#EndHIVStigma COALITION TO DISBAR GADON

Updated: Aug 1

STATEMENT OF #EndHIVStigma COALITION TO DISBAR GADON




We are the #EndHIVStigma Coalition composed of numerous organizations, associations, NGOs, families, and individuals aiming to end stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV (PLHIVs). Evidence dictates that the continuing rise of HIV infection in the Philippines – one of the fastest in the world - is driven by the lack of awareness and appreciation of the risks of infection due to unprotected sex, which in turn, is aggravated by the fear and stigma surrounding the virus. In our effort to erase this stigma, we have worked with PLHIVs and their families to provide them services and to raise public awareness. We witnessed first hand, how stigma and discrimination has taken a toll on the PLHIVs and has led to the sustained, alarming emergence of HIV infections. There are instances when the stigma and hate has led to greater mental and emotional pain for the community more than the physical toll that the virus inflicts. For this reason, we are collectively filing a disbarment case against lawyer Larry Gadon for his irresponsible, dishonest, and unlawful statement imputing that former President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III had HIV. This is a clear violation of Republic Act No. 11166 or the Philippine HIV Policy Act which recognizes that respect for as well as protection and promotion of human rights as the cornerstones of an effective response to the country's HIV and AIDS situation. Breach in confidentiality, undermining the faith in medical institutions and science, bullying, and acts of discrimination cannot and should never be tolerated. As a lawyer, Atty. Gadon is reminded that under Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility - A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW OF AND LEGAL PROCESSES. Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. Rule 1.02 - A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system. His statements are also blatant disregard for Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act. He regularly engages in cyberbullying and the irresponsible use of information and media platform. Further, clear as day that Atty. Gadon has not only shown his disrespect for others and little regard he has for life, health, privacy, and dignity but he has also clearly betrayed his unfitness to continue to be a member of the Bar. Rule 7.03 - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor shall he whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession. Rule 8.01 - A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or otherwise improper. Atty. Larry Gadon is no stranger to irresponsible displays of barbarism and bigotry. He has in the past publicly threatened to kill residents of Mindanao, including women and children, to which an earlier case of disbarment has been lodged against him. Statements like the ones uttered by Gadon and his ilk has no place in a civilized society. His stunts are an affront to the legal profession and a mockery of the legal principles and ideals he solemnly swore to uphold. He no longer holds the right to call himself a lawyer. And for this, we fight back. We fight for our community and on behalf of PLHIVs and their families. A community which continues to be harassed and beleaguered by discrimination, stigma, and hate. It is high time to end the hate. It is high time to end the stigma. #EndHIVStigma is composed of different groups like The Red Whistle, Association of Positive Women Advocates Inc, UP OUTLaws, Pinoy Plus Advocacy Pilipinas Inc., Project Red Ribbon Care Management Foundation, Roots of Health, Youth for Reform Movement, Aksyong Kabayanihan para sa Organisadong Pagbabago (ANGKOP), and many other groups and individuals. ###

For more information: Benedict Bernabe Executive Director, The Red Whistle 09178266169 ben@theredwhistle.com

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