SC disbars lawyer over claims of bribing justices
The Supreme Court En Banc has disbarred a lawyer for telling his client that he can bribe justices of the Fifteenth Division of the Court of Appeals.
In a decision penned by Associate Justice Japar Dimaampao, the SC said Atty. William delos Santos coaxed his client, Norma Flores, to pay P160,000 for a “bribe” to the justices. The lawyer said this was the only option Flores had to obtain a favorable judgment for her son.
“Hence, on account of his previous suspension and his evident violations of the Lawyer’s Oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility in the present case, the Court stressed that he deserved no less than the ultimate penalty of disbarment,” the SC said.
The Court also ordered Delos Santos to return the P160,000 to Flores with interest at the rate of 6% per annum.
Flores and her son sought the services of Delos Santos to file an appeal before the CA. The lawyer asked for P20,000 as initial acceptance fee and P5,000 as payment for the request of documents.
The Court said Flores immediately paid Delos Santos and also made additional payments as Delos Santos required.
In 2015, the Court said Delos Santos also told Flores to pay P160,000 and assured the latter that the money would be delivered to his “facilitator” within the CA.
After Flores' son was convicted, Delos Santos said “he did not know what happened,” claiming he already made the necessary arrangements.
This led Flores to file a complaint for Delos Santos' disbarment.
The Court said Delos Santos failed to comment and attend the scheduled mandatory conference and submit the required pleadings.
Meanwhile, the Court also disbarred a lawyer after he acted as a fixer to gain a favorable resolution of a criminal case pending before the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office.
According to a separate statement, the Supreme Court En Banc disbarred Atty. Marco Bautista and ordered him stricken off the Roll of Attorney for gross violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
“The latest action of the Court is a clear indication that the Judiciary is committed to purging the legal profession of erring members,” the Court said in a statement.
It said the dismissal stemmed from the complaint filed by Anthony Lim, who sought the services of Bautista to handle the case filed by Lim’s father.
Lim said Bautista acted as a fixer, solicited money from him to influence the decision of the prosecutors, and failed to provide an accounting.
The Court said that there was substantial evidence presented to convince that the money was exchanged in consideration of the legal services of Bautista and for the mobilization of the latter’s alleged contacts at the National Prosecution Service.
It reiterated that the lawyer's act of influence-peddling for implying that he is able to influence any public official, tribunal, or legislative body erodes the public's trust and confidence in the legal system and puts the administration of the justice in a bad light.—AOL, GMA Integrated News