Ponente: CARPIO-MORALES, J.
[A] certain Alberto Cordero (Cordero) purportedly bought from a grocery in Valenzuela City canned goods including a can of CDO Liver spread. As Cordero and his relatives were eating bread with the CDO Liver spread, they found the spread to be sour and soon discovered a colony of worms inside the can. This was complained before the BFAD. After conciliation meetings between Cordero and the petitioner, the Corderos eventually forged a KASUNDUAN seeking the withdrawal of their complaint before the BFAD. The BFAD thus dismissed the complaint. Respondent, Atty. Mauricio, Jr., who affixed his signature to the KASUNDUAN as a witness, later wrote in one of his articles/columns in a tabloid that he prepared the document.
Complainant filed criminal complaints against respondent and several others for Libel and Threatening to Publish Libel under Articles 353 and 356 of the Revised Penal Code before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City and Valenzuela City. The complaints were pending at the time of the filing of the present administrative complaint. Despite the pendency of the civil case against him and the issuance of a status quo order restraining/enjoining further publishing, televising and broadcasting of any matter relative to the complaint of CDO, respondent continued with his attacks against complainant and its products.
Whether or not the respondent violated the Code of Professional Responsibility.
YES. Respondent suspended for three (3) years from the practice of law.
The above actuations of respondent are also in violation of Rule 13.03 of the Canon of Professional Responsibility which reads: “A lawyer shall not make public statements in the media regarding a pending case tending to arouse public opinion for or against a party.”
The language employed by respondent undoubtedly casts aspersions on the integrity of the Office of the City Prosecutor and all the Prosecutors connected with said Office. Respondent clearly assailed the impartiality and fairness of the said Office in handling cases filed before it and did not even design to submit any evidence to substantiate said wild allegations. The use by respondent of the above-quoted language in his pleadings is manifestly violative of Canon 11 and the fundamental Canon 1 also of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which mandates lawyers to “uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes.” Respondent defied said status quo order, despite his (respondent’s) oath as a member of the legal profession to “obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities.”
Further, respondent violated Canon 8 and Rule 8.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which mandate, and by failing to live up to his oath and to comply with the exacting standards of the legal profession, respondent also violated Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which directs a lawyer to “at all times uphold the integrity and the dignity of the legal profession.”