IBP tells Alvarez: Lawyers are held to a 'higher' standard of morality

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2017 07:44 PM

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez

MANILA- The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Friday reminded lawyer and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of the "highest standards of morality, behavior and professionalism" expected of lawyers.

In a statement issued by IBP President Rosario Setias-Reyes, the organization said they would accord Alvarez due process in case someone decides to file a case against the Speaker.

"In the event that someone should file a complaint against Congressman Alvarez, he will, of course, be granted the full measure of his right to due process but these shall be the same standards against which his actions shall be measured," the statement read.

The IBP added that lawyers are held to a "higher" standard than most which are enforced by the Supreme Court and the lawyers' organization.

"The IBP has always and shall always maintain the highest standards of morality, behavior and professionalism among its members," it said. 

Alvarez on Thursday told his critics to "go ahead" with a disbarment case against him, after he admitted having a girlfriend and engaging in extra-marital affairs. 

He also admitted in a DZMM interview that he has "many" children out of wedlock.

"Meron po (akong anak sa labas), marami. Pero hindi sa relationship ko ngayon," Alvarez said.

(I have children out of wedlock, many. But not with my current partner.) 

Alvarez also said he is willing to answer disbarment complaints on account of his extra-marital affairs.

"Hindi ko naman pwedeng sabihin na hindi totoo 'yang kwento na 'yan. Eh di mag-file ng disbarment, sasagutin ko din 'yan," he said.

(I can't say these stories aren't true. If they file a disbarment complaint, I will answer it.)

He also reiterated that he has long been estranged from his legal wife, Emelita Apostol Alvarez.

AT RISK 

Alvarez's admission of his extra-marital affairs puts him at risk of disbarment and even possible disciplinary actions. 

Last year, the Ombudsman ordered the suspension of Davao Oriental Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator Romeo Covarrubias for "disgraceful and immoral conduct" and absenteeism.

The Ombudsman's investigation found that Covarrubias, who is married, lived with another woman whom he introduced as his wife. 

The Supreme Court, in Garrido vs Garrido and Valencia, during the time of Chief Justice Reynato Puno, had ordered 2 lawyers disbarred for having an extra-marital affair on the grounds of gross immorality, violation of the lawyer's oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility. -- with a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News