A veteran Cebuano lawyer, does not want to be called ‘attorney’

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DAVAO CITY , Philippines (March 1)– As a sign of protest over corruption in the judiciary, Cebuano lawyer Dionisio Cañete no longer wants to be called attorney, a petition granted by the Supreme Court recently.

Cañete claims rampant corruption changes  decision at the judiciary, a practice he can no longer swallow.

In his petition to the Supreme Court, Cañete who practiced legal profession for 56 years expressed extreme disappointed when nine of the 10 cases he filed before the prosecutors’ office from 2014 to 2016 were “maliciously dismissed” despite having presented strong evidence.

Citing his decision, that three of the nine dismissed cases were overturned by the Regional State Prosecutor.

He tried to go back to the prosecutor’s office only to find out that the case folders can no longer be found.

As a lawyer,  he expect decision on cases to prosper but it turned the other way round. Prosecutors and judges, he said, convinced him that the criminal justice system in the Philippines is “like a spider’s web, wherein only the mosquitoes and flies are caught, but the wealthy and government officials simply go through it.”

Cañete  emphasized “With all those cruel and brutal injustices heaped on me, I feel that being a lawyer does not anymore deserve respect and courtesy from his own brothers in the legal profession; that there is no more logical and cogent reason for me to remain as a lawyer.”

With his voluntary resignation from the profession he dearly loved, Cañete’s name will be stripped off in the Roll of Attorney, a book signed by members of the lawyers  after they took their oath following the success in bar examination.

With his exit, he hopes it will ” lead to a meaningful reform and reorientation in the prosecution service and the judiciary” in order to minimize corruption.

He said lawyers are very much aware of the ongoing corruption in the prosecution service and the judiciary but have been silent or indifferent toward it.

Cañete cited an example wherein a lawyer loses a case because the opposing party had all the money to “buy” the prosecutor or the judge.

“Filing the petition was based on my disillusion, frustration, utter disappointment as well as humiliation and embarrassment inflicted by the highly unfair and brutally unjust actions of my brothers in the legal profession who are members of the prosecution and judiciary…” he said.

In his petition, Cañete said he could no longer tolerate “unspeakable injustices” that had been committed in courts and the prosecution service because of corruption.

No less than President Rodrigo Duterte, a prosecutor, before he was appointed Acting Vice Mayor of Davao City in 1987, in an earlier pronouncement revealed, drugs money flood in the judiciary resulting to corruption and acquittal of drugs cases, freeing the druglords.

Cañete passed the Bar Examinations in 1960 and was a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) the next year.

In 1981, he was elected vice president of the IBP Cebu Province Chapter. The following year, he assumed the presidency when the elected president resigned and ran for an elective post.

In 1983, Cañete ran and was elected IBP President Cebu Province Chapter—a position he held until 1985.

Cañete, 79, expressed elation upon receiving a copy of the high court notice on Wednesday.

He said he hoped his departure from the legal profession as a form of protest could lead to reforms that would reduce, if not remove, corruption in the judiciary and prosecution service.

After receiving the decision, Cebu Daily News  quoted Cañete saying “I have no regrets,” he said. He said he is, in fact, happy. “I will not be in the same association with corrupt prosecutors and judges.”.

He is currently the chair-emeritus of the World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation.

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