Disbarred lawyer begs Supreme Court for another chanceBy Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A lawyer has appealed a Supreme Court ruling disbarring him for maligning Justices Antonio Carpio and Lourdes Sereno after he lost a claim against the shuttered Urban Bank.
Magdaleno Peña, the incumbent mayor of Pulupandan, Negros Occidental, was taken off the roll of attorneys after he accused Carpio, now the acting Chief Justice, of depriving him of his right to due process when the high court ruled against him in his claim for P28.5 million in compensation for legal services he said he rendered to the bank.
Peña said Carpio, who penned the ruling favorable to the bank, did not allow him to file a comment before the decision became final. He said this constituted a “culpable violation” of the Constitution.
He also blasted Carpio for supposedly providing an advance copy of the Nov. 13, 2002, ruling to the lawyer of the bankrupt Urban Bank.
Peña denounced Sereno for refusing to inhibit herself from the disbarment case. He said Sereno owed her appointment to the high court to Carpio’s influential law office, touted as “The Firm.”
On June 13, the court threw out Peña’s complaint against Carpio and Sereno for lack of merit. It said the disbarred lawyer failed to present “extrinsic factual evidence to support” his accusations.
In ordering Peña’s disbarment on April 17, the court said the mayor had failed “to give due respect to the courts and his fellow lawyers.”
The court added that Peña’s “conduct, demeanor and language with respect to his cause of action—in this court, no less— tend to undermine the integrity and reputation of the judiciary, as well as inflict unfounded accusations against fellow lawyers.”
In his motion for reconsideration, Peña said that if the court continued to “turn a blind eye” to this anomaly, “then its members shall themselves be guilty of violating the same oath as lawyers by consenting to falsehood.”
“(I) cannot seriously hope to be reinstated as a member of the Philippine bar as long as the members of this (court), as an ‘old boys club,’ continue to adhere to misplaced professional courtesy by protecting one of their own, rather than the truth,” he said.
In seeking to overturn his disbarment, Peña attached an affidavit of “expert witness” Fe Malou Castelo who worked as a stenographer of the high court from 1997 to 2006.
Castelo said she scrutinized the documents pertaining to the court’s Nov. 13, 2002, resolution which granted Urban Bank’s motion for clarification.
The order, penned by Carpio, stopped the sale of Urban Bank’s 85 condominium units and its shares in Makati Sports Club Inc., the proceeds of which were supposed to go to Peña as payment for legal services he purportedly rendered to the bank in 1994.