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JUDGE RENE B. BACULI v. ATTY. MELCHOR A. BATTUNG A.C. 8920, 28 September 2011, SECOND DIVISION (Brion, J.

) A lawyer who insulted a judge inside a courtroom completely disregards the latter’s role, stature and position in our justice system. On July 24, 2008, during a hearing on the motion for reconsideration of a case, respondent Atty. Mechor A. Battung acted disrespectfully by shouting while arguing his motion. Petitioner, Judge Rene Baculi, had advised respondent to tone down his voice but the respondent consistently kept shouting, even when he was warned that he would be cited for direct contempt. After eventually being cited for direct contempt and was imposed a fine of P100.00, the respondent left. However, while other cases were being heard, respondent re-entered the court and shouted “Judge, I will file gross ignorance against you! I am not afraid of you!” He was escorted out of the courtroom and was again cited for direct contempt for the second time. Respondent also uttered the same lines when he saw petitioner at the hall of the courthouse afterwards and even challenged the latter to a fight. He was then escorted out of the building. Based on the tape of the incident and the transcript of stenographic notes, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Investigative Commissioner Jose de la Rama, Jr. found that the respondent was the one who shouted first at the complainant, despite the latter’s claim that he was provoked by the petitioner. The Commissioner further stated that the respondent failed to observe Rule 11.03, Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that a lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or menacing language or behaviour before the courts. The IBP Board of Governors passed a Resolution adopting and approving the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Melchor A. Battung is guilty of violating Rule 11.03, Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for insulting a judge in his courtroom HELD: Petition GRANTED. The Supreme Court agrees with the finding of the IBP that the respondent did violate Rule 11.03, Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. By shouting at the petitioner, Atty. Battung clearly disrespected the former in the presence of litigants and their counsels and court personnel. Furthermore, the respondent even threatened the judge that he will file a case of gross ignorance

of the law against the latter. The respondent’s actions are found not only against the person, the position and the stature of petitioner but also against the court whose proceedings were disrupted. As an officer of the court, it is the duty of Atty. Battung to uphold the dignity and authority of the courts. A lawyer who insulted a judge inside a courtroom completely disregard’s the latter’s role, stature and position in our justice system. Respects for the courts guarantee the stability of the judicial institution and without such, the courts would be resting on very shaky foundations and will thus, lose the confidence from the people. By threatening to a file a case against the judge, Atty. Battung seems to erode public confidence in the petitioner’s competence. However, incompetence is a matter that, even if true, should be handled with sensitivity in the manner that is provided under the Rules of Court, and not how the respondent handled the situation. The respondent’s actions, being scandalous and offensive to the integrity of the judicial system, clearly showed a violation of the Rule 11.03, Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.