Jan 13, 2021 @ 15:34

SC scolds failed Benguet gubernatorial bet over threat to shoot man

The Supreme Court (SC) has reprimanded Benguet lawyer and failed 2013 gubernatorial candidate Jerome Selmo for berating an attorney-in-fact and even threatening to shoot her husband.

In a recent 6-page minute resolution, the SC 2nd Division found Selmo guilty of violating the Lawyer’s Oath and Rule 8.01, Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR), which prohibits lawyers from using abusive, offensive or improper language in professional dealings.

The complaint was filed on September 27, 2012—and later withdrawn—by Felicidad Malute, the attorney-in-fact of a woman sued by Selmo’s client.

Malute said she was accompanied by her husband on the day of the mediation conference. She alleged that without provocation, Selmo suddenly shouted, scolded, berated and humiliated her.

When Malute’s husband politely answered back, Selmo threatened to shoot him. Even when the husband left the office to avoid Selmo, the lawyer allegedly followed him and seemed to draw something from his waist, saying “come here so I can shoot you.”

Selmo did not submit an answer before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD), but he later informed the IBP Board that Malute filed an affidavit of desistance.

An April 6, 2014 column published by the Baguio Midland Courier reported that they made amends in a traditional out-of-court proceeding called tongtongan.

Still, the SC stressed that Malute’s desistance “did not obliterate the fact that respondent’s utterances and threats were undoubtedly acts unbecoming of a lawyer.”

Although the remarks and threats were allegedly a result of Selmo’s emotional outbursts, the SC said this was “not sufficient excuse for [his] inappropriate behavior.”

The SC added that Selmo “did not respect the proceedings in the IBP” by failing to submit an answer.

“Even if complainant desisted from pursuing her administrative complaint, respondent should not have simply ignored the directives of the IBP. As a lawyer, he ought to know the importance of compliance with such orders,” read the minute resolution signed by Division Clerk of Court Teresita Aquino Tuazon. #

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