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IBP on Alvarez affair admission: Lawyers held to higher standard

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Friday weighed in on House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez's admission that he is ready to lose his license to practice law for having an extra-marital affair.

In a statement, the IBP said the country's mandatory organization of lawyers "has always and shall always maintain the highest standards of morality, behavior and professionalism" among its members.

"As members of a noble profession and as officers of the court, lawyers are held to a higher standard than most and these standards are seriously enforced by the Supreme Court and by the IBP as the mandatory organization of lawyers," the group said.

The Code of Professional Responsibility prohibits lawyers from engaging in "unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct."

"In the event that someone should file a complaint against Alvarez, he will, of course, be granted the full measure of his right to due process but these shall be the same standards against which his actions shall be measured," the IBP said.

Alvarez’ relationship came to light after he filed a graft complaint against Davao del Norte Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr., over his links to the Tagum Agricultural Development Company, Inc. (TADECO) — one of the largest banana plantations in the world — and the Anflo Management and Investment Corporation (ANFLOCOR).

He is also calling for a House inquiry on the joint venture between TADECO and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

Alvarez and Floirendo used to be close, but rumors swirled that the falling out allegedly began because of a fight between Floirendo's partner Cathy Binag and Alvarez’ girlfriend Jennifer Vicencio.

On Thursday, Alvarez admitted his relationship with Vicencio. He also said he sired eight children by different women.

But Alvarez just laughed off threats of disbarment, saying the country may run out of lawyers in case it happens. —Virgil Lopez/JST, GMA News