Fact: Criminal Case was originally raffled to the sala of Judge Buyser, who denied the Demurrer to the Evidence of the accused, declaring that the evidence thus presented by the prosecution was sufficient to prove the crime of homicide and not the charge of murder. Consequently, the counsel for the defense filed a Motion to Fix the Amount of Bail Bond. Respondent Atty. Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo, then Senior State Prosecutor and the deputized prosecutor of the case, objected thereto mainly on the ground that the original charge of murder, punishable with reclusion perpetua, was not subject to bail. Judge Buyser inhibited himself from further trying the case because of the “harsh insinuation” of Senior Prosecutor Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo that he “lacks the cold neutrality of an impartial magistrate,” by allegedly suggesting the filing of the motion to fix the amount of bail bond by counsel for the accused. The case was transferred to Judge Tan and Order favorably resolved the Motion to Fix the Amount of Bail Bond.
Respondent filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied for lack of merit. respondent appealed from the Orders to the CA. Instead of availing himself only of judicial remedies, respondent caused the publication of an article regarding the Order granting bail to the accused in Mindanao Gold Star Daily.
Respondent posted the required bond and was released from the custody of the law. He appealed the indirect contempt order to the CA. Despite the citation of indirect contempt, respondent presented himself to the media for interviews in Radio Station DXKS, and again attacked the integrity of Judge Tan and the trial court’s disposition in the proceedings of criminal Case.
Issue: Whether the respondent is guilty of violating Rule 11.05, Canon 11 and Rule 13.02, Canon 13 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and of violating the Lawyer’s Oath?
Held: Yes, Respondent violated Canon 11 when he indirectly stated that Judge Tan was displaying judicial arrogance in the article entitled, Senior prosecutor lambasts Surigao judge for allowing murder suspect to bail out, which appeared in the Mindanao Gold Star Daily. Respondent’s statements in the article, which were made while Criminal. Case was still pending in court, also violated Rule 13.02 of Canon 13, which states that “a lawyer shall not make public statements in the media regarding a pending case tending to arouse public opinion for or against a party.” In regard to the radio interview given to Tony Consing, respondent violated Rule 11.05 of Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for not resorting to the proper authorities only for redress of his grievances against Judge Tan. Respondent also violated Canon 11 for his disrespect of the court and its officer when he stated that Judge Tan was ignorant of the law, that as a mahjong aficionado, he was studying mahjong instead of studying the law, and that he was a liar. Respondent also violated the Lawyer’s Oath, as he has sworn to “conduct [himself] as a lawyer according to the best of [his] knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to [his] clients.