By Rey Panaligan
Lawyers must appear before the courts in proper attire and the Supreme Court (SC) said it “does not insist on sartorial pomposity.”
“Still professional courtesy demands that persons, especially lawyers, having business before courts, act with discretion and manifest this discretion in their choice of apparel,” the SC stressed.
With its pronouncement, the SC admonished lawyer Nicardo Falcis III, who filed a petition to legalize same-sex marriage, for attending a preliminary conference on his case last June 19 wearing cropped jeans, a jacket, and loafers without socks.
“Wherefore, this Court finds Atty. Jesus Nicardo M. Falcis III guilty of direct contempt of Court. He is hereby admonished to properly conduct himself in court and to be more circumspect of the duties attendant to his being a lawyer,” the SC resolution stated.
It warned Falcis “that any further contemptuous acts shall be dealt with more severely.”
The SC pointed out that Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility requires lawyers to “observe and maintain the respect due to the Courts and to judicial officers and (to) insist on similar conduct by others.”
“This duty encompasses appearances before the court in proper attire,” it stressed.
It said that preliminary conferences and oral arguments are “official judicial functions” where all parties present are required “to observe solemnities of these proceedings.”
“Atty. Falcis has miserably failed to accord this Court and his clients’ cause the dignity and respect they deserve,” it said.
In initiating contempt proceedings against Falcis, the SC also cited his failure to rise and manifest his presence when appearances for the parties were called by the clerk of court. He also failed to rise during the initial round of interpellations by the justices, it added.
“Throughout the proceedings, he acted as though he was unprepared and without knowledge of the decorum typical to appearing in court,” the SC said.
The SC conducted oral arguments on the petition for same-sex marriage. Memorandum by the parties were ordered submitted. Thereafter, the SC will resolve the issue.