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Harassing or threatening conduct, C2S6 CPRA

Section 6, Canon II

SECTION 6. Harassing or threatening conduct. – A lawyer shall not harass or threaten a fellow lawyer, the latter’s client or principal, a witness, or any official or employee of a court, tribunal, or other government agency. (2023 Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability or CPRA)

1. Harassing or threatening conduct

a. No to harassment or threats

Lawyers should avoid harassing or threatening:

1) Fellow lawyers;

2) Clients or principals of another lawyer;

3) Witnesses; or

4) Any official or employee of a court, tribunal, or other government agency.

Lawyers should treat their opposing counsels and other lawyers with courtesy, dignity and civility. A great part of their comfort, as well as of their success at the bar, depends upon their relations with their professional brethren. Since they deal constantly with each other, they must treat one another with trust and respect. Any undue ill feeling between clients should not influence counsels in their conduct and demeanor toward each other. Mutual bickering, unjustified recriminations and offensive behavior among lawyers not only detract from the dignity of the legal profession, but also constitute highly unprofessional conduct subject to disciplinary action. (Reyes v. Chiong, A.C. No. 5148, 01 July 2003)

Where a lawyer handling a criminal case instituted a civil complaint impleading the other party’s counsel and the prosecutor to gain leverage, he was held liable for harassing opposing counsel. It appears that respondent-lawyer took the estafa case as a personal affront and used the civil case as a tool to return the inconvenience suffered by his client. His actions demonstrate a misuse of the legal process. The aim of every lawsuit should be to render justice to the parties according to law, not to harass them. (Reyes v. Chiong [2003], supra.)

1) Prudence in filing administrative charges

The Supreme Court has already admonished lawyers to be more prudent in filing administrative charges against members of the judiciary. (Balaoing v. Calderon, A.M. RTJ-90-580, 27 April 1993)

Where a lawyer had a penchant for filing administrative charges against judges, in whose sala he has pending cases, whenever the latter render decisions or issue orders adverse to him and/or his clients, he was disbarred. Here, complainant Balaoing went out of bounds when he filed his baseless and frivolous administrative complaints against respondent Judges Calderon and Maliwanag, with no other plain and clear purpose than to harass respondent Judges, and thus, exact vengeance on them for rendering adverse judgments against him and his clients. (Balaoing v. Calderon [1993], supra.)

2) Insulting judges

A lawyer who insults a judge inside a courtroom completely disregards the latter’s role, stature and position in our justice system. (Baculi v. Battung, A.C. No. 8920, 28 September 2011)

When the respondent publicly berated and brazenly threatened Judge Baculi that he would file a case for gross ignorance of the law against the latter, the respondent effectively acted in a manner tending to erode the public confidence in Judge Baculi’s competence and in his ability to decide cases. Incompetence is a matter that, even if true, must be handled with sensitivity in the manner provided under the Rules of Court; an objecting or complaining lawyer cannot act in a manner that puts the courts in a bad light and bring the justice system into disrepute. (Baculi v. Battung [2011], supra.)

References

Canon II, 2023 Code of Professional Responsibility

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