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Alcantara vs. Pefianco [A.C. No. 5398. December 3, 2002]

16 Aug

Ponente: MENDOZA, J.

FACTS:

The complainant, Atty. Antonio A. Alcantara, is the incumbent District Public Attorney of the Public Attorney’s Office in San Jose, Antique. On May 18, 2000, while Atty. Ramon Salvani III was conferring with a client in the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), a woman approached them.  Complainant saw the woman in tears, whereupon he went to the group and suggested that Atty. Salvani talk with her amicably as a hearing was taking place in another room.  Respondent Atty. Mariano Pefianco stood up and shouted at Atty. Salvani and his client. Complainant said he was surprised at respondent Pefianco’s outburst and asked him to cool off, but respondent continued to fulminate at Atty. Salvani.  As head of the Office, complainant approached respondent and asked him to take it easy and leave Atty. Salvani to settle the matter.  Respondent at first listened, but shortly after he again started shouting at and scolding Atty. Salvani.  This caused a commotion in the office.

Respondent later explained and said that he was moved by the plight of the woman whose husband had been murdered as she was pleading for the settlement of her case because she needed the money.

ISSUE:

Whether or not Atty. Pefianco violated Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

HELD:

YES. Respondent was a imposed fine of P1,000.00.

RATIO:

Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility admonishes lawyers to conduct themselves with courtesy, fairness and candor toward their fellow lawyers.  Lawyers are duty bound to uphold the dignity of the legal profession.  They must act honorably, fairly and candidly toward each other and otherwise conduct themselves without reproach at all times.

Respondent ought to have realized that this sort of public behavior can only bring down the legal profession in the public estimation and erode public respect for it.  Whatever moral righteousness respondent had was negated by the way he chose to express his indignation.  An injustice cannot be righted by another injustice.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Case Digests, Legal Ethics

 

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