RTC judges inhibit from cases handled by “disrespectful” lawyer

A Manila-based lawyer will have to wait for the Supreme Court to assign a new judge to handle his cases after the Regional Trial Court’s two judges inhibited themselves due to the lawyer’s “disrespectful” attitude.

Last week, RTC Branch 43 Presiding Judge Lelu P. Contreras voluntarily inhibited herself from hearing existing and future cases handled by Atty. Gil G. Taway IV and cancelled all trial dates previously scheduled.

Affected by the move are six civil cases and 14 criminal cases pending before the RTC branch, including four cases transferred to it by RTC Branch 42 Presiding Judge Genie G. Gapas-Agbada who had previously inhibited herself from hearing Atty. Taway’s cases.

In the Jan. 27, 2021 Joint Order, Judge Contreras recalled that she had earlier voluntarily inhibited in four criminal cases handled by Atty. Taway in January 2019 because she suffered hypertension because of the “arrogant and disrespectful attitude” of defense counsel Taway who, despite the rulings of the court, continued to argue with the judge.

After Judge Gapas-Agbada inhibited herself and the Branch 42 cases landed in the other branch, Judge Contreras cautioned Atty. Taway that he should not give any reason for her to inhibit.

During the Jan. 26 hearing in four criminal cases, Judge Contreras said, Atty. Taway’s belligerent, arrogant and disrespectful attitude resurfaced that the judge had to bang the gavel three (3) times despite a previous warning.

When Atty. Taway continued arguing with the judge, the latter hurriedly left the courtroom and then returned later to dictate the inhibition order.

“Not a single word of ‘sorry’ came from the mouth of Atty. Taway, which shows that he is not only disrespectful, but he is also not remorseful,” Contreras said.

“The undersigned is already 68 years old and would not want to be subjected to further stress from such blatant disrespect to the Court,” the judge said.

The joint order cited Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which provides that a lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and abstain from scandalous, offensive or menacing language of behavior before the courts.

“Atty. Gil G. Taway IV was weighed and found wanting, not only once, not only twice or thrice, but many times,” it stressed.

Atty. Taway replied, “No comment,” when asked by the Tribune for his reaction to the issue.

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