File photo shows lawyer Larry Gadon. / The STAR/Michael Varcas /Philstar.com) – June 26, 2021 – 10:36am
MANILA, Philippines — Radio station DWIZ on Friday night issued an apology to the family of the late President Benigno Aquino III for the “uncalled for comments” made by controversial lawyer Larry Gadon on one of its programs.
On Thursday, the same day Aquino died, Gadon went on DWIZ’s “Karambola” and falsely claimed that the former president had HIV, citing information from a “friend.”
Aquino’s sisters in an official statement said he died due to renal disease, secondary to diabetes. He was 61.
“The Management of DWIZ would like to apologize to everyone and in particular, to the Aquino Family about the inappropriate statements made by our guest host in the show Karambola about the sudden death of our former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III,” the station said in a Facebook post.
“The Management has taken action about this uncalled for comments and will not tolerate this kind of incident,” it added. “We sincerely would like to extend our condolences to the bereaved family and the whole nation.”
Other than the apology posted to social media, it is unclear what steps the station has taken to address the comments made by Gadon.
The Red Whistle, a support group for people living with HIV and AIDS, has said it is working to file criminal and disbarment raps against Gadon for “maliciously imputing that…Aquino III had HIV, in violation of Republic Act 11166 or the Philippine HIV Policy Act.”
Section 44 (a) of RA 11166 holds that “it shall be unlawful to disclose, without written consent, information that a person has AIDS, has undergone HIV-related test, has HIV infection or HIV-related illnesses, or has been exposed to HIV.”
The Red Whistle also pointed out that Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer “shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.”
“Statements laced with malice like the one made by Atty. Gadon fuel HIV-related stigma and discrimination and offer no help in addressing the HIV epidemic in the country, which has the fastest rising number of new infections in the world,” the group added.
The lawyer is facing at least four other disbarment complaints.