Monday, February 20, 2012

Spouses Sangalang vs. IAC and Ayala Corporation, [G.R. No. 71169. August 30, 1989.]

Facts: The incident before the Court refers to charges for contempt against Atty. J. Cezar Sangco, counsel for the petitioners Spouses Jose and Lutgarda Sangalang. 

On February 2, 1989, the Court issued a Resolution, requiring, among other things, Atty. Sangco to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt "for using intemperate and accusatory language." On March 2, 1989, Atty. Sangco filed an explanation. 

The Court finds Atty. Sangco's remarks in his motion for reconsideration, particularly, “. . . The Court not only put to serious question its own integrity and competence but also jeopardized its own campaign against graft and corruption undeniably pervading the judiciary . . .” disparaging, intemperate, and uncalled-for. His suggestions that the Court might have been guilty of graft and corruption in acting on these cases are not only unbecoming, but comes, as well, as an open assault upon the Court's honor and integrity. 

Issue: Whether or not the counsel’s act constitutes malpractice in violation of the Code’s (CPR) provision on the use of scandalous offensive or menacing language or behavior before the courts. 

Held:  In rendering its judgment, the Court yielded to the records before it, and to the records alone, and not to outside influences, much less, the influence of any of the parties. Atty. Sangco, as a former judge of an inferior court, should know better that in any litigation, one party prevails, but his success will not justify indictments of bribery by the other party. He should be aware that because of his accusations, he has done an enormous disservice to the integrity of the highest tribunal and to the stability of the administration of justice in general. 

Atty. Sangco is entitled to his opinion, but not to a license to insult the Court with derogatory statements and recourses to argumenta ad hominem . In that event, it is the Court's duty "to act to preserve the honor and dignity . . . and to safeguard the morals and ethics of the legal profession." 

The Court in their "show-cause" Resolution, they sought to hold Atty. Sangco in contempt, specifically, for resort to insulting language amounting to disrespect toward the Court within the meaning of Section 1, of Rule 71, of the Rules of Court. Clearly, however, his act also constitutes malpractice as the term is defined by Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

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