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A.C. No.

11394 December 01, 2016


MARIA VICTORIA G. BELO-HENARES v. ATTY. ROBERTO C. GUEVARRA

PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:

FACTS:
Respondent is the lawyer of a certain Ms. Josefina "Josie" Norcio, who filed criminal cases
against complainant for an allegedly botched surgical procedure on her buttocks purportedly
causing infection and making her ill in 2009.

In 2009, respondent wrote a series of posts on his Facebook account insulting and verbally
abusing complainant.

Asserting that the said posts, written in vulgar and obscene language, were designed to inspire
public hatred, destroy her reputation, and to close BMGI and all its clinics, as well as to extort
the amount of P200 Million from her as evident from his demand letter dated August 26, 2009,
complainant lodged this complaint for disbarment against respondent.

ISSUE: WON respondent should be administratively liable

HELD: YES.

In view of the foregoing, respondent's inappropriate and obscene language, and his act of
publicly insulting and undermining the reputation of complainant through the subject Facebook
posts are, therefore, in complete and utter violation of the following provisions in the Code of
Professional Responsibility:

Rule 7.03 - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to
practice law, nor shall he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous
manner to the discredit of the legal profession.

Rule 8.01 - A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is
abusive, offensive or otherwise improper.

Rule 19.01 - A lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain the lawful
objectives of his client and shall not present, participate in presenting or threaten to
present unfounded criminal charges to obtain an improper advantage in any case or
proceeding.

By posting the subject remarks on Facebook directed at complainant and BMGI, respondent
disregarded the fact that, as a lawyer, he is bound to observe proper decorum at all times, be it in
his public or private life. He overlooked the fact that he must behave in a manner befitting of an
officer of the court, that is, respectful, firm, and decent. Instead, he acted inappropriately and
rudely; he used words unbecoming of an officer of the law, and conducted himself in an
aggressive way by hurling insults and maligning complainant's and BMGI's reputation.