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Gadon on preventive suspension, risks disbarment over vulgar video

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Gadon on preventive suspension, risks disbarment over vulgar video
This screenshot shows part of the video where lawyer Larry Gadon cursed at journalist Raissa Robles in what FOCAP characterized as a "violent and aggressive verbal assault."
Screencap

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 7:48 a.m., Jan. 5) — The Supreme Court slapped controversial lawyer Larry Gadon with a preventive suspension and ordered him to explain why he should not be disbarred over a profanity-laced video directed at journalist Raissa Robles — the latest in a list of controversies he has figured in.

The high court, acting motu propio or on its own, on Tuesday issued a show-cause order for Gadon — a candidate for senator under the Martial Law-era Kilusang Bagong Lipunan — to explain why he should not be disbarred for his behavior.

Gadon was given ten days to file his comment, as the SC noted that this is "in consideration of the numerous prior controversies leading to the disbarment cases filed" against him, the most recent of which is his viral video directed at Robles that also contained Filipino equivalents of the f-word and a reference to sex with a dog.

The preventive suspension on Gadon is "effective immediately and to last until lifted by the Court," the SC Public Information Office said in a statement.

The SC also directed the Office of the Bar Confidant to submit an updated list of the pending administrative cases against Gadon within ten days from receipt of the resolution.

The high court also ordered the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to submit a status report of administrative cases against Gadon within 10 days.

Gadon says 'being singled out'

In a statement on Tuesday, Gadon said that he was "confused that the Supreme Court immediately suspended [him] without due process." He said that he should have been served a copy of the complaint before his preventive suspension was made public.

"Since this appears unprecedented in history, I cannot help but feel that I am being singled out," the lawyer said of the move to hold him accountable for his vulgar outburst.

He speculated that the move was related to his call for the Supreme Court to refund fees paid by presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. for a vice-presidential electoral protest that Gadon said remains unresloved. 

"Could this be politically motivated since I am running for senator?" the lawyer, who polled at 23rd-29th place in a 12-seat race in a December survey by Pulse Asia, said. 

Suits and controversies

The SC noted that the public called on the court and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to discipline Gadon as his latest video does not only insult Robles, but the legal profession as well.

Journalists — who face intimidation and harassment, often from political figures or their supporters — have called on the SC and IBP to discipline the "wayward" member of the Bar. While they acknowledged that Gadon has the right to challenge statements by journalists, his "venom and malice" against Robles "openly flout civility, respect and human rights which are protected by the country's laws."

It also pointed out that the lawyer "had, on previous instances, publicly displayed the same kind of behavior, for which he is currently facing disbarment complaints before the Court and the IBP."

The SC PIO said the high court treated the matter of Gadon’s viral video as a formal administrative complaint of disbarment against Gadon.

The latest preventive suspension order against Gadon is not the first penalty the foul-mouthed lawyer has faced.

In 2019, the SC suspended Gadon for three months over his statements about how the use of legal remedies is slow. He was also penalized for “"the malicious and arrogant language he used against the adverse party and her lawyer," the PIO noted.

It stressed that the SC had already reminded Gadon to be more wary of his actions and refrain from displaying ill temper and using abusive language.

"Gadon was already warned that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely. But despite such warning, Gadon has continued to display similarly abhorrent behavior, with the viral video against Robles," it added.

Gadon is also reportedly facing a disbarment suit for claiming former President Benigno Aquino III had HIV and had died of it.

He was previously in the news for cursing at supporters of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and calling them stupid.

In the campaign for the 2016 elections, he said that if members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front — a rebel group the government had already signed a peace agreement with — do not want peace, he will "kill them all and burn all their houses." — with a report from Jonathan de Santos

LARRY GADON

SUPREME COURT

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