Love Affair

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“You will always… and the wonderful things you do! be mine… and mine alone and I will always be yours and yours alone? I love you forever, I love you for always. As long as I’m living my tweetie you’ll be.”

Thus reads a lawyer’s love letter to someone else’s wife on the day of the latter’s marriage. He was disbarred for the affair. It might sound cruel but a title so coveted such as that of a lawyer has been withdrawn for following his heart. The love story of Irene and Atty. Eala sounds familiar to telenovela fans. Irene was married to Joselano but after their marriage the latter observed a drastic change in the behavior of his wife. She would come home late and sometimes would not even come home and when asked she would say that she had an overtime. Joselano even discovered some text messages from Atty. Eala on the cellphone of Irene saying “I love you” or “meet you at the Megamall” and others. Joselano even saw them together twice and when he confronted Irene, she abandoned their conjugal dwelling. Later Joselano discovered a letter containing the hand written message quoted above. It was a letter that Atty. Eala wrote to Irene on the day of her wedding with Joselano. Joselano and Irene’s marriage totally crumbled and Irene and Atty. Eala’s relationship produced a daughter. Joselano then filed a disbarment case against Atty. Eala for violating the Code of Professional Responsibility as a lawyer.

Disbarment

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) dismissed the compliant against Atty. Eala but giving no reasons for it. The Supreme Court (SC), despite dismissal of the case by the IBP proceeded to decide on the matter finding Atty. Eala to have violated the Code of Professional Responsibility. By having an intimate relationship with a married woman, Atty. Eala knowingly violated the laws of the Philippines and that their relationship was immoral. The Court’s earlier ruling in Vitug vs. Rongcal was again applied here: “While it has been held in disbarment cases that the mere fact of sexual relations between two unmarried adults is not sufficient to warrant administrative sanction for such illicit behavior, it is not so with respect to betrayals of the marital vow of fidelity. Even if not all forms of extra-marital relations are punishable under penal law, sexual relations outside marriage is considered disgraceful and immoral as it manifests deliberate disregard of the sanctity of marriage and the marital vows protected by the Constitution and affirmed by our laws.”(A.C. No. 6313, September 7, 2006, 501 SCRA 166). The Court pointed out that “respondent violated Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which proscribes a lawyer from engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct, and Rule 7.03 of Canon 7 of the same Code which proscribes a lawyer from engaging in any conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law.” (A.C. No. 7136, August 1, 2007). It does not matter that Atty. Eala’s marriage or that of Irene and Joselano was declared void ab initio since at the time Irene and Atty. Eala were having an affair, they were still married to their respective spouses.

While love cannot be regulated by our laws, it is the actions of the person in love that still has to conform with our laws and morals. HAPPY VALENTINES!

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