SC disbars lawyer involved in 2010 hijacking incident

THE Supreme Court (SC) has disbarred a lawyer involved in a hijacking incident for gross misconduct and violation of the lawyers' code of ethics, the SC said Tuesday.

The magistrates, in a unanimous decision last April 12, ruled to disbar lawyer Ronald Aguado for gross misconduct and violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR) for his participation in a hijacking incident in October 2010.

The administrative complaint against the lawyer was filed by Cobalt Resources Inc. (CRI) to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).

The IBP has earlier found Aguado "liable for unlawful, dishonest, immoral, and deceitful" conduct in falsifying his ID and a mission order on March 5, 2010.

Aguado's mission order and his fake ID showed him as the Legal Consultant and the Assistant Team leader of the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG), which allegedly hijacked the CRI delivery van loaded with P1.3 million worth cellular phones.

The IBP however, "deferred the issue of Atty. Aguado's purported participation in the alleged hijacking incident as the issue pertained to a judicial function."

The IBP Board of Governors ruled to suspend Aguado only for two years.

This prompted CRI to file a motion for reconsideration praying for Aguado's disbarment. However, the IBP Board of Governors denied the motion. This led CRI to file a petition for review before the SC, noting that "Atty. Aguado be meted out the penalty for disbarment for falsification of a PASG mission order and ID and for his involvement in the hijacking of the CRI delivery van and its cargo."

The High Court found merit in CRI's petition for review, accusing Aguado of hijacking and falsification of documents. It also ordered Aguado's name to be removed from roll of attorneys after finding the lawyer guilty of gross dishonesty.

The SC held that "clearly, Atty. Aguado committed the act complained of as it was established that he was in possession of a falsified ID showing him as a legal consultant of the PASG and mission order identifying him as the Assistant Team Leader of the anti-smuggling operation."

The High Court meanwhile, reminded lawyers especially the latest Bar passers who are set to take their oath this June 16 to take the lawyer's mandate to heart.

The SC said that lawyers explicit mandate as stated in Canon 1 of the CPR states that "a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct” and that “[a] lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system".

The court also emphasized "a membership in the Bar is a privilege laden with conditions, and granted only to those who possess the strict intellectual and moral qualifications required of lawyers as instruments in the effective and efficient administration of justice.

"Lawyers are also expected to maintain not only legal proficiency but also a high standard of morality, honesty, integrity, and fair dealing," the Court added. (Sunnex)
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