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Case Digest on Julieta B. Narag vs. Atty. Dominador M. Narag (291 SCRA 451) Gross Immoral Conduct

November 10, 2010

Facts: Atty. Narag’s spouse filed a petition for disbarment in the IBP alleging that her husband courted one of his students, later maintaining her as a mistress and having children by her.  Atty. Narag claims that his wife was a possessive, jealous woman who abused him and filed the complaint out of spite.  IBP disbarred him, hence, this petition.

Held:  Narag failed to prove his innocence because he failed to refute the testimony given against him and it was proved that his actions were of public knowledge and brought disrepute and suffering to his wife and children.  Good moral character is a continuing qualification required of every member of the bar.  Thus, when a lawyer fails to meet the exacting standard of moral integrity, the Supreme Court may withdraw his or her privilege to practice law.  (Canons 1&7, Rule 7.03, Code of Ethics for Lawyers) It is not only a condition precedent to the practice of law, but a continuing  qualification for all members.  Hence when a lawyer is found guilty of gross immoral conduct, he may be suspended or disbarred.  Grossly immoral means it must be so corrupt as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree or committed under such scandalous or revolting circumstances as to shock the common sense of decency.  As a lawyer, one must not only refrain from adulterous relationships but must not behave in a way that scandalizes the public by creating a belief that he is flouting those moral standards.

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