SC suspends Gadon for verbal assault against journalist

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 4) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the preventive suspension of lawyer Larry Gadon over his "abhorrent behavior" in a viral video, where he launched an expletive-laced rant against journalist Raissa Robles.

The suspension from the practice of law is “effective immediately and to last until lifted by the Court,” the court's statement read.

It also said it treated the matter as a formal administrative complaint for disbarment against Gadon, who is seeking a Senate seat in the May elections after two failed bids in 2016 and 2019.

Last month, a video of Gadon spewing profanities and sexist remarks against Robles made the rounds on social media. In the clip, the lawyer was furious after the journalist supposedly called presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos (BBM) a tax evader.

The high court said that in the resolution it issued, Gadon has a non-extendible period of 10 days to file his comment and explain why his license to practice law shouldn't be revoked. This is "in consideration of the numerous prior controversies leading to the disbarment cases" filed against him, it added.

'Politically motivated'

In a statement, Gadon said he “cannot help but feel [...] singled out” by the court, which he claimed failed to extend him fair treatment.

"For an institution that prides itself for safeguarding due process of laws, I am confused that the Supreme Court immediately suspended me without due process and my suspension was announced in the media without furnishing me first with a copy of the complaint, if there is any,” he said.

He further cast doubt on the decision, as he added: “Could this be due to my recent statement calling for a refund of the protest fees paid by BBM that remained unresolved? Could this be politically motivated since I am running for senator?"

The tirade against Robles is only the latest of a series of inappropriate conduct displayed by Gadon. In 2019, the Supreme Court also slapped him with a three-month suspension for the "malicious and arrogant" language he used towards a doctor.

“Gadon was already warned that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely. But despite such warning, Gadon has continued to display similarly abhorrent behavior, with the viral video against Robles,” the court said.

Disbarment cases have also been filed against the lawyer over a number of instances, including his statement in 2016 that he was willing to kill Muslim insurgents. There has also been a move to expel him from the profession after he verbally attacked supporters of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

In December last year, he faced another disbarment case over his claim that former President Benigno Aquino III died of human immunodeficiency virus or HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. It was disclosed by Aquino's family that his cause of death was renal disease, secondary to diabetes.

The high court directed the Office of the Bar Confidant to submit an updated list of the pending administrative cases against Gadon within 10 days from the receipt of the resolution.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines was likewise ordered to send a status report of all pending complaints against the senatorial aspirant which have been filed before the organization.