MANILA - Solicitor General Jose Calida on Thursday called for the resignation of Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) president Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo for allegedly using his position to "advance his personal agenda."
In a statement, Calida accused Fajardo of politicking when he allowed Peter Joemel Advincula into the IBP office for a press conference. Advincula had surfaced Monday and identified himself as the hooded “Bikoy” behind videos linking President Rodrigo Duterte's family in the drug trade.
He also sought legal aid from the IBP and denied links to the opposition.
"Fajardo has turned the IBP into a highly politicized organization, when it should advance the rule of law and stand for truth and justice. He is a disgrace to the IBP,” Calida.
The IBP is an organization of all Philippine lawyers.
“He does not to speak for all the members of the IBP. But his actions reflect badly on the organization and consequently, the legal profession," he added.
The IBP on Wednesday rejected Advincula's request after a thorough evaluation of his application by the National Center for Legal Aid.
"In the pursuit of its mandate to provide access to justice to the poor and the marginalized, the IBP cannot be seen to be siding with or going against any candidate or political party," said Fajardo.
Calida, however, said Fajardo should not have given Advincula a platform to begin with.
“The action of the president of the IBP betrays his intention to make the organization a venue for his political aspirations," he said.
“He should be reminded of the purpose of the IBP, which is to promote the best interest of lawyers and the courts. The IBP should be in the forefront in advocating obedience to the law,” Calida added.
Fajardo's term as IBP president will end on June 30. He will be replaced by IBP Vice Chairman of the Board and Governor for Northern Luzon Domingo Egon Cayosa.