Supreme Court disbars ex-councilor

By Joseph B.A. Marzan


The Supreme Court (SC) ordered the disbarment of former Iloilo City Councilor Plaridel Nava II for violating the rules governing the legal profession.

In an eight-page decision promulgated on Jan 7, 2020 but published only on the SC’s website on Aug 17, the SC found Nava guilty of violating Rules 7.03 and 15.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

The SC also ordered to strike Nava’s name off from the Roll of Attorneys.

The Code of Professional Responsibility is the basis of ethical standards for lawyers.

Rule 7.03 of the Code states that “A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor shall he, whether in public or in private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.”

Rule 15.03 of the same Code states that “A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts.”

The case, docketed as A.C. No. 9549, was filed in 2012 by Rene Hierro, a former client of Nava in several criminal cases.

Rene alleged that the former councilor had an extramarital affair with his wife, Annalyn Hierro, and even fathered a child with her.

Annalyn admitted to her relations with Mr. Nava, and the latter’s ex-wife Cecilia Lim-Nava and late cousin Mercedes Nava also admitted their knowledge of the extramarital affair, according to the SC decision.

Rene also alleged that Mr. Nava acted as counsel for Annalyn in a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) case against him.

A TPO is filed by an offended party for alleged violation of Republic Act No. 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children).

In response to Hierro’s accusation, Nava said that he was “compelled” to sign the petition with prayer for the issuance of a TPO “out of exigency and humanitarian consideration for Annalyn and their three children.”

Nava added that he only acted as Annalyn’s counsel on a temporary basis, limited only to filing of the petition and securing a TPO from the court.

In a resolution dated Nov. 28, 2015, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) adopted the recommendation of its Investigating Commissioner, Rommel Cuison, to disbar Nava.

All but 3 SC justices adopted the IBP’s recommendations.

The three justices who were not able to sign the decision – Senior Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Associate Justices Andres Reyes Jr. and Mario Lopez – were all on official leave.



In a private message sent via Facebook on Monday morning, Mr. Nava shamed and threatened Daily Guardian editor-in-chief Francis Allan Angelo for publishing the SC decision on its social media accounts.

He called Angelo “gago” (stupid) and threatened to hit the latter, while alluding to the January 2011 attack on the newspaper’s publisher, Lemuel Fernandez.

On Jan. 26, 2011, an unidentified person pummelled Fernandez’s head outside DG’s old office in Molo district.

Nava also said that the publication of the case “might embarrass” the child in the case.

The child’s name was not published, neither in the SC’s decision nor on Daily Guardian’s social media posts.

Hoy Gago. Ka dugay na ina subong nyo lang gin publish tapos ang bata nga involved ma embarass sa school nila…tani gin consider nyo na gin publish nyo ang name…bakulon kita mag kitaay ta …wala kamo sa lugarkong kay Baronda hipos kamoWala pa Ma dudla si Lemuel sang lampos sa ulo nya,” Nava said.

(Hey stupid. The [case] was already [decided] a long time ago, and you just published it now. The child involved will be embarrassed in their school. You should’ve considered in publishing the name. I will hit you when we see each other. You’re not in the right place. When it comes to [Representative Julienne] Baronda, you’re silent. Lemuel hasn’t learned from the attack on his head.)

Palak palak kamo …ga pa tinlo tinlo kamo pero mga garuk…ok lang tani kong ako lang ang involved sa story….May bata nga 10 yrs old nga naga school na,” he added.

(You’re exaggerating. You pretend to be clean but [you’re also] dirty. It would’ve been okay if I was the only one involved in the story. There’s a 10-year-old child who already goes to school.)

Gusto nyo balita? Hatagan kita balita pag puli ko da,” he added.

(You want news? I’ll give you news when I get home.)

At around 1:27 pm Monday, Nava again sent another message saying: “Gin pahog ka ugok? Wala ko ya ga pamahog…it’s a statement, not a threat….”

It was not only Daily Guardian that carried the news on Nava’s disbarment as other major news organizations in Iloilo also reported the SC decision.

Sources in the legal community told Daily Guardian that they learned of the decision Sunday.

This paper only found the link to the decision while Angelo was searching for an SC decision on the ongoing dispute between MORE Power and Panay Electric Co.



Nava on Monday also posted a statement on his personal Facebook account, confirming that he was hired by the Hierros in 2008 for multiple criminal cases.

He added that they were introduced to each other by his late cousin Mercedes.

Nava also clarified that while he did have an intimate encounter with Annalyn, he did not have an extramarital affair with her.

Nava explained that the “intimate encounter” happened in 2009 after Rene asked him to accompany Annalyn to the airport in Manila after expressing her intention to live with her mother in Greece.

“Did we have an affair? I tell you with all honesty, we didn’t have one. We have never lived together under one roof as live-in partners contrary to her allegations. I didn’t love her, and she was not my type. I only cared for her as a valuable client. Did we have sex? That’s the bigger question. YES, I think once. And perhaps it was a regrettable one night of my life. I am sure we only had a one-night stand. Nothing more, nothing less,” Nava said in his statement.

He added that the alleged affair surfaced as his late cousin Mercedes was angry at him for his refusal to help her son, who was then facing drug charges filed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

“Sometime in 2012, Mercedes Nava got mad at me after I refused to help her son who was charged for illegal drugs. It was PDEA that implemented the search warrant in her house. Out of her anger, she told Rene Hierro that Annalyn and I were having an affair and that I am the real father of their third child. Rene believed her story hook, line, and sinker. So, Mercedes Nava executed an affidavit and distributed it in all radio stations for obvious reason – it was an election period at that time and I was running for a second term as councilor. Ultimately Rene Hierro used the affidavit of Mercedes Nava and the affidavit of my ex-wife in filing the criminal case for ‘adultery’ against me and Annalyn Hierro,” he added.

He also confirmed that he had fathered a child with Annalyn who was born in September 2010.

He said that he had refused to acknowledge the existence of the child in public out of regard for her feelings.

“There is a common concern that she might be bullied or ridiculed in school for this – a stigma that she will carry in her lifetime. Among my children from other women, she is the only one that I did not acknowledge or introduce in public as mine for reason that I have reasonable doubts. All this time, she is clueless that she is being disowned by the one she thought her own father. With this coming out in public, I just can’t imagine her feelings,” he said.

He said he had refrained from issuing public statements despite the publication of the case because they had not yet received a copy of the decision, as well as to protect the interest of the child.

“After consulting my lawyers who are helping me in my case with the Supreme Court, they are unanimous in saying that: 1) I should refrain from issuing statements in public in relation to the said case because we have yet to receive the official decision and thus it has not become final and executory, [and] 2) I should protect the interest of the child involved, now 10 years of age, who is innocent about her paternal origin,” he said.

Nava said that he will ask the court to acknowledge his right as the child’s father, and added that he will decide on a motion for reconsideration on the SC case once he and his lawyers receive an official copy of the decision.