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SC disbars lawyer who left wife and kids for another woman, flaunted illicit affair online

By NICK GARCIA Published Feb 23, 2024 12:50 pm

The Supreme Court (SC) disbarred a lawyer who left his wife and kids for another woman, which he even flaunted on social media.

The SC, in a 10-page decision published on Feb. 19, said Vincenzo Nonato Taggueg is guilty of gross immoral conduct, violating “the fundamental canons of ethics expected to be obeyed by the members of the legal profession.”

Taggueg and his wife, Monette, got married in 2002.

In 2016, Monette filed a complaint before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), seeking to disbar her husband for abandoning his family and cohabitating with another woman named Cindy Villajuan.

Taggueg also supposedly married Villajuan in 2015 despite his marriage with Monette.

According to the decision, Monette found that Villajuan was using the surname "Taggueg" on social media. She also saw pictures of their wedding and “other photos of their amorous relationship.”

In its resolution, the IBP Board of Governors modified the investigating commissioner’s recommendation with indefinite suspension and a P20,000 fine.

SC adopted the IBP board’s resolution, though elevated the indefinite suspension to disbarment.

But in a dissenting opinion, Senior Associate Justice Marvic Leonen said that while Taggueg’s extramarital affair is deplorable conduct, suspending him is already “sufficient to impress upon him the gravity of his actions.”

Leonen noted that the disbarment “should be reserved for those who commit indiscretions that (a) are repeated, (b) result in permanent rearrangements that cause extraordinary difficulties on existing legitimate relationships, and (c) are prima facie shown to have violated the law.”

“With the majority's ruling in this case, this Court seemed to have backslid to an antiquated overinvolvement in primarily private affairs,” he said. “Lawyers are called to account for how their behavior affects the legal profession, without more.”

“Disciplinary cases should never be used as a forum for individuals to vindicate private rights that are beyond the lawyer's professional dealings,” he added, concluding that he voted to suspend Taggueg for three years.