said Gadon has been previously suspended from law practice for three months for using offensive and intemperate language.

He was then warned of a more severe sanction if he repeated the offense.

Gadon is also facing six administrative cases before the Office of the Bar Confidant and four disciplinary cases before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, according to the high court.

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



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TAGS: disbarment, Larry Gadon, presidential appointments, Supreme Court

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