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Zaldivar vs. Sandiganbayan [G.R. Nos. 79690-707 October 7,1988]

06 Aug

[Per Curiam]

FACTS:

Petitioner filed Resolution including Motion to Cite in Contempt Special Prosecutor (formerly Tanodbayan) Raul M. Gonzalez. Gonzalez in: (1) having caused the filing of the information against petitioner in criminal case before the Sandiganbayan, and (2) issuing certain allegedly contemptuous statements to the media in relation to the proceedings in where respondent is claiming that he is acting as Tanodbayan-Ombudsman. A Resolution from the Supreme Court required respondent to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt and/or subjected to administrative sanctions for making certain public statements. Portion of the published article from Philippine Daily Globe in his interview:

What I am afraid of (with the issuance of the order) is that it appears that while rich and influential persons get favorable actions from the Supreme Court, it is difficult for an ordinary litigant to get his petition to be given due course.

Respondent has not denied making the above statements; indeed, he acknowledges that the newspaper reports of the statements attributed to him are substantially correct.

ISSUE:

Whether or not respondent Atty. Gonzales is entitled to invoke freedom of speech as a defense.

HELD:

NO. Respondent indefinitely suspended from the practice of law.

RATIO:

The Court concludes that respondent Gonzalez is guilty both of contempt of court in facie curiae and of gross misconduct as an officer of the court and member of the Bar.(Section 27, Rule 138, Rules of Court)

[F]reedom of speech and of expression, like all constitutional freedoms, is not absolute and that freedom of expression needs on occasion to be adjusted to and accommodated with the requirements of equally important public interests.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2012 in Case Digests, Legal Ethics

 

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