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Natasha Hueysuwan-Florido (H-F) filed this administrative complaint against
her husband James Florido for violating his oath as a lawyer by
manufacturing, flaunting and usng a spurious and bogus CA resolution/order.
H-F admits that she and her husband live separately. They have two children.
Sometime in Dec. 2001, Florido went to H-Fs house and showed her a
photocopy of a resolution issued by the CA apparently giving to Florido the
legal custody of their children. H-F doubted the authenticity of the CA
resolution so she did not give her children to Florido.
Then in 2002, while H-F and her children were in the ABC Learning Center,
Florido arrived accompanied by armed men. Florido demanded that H-F
surrender custody of their children to him. H-F, fearing for her childrens
safety, called the police. In the police station, H-F agreed to let the children
sleep with Florido just for one night at a hotel. But when H-F heard of news
that Florido was planning to take the children to Bacolod, she immediately
took them away.
Florido then filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on the basis of the CA
resolution he presented to H-F earlier. This petition was dismissed because
Florido did not appear and H-F presented a certification from the CA that
there was no resolution granting Florido with legal custody of their children.
Thus, this present action.
The IBP has recommended that Florido be
suspended from the practice of law for 6 years.
W/n Florido should be held liable for his actions.
SC says that Florido should be held liable. He violated Canon 10 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility, particularly Rule 10.01 and 10.02, by his act of
making up a spurious CA resolution and using such false resolution to his
The SC thinks that suspension of 6 years is too much so they lowered the
penalty to just a 2-year suspension.
Zaldivar was the governor of Antique. He was charged before the Sandiganbayan
for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Gonzales was the then
Tanodbayan who was investigating the case. Zaldivar then filed with the Supreme
Court a petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus assailing the authority of
the Tanodbayan to investigate graft cases under the 1987 Constitution. The
Supreme Court, acting on the petition issued a Cease and Desist Order against
Gonzalez directing him to temporarily restrain from investigating and filing
informations against Zaldivar.
Gonzales however proceeded with the investigation and he filed criminal
informations against Zaldivar. Gonzalez even had a newspaper interview where he
proudly claims that he scored one on the Supreme Court; that the Supreme Courts
issuance of the TRO is a manifestation theta the rich and influential persons get
favorable actions from the Supreme Court, [while] it is difficult for an ordinary
litigant to get his petition to be given due course.

Zaldivar then filed a Motion for Contempt against Gonzalez. The Supreme Court
then ordered Gonzalez to explain his side. Gonzalez stated that the statements in
the newspapers were true; that he was only exercising his freedom of speech; that
he is entitled to criticize the rulings of the Court, to point out where he feels the
Court may have lapsed into error. He also said, even attaching notes, that not less
than six justices of the Supreme Court have approached him to ask him to go slow
on Zaldivar and to not embarrass the Supreme Court.
ISSUE: Whether or not Gonzalez is guilty of contempt.
HELD: Yes. The statements made by respondent Gonzalez clearly constitute
contempt and call for the exercise of the disciplinary authority of the Supreme
Court. His statements necessarily imply that the justices of the Supreme Court
betrayed their oath of office. Such statements constitute the grossest kind of
disrespect for the Supreme Court. Such statements very clearly debase and
degrade the Supreme Court and, through the Court, the entire system of
administration of justice in the country.
Gonzalez is entitled to the constitutional guarantee of free speech. What Gonzalez
seems unaware of is that freedom of speech and of expression, like all constitutional
freedoms, is not absolute and that freedom of expression needs on occasion to be
adjusted to and accommodated with the requirements of equally important public
interests. One of these fundamental public interests is the maintenance of the
integrity and orderly functioning of the administration of justice. There is no
antinomy between free expression and the integrity of the system of administering
Gonzalez, apart from being a lawyer and an officer of the court, is also a Special
Prosecutor who owes duties of fidelity and respect to the Republic and to the
Supreme Court as the embodiment and the repository of the judicial power in the
government of the Republic. The responsibility of Gonzalez to uphold the dignity
and authority of the Supreme Court and not to promote distrust in the
administration of justice is heavier than that of a private practicing lawyer.
Gonzalez is also entitled to criticize the rulings of the court but his criticisms must
be bona fide. In the case at bar, his statements, particularly the one where he
alleged that members of the Supreme Court approached him, are of no relation to
the Zaldivar case.
The Supreme Court suspended Gonzalez indefinitely from the practice of law.