Disbarment case filed vs. De Lima over ‘illicit affair’

Senator Leila De Lima's legal troubles just keep piling up.
On Friday, anti-crime advocates, a corruption whistleblower, and two of her former subordinates trooped to the Supreme Court (SC) to press for her disbarment following her alleged involvement in an extramarital affair.

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Filed with the Office of the Bar Confidant, the complaint accuses De Lima of gross immorality as she allegedly had a romantic affair with her former driver and bodyguard Ronnie Dayan, who reportedly picked up campaign money on her behalf from drug syndicates operating inside the New Bilibid Prison during her term as justice secretary.

"Measured against the definition of gross immorality, we find Senator De Lima's actions grossly immoral. Her actions were so corrupt as to approximate a criminal act, for she has a relationship with a married man, who in all appearances, was married to another and with whom he has a family. Her actions were also unprincipled and reprehensible to the highest degree," the complaint read.

"All these taken together leads to the inescapable conclusion that respondent (De Lima) was grossly imprudent in managing her personal affairs. The fact remains that her relationship with Ronnie Dayan, a married man, is grossly immoral. Worse, she never denied such relationship," it added.
Specifically, the complaint said De Lima committed gross immorality and violated the Lawyers' Oath, and Rule 1.01, Canon 7 and Rule 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

"We find that Senator De Lima violated Canon 7 and Rule 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, as her behavior demeaned the dignity of and discredited the legal profession. She simply failed in her duty as a lawyer to adhere unwaveringly to the highest standards of morality," the complaint read.

"Senator De Lima used her power and moral ascendancy to portray the role of Whitney Houston in the movie 'The Bodyguard.' Unfortunately, the closest that she can relate to Whitney Houston is the death of her legal profession through illegal drugs."

The complaint was filed by Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) founding chairman Dante Jimenez, former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala, and jueteng whistleblower Sandra Cam.

The VACC and ex-NBI officials also initiated the filing of drug trafficking complaints against De Lima and several other individuals before the Department of Justice (DOJ).

De Lima has repeatedly denied the allegation, which she dismissed as character assassination following her criticism of extrajudicial killings of drug suspects under the Duterte administration.
She also accused the government of fabricating evidence and coercing witnesses to testify against her, especially in the House inquiry on the NBP drug mess, which she refused to attend.

De Lima has two other disbarment cases, one filed by lawyer Agustin Sundiam and the other by lawyer Ricardo Rivera.

Sundiam called out De Lima for badmouthing former Chief Justice Renato Corona while lawyer Ricardo Rivera questioned her defiance to a temporary restraining order issued by the high court that allowed former President and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to travel abroad in November 2011.

Arroyo was facing an electoral sabotage case at the time.
Because of the disbarment complaints, De Lima was excluded by the Judicial and Bar Council from the shortlist of nominees for chief justice in August 2012.

De Lima rued her disqualification, saying the the Supreme Court, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and the JBC looked like they all conspired to deny her the chance to become the head of the judiciary.

Sources: GMA Network, Newsinfolearn

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