Human rights lawyer and professional epal Chel Diokno may be facing disbarment over violations of legal ethics for deceiving petitioner-fishermen from Zambales and Palawan in order to forward his own agenda for the disputed waters through a Writ of Kalikasan petition.
Diokno used the case to sue the Duterte Cabinet for incidences which occurred in 2012.
The Supreme Court has since issued a gag order against both parties in Diokno’s Writ of Kalikasan petition. While the case has not yet been dismissed, it has been disowned by the fishermen themselves.
On June 9, Solicitor General Jose Calida said that the 19 fishermen who were actually involved in the incidents in question have disowned the petition.
“They said that they did not actually sign the petition, they disowned the petition. But anyway that is moot and academic now because the parties have agreed to dismiss the case by Friday,” Calida told reporters.
At the start of June 9’s arguments, Calida submitted affidavits from the 19 petitioners which claim that they have no involvement or interest in pursuing the petition. Diokno, unable to fathom that the poor men he was dragging along with him were unwilling participants of his parade, assumed that the Office of the Solicitor General contacted the fishermen without “their” lawyers. The fishermen’s counsel was composed of Chel Diokno, Andre Palacios, and Gil Anthony.
However, Calida explained that the fishermen themselves, obviously desperate to escape Diokno’s smoke cloud, approached the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Puerto Princesa to submit their affidavits.
“…[T]he IBP (Integrated Bar of the Philippines) lawyers involved in this case foisted egregious deceit not only on the fisherfolk petitioners but also on this Honorable Court. They bastardized the lofty ideals of IBP when they used it as a battering ram to take down the Duterte administration. One thing sure, they won’t get away with impunity,” Calida said in his opening statement.
Because of these revelations, Diokno and his collaborators may be facing disbarment.
Citing Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, Solicitor General Jose Calida said, “A member of the Bar may be removed or suspended from his office by the Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice or other gross misconduct in such office or for corruptly or willful appearing as an attorney for a party in a case without authority to do so. They were not authorized to file a case against the government agencies.”
According to Calida, the fishermen were not informed by “their counsel” that they would be suing the government in the Writ of Kalikasan case. This creates an ethical issue which exposes Diokno’s true motives – his political ambitions and deadset determination to undermine the administration at any cost. Even at the cost of 19 fishermen’s dignity. Even at the cost of twisting time itself.
Finally, we can dismiss Diokno as what he is – a joke and an insult to the legal profession.