MANILA The Supreme Court (SC) has admonished the petitioner which sought the lifting of the prohibitions on same-sex marriage in the country for wearing casual clothes during the preliminary conference on the matter last June 19.
In a five-page resolution dated July 3 but was released to media on Monday, the SC en banc found lawyer Jesus Nicardo Falcis III guilty of direct contempt and meted the sanction of admonition for wearing jacket, cropped jeans and loafers without socks.
This Court finds Atty. Jesus Nicardo M. Falcis III guilty of direct contempt of court.. He is hereby admonished to properly conduct himself in court and to be more circumspect of the duties attendant to his being a lawyer. He is sternly warned that any further contemptuous acts shall be dealt with more severely, read the resolution signed by SC Clerk of Court Edgar O. Aricheta.
Falcis III, who admitted to being gay, filed the controversial petition for certiorari and prohibition and he was joined in the petition by male couple Crescencio Agbayani and Marlon Felipe and a certain Sugar Ibanez and her partner.
When questioned by SC Associate Justice Marvic Leonen regarding his attire, Falcis claimed that he had attended a meeting with advocates in Makati earlier that day. He was attired in such a manner despite notice as early as March that he was scheduled to appear before the SC.
Also, Falcis failed to rise and manifest his presence when appearances for the parties were called into order. He also failed to rise during the initial round of questioning by the Justices.
When responding to the justices, Falcis failed to address them in customary courtesies.
The SC said that Falcis jeopardized the cause of his clients.
"Without even uttering a word, he recklessly courted disfavor with this Court. His bearing and demeanor were a disservice to his clients and to the human rights advocacy he purports to represent," the High Court said.
But the high court ruled that Under Rule 72, Section 1 of the Rules of Court on Direct contempt, Falcis is ruled to be guilty of the same.
"Atty. Falcis is reminded of the requirement under Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for lawyers to "observe and maintain the respect due to the Courts and to judicial officers and [to] insist on similar conduct by others. This duty encompasses appearances before courts in proper attire," it stated.
"This Court does not insist on sartorial pomposity. It does not prescribe immutable minutiae for physical appearance. Still, professional courtesy demands that persons, especially lawyers, having business before courts, act with discretion and manifest this discretion in their choice of apparel," it added.
The High Court also noted that preliminary conferences and oral arguments are official judicial functions and its solemnities must be observed accordingly.
The SC also ordered that this sanction shall be "included in the personal record" of Falcis and "entered in his file in the Office of the Bar Confidant." (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency