Legal Ethics

Macarubbo v. Macarubbo, RE: PETITION (FOR EXTRAORDINARY MERCY) OF EDMUNDO L. MACARUBBO. Adm. Case No. 6148, January 22, 2013

FACTS:

In the Decision1 dated February 27, 2004, the Court disbarred respondent from the practice of law for having contracted a bigamous marriage with complainant Florence Teves and a third marriage with one Josephine Constantino while his first marriage to Helen Esparza was still subsisting, which acts constituted gross immoral conduct in violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 7, Rule 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. 

The dispositive portion of the subject Decision reads:

WHEREFORE, respondent Edmundo L. Macarubbo is found guilty of gross immorality and is hereby DISBARRED from the practice of law. He is likewise ORDERED to show satisfactory evidence to the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline and to this Court that he is supporting or has made provisions for the regular support of his two children by complainant.

Let respondent’s name be stricken off the Roll of Attorneys.

SO ORDERED.

Aggrieved, respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration/Appeal for Compassion and Mercy which the Court denied with finality in the Resolution dated June 1, 2004. 

Eight years after or on June 4, 2012, respondent filed the instant Petition (For Extraordinary Mercy) seeking judicial clemency and reinstatement in the Roll of Attorneys. 

The Court initially treated the present suit as a second motion for reconsideration and accordingly, denied it for lack of merit in the Resolution dated September 4, 2012. 

On December 18, 2012, the same petition was endorsed to this Court by the Office of the Vice President for re-evaluation, prompting the Court to look into the substantive merits of the case.

ISSUE:

Whether or not respondent may be reinstated to the practice of law.

RULING:

Petition is granted. Respondent is, however, reminded that such privilege is burdened with conditions whereby adherence. to the rigid standards of intellect, moral uprightness, and strict compliance with the rules and the law are continuing requirements.

In Re: Letter of Judge Augustus C. Diaz, Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 37, Appealing for Clemency, the Court laid down the following guidelines in resolving requests for judicial clemency, to wit:

1. There must be proof of remorse and reformation. These shall include but should not be limited to certifications or testimonials of the officer(s) or chapter(s) of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, judges or judges associations and prominent members of the community with proven integrity and probity. A subsequent finding of guilt in an administrative case for the same or similar misconduct will give rise to a strong presumption of non-reformation.

2. Sufficient time must have lapsed from the imposition of the penalty to ensure a period of reform.

3. The age of the person asking for clemency must show that he still has productive years ahead of him that can be put to good use by giving him a chance to redeem himself.

4. There must be a showing of promise (such as intellectual aptitude, learning or legal acumen or contribution to legal scholarship and the development of the legal system or administrative and other relevant skills), as well as potential for public service.

5. There must be other relevant factors and circumstances that may justify clemency.

Moreover, to be reinstated to the practice of law, the applicant must, like any other candidate for admission to the bar, satisfy the Court that he is a person of good moral character.

Applying the foregoing standards to this case, the Court finds the instant petition meritorious.

Respondent has sufficiently shown his remorse and acknowledged his indiscretion in the legal profession and in his personal life. He has asked forgiveness from his children by complainant Teves and maintained a cordial relationship with them as shown by the herein attached pictures. Records also show that after his disbarment, respondent returned to his hometown in Enrile, Cagayan and devoted his time tending an orchard and taking care of his ailing mother until her death in 2008. In 2009, he was appointed as Private Secretary to the Mayor of Enrile, Cagayan and thereafter, assumed the position of Local Assessment Operations Officer II/ Office-In-Charge in the Assessor’s Office, which office he continues to serve to date. Moreover, he is a part-time instructor at the University of Cagayan Valley and F.L. Vargas College during the School Year 2011-2012. Respondent likewise took an active part in socio-civic activities by helping his neighbors and friends who are in dire need.

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