SC cites PAO chief for indirect contempt over remarks on CPRA

SC cites PAO chief for indirect contempt over remarks on CPRA

/ 05:58 PM February 27, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has imposed a P180,000 fine on Public Attorneys Office (PAO) Chief Persida Rueda-Acosta for her social media statements against the “Conflict of Interest” provision of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability (CPRA).

The SC cited the PAO chief for indirect contempt of court for her actions in expressing her opposition over the conflict of interest provision of the CPRA.

READ: The Acosta debacle


Aside from Acosta, also found guilty of indirect contempt was Atty. Erwin P. Erfe who also wrote a Facebook post accusing the SC of judicial tyranny over the conflict of interest provision.


The CPRA, launched last April, replaced the 34-year-old Code of Professional Responsibility that governs lawyers.

Section 22 of the CPRA provides that conflict of interest is only limited to any of the PAO lawyers and the lawyer’s direct supervisor, making it possible that PAO lawyers would represent opposing parties.

PAO is against the said provision and pushed for its removal from the new lawyers’ code. However, the SC denied the request and reminded PAO of its mandate to provide free legal services to marginalized parties.

READ: SC denies PAO’s bid to remove ‘conflict of interest’ clause in lawyers’ new code

Acosta aired her sentiments on social media, which the SC called “unabated public tirades.”

The PAO chief has already issued an apology for her statements.


“Atty. Acosta’s actions violated Sections 2 and 14, Canon II of the CPRA which enjoin lawyers to respect the courts, to submit grievances against court officers only through the appropriate remedy and before the proper authorities, and to refrain from making unfounded statements insinuating improper motive on the part of court officers,” read the statement issued by the SC’s Public Information Office.

The SC ordered Acosta to pay a P30,000 fine for indirect contempt and P150,000 for grossly undignified conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

In the case of Erfe, he was ordered to pay a fine of P10,000 after submitting his Most Humble Apology, explaining that his now-deleted Facebook post was spurred by his emotions. He added that he already saw the rationale behind the conflict of interest provision and expressed willingness to fully comply.

The SC both warned Acosta and Erfe that a repetition of the same or similar offense will be dealt with more severely.

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TAGS: PAO, Persida Acosta

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