Legal wife serves as husband’s ‘illegal’ lawyer, is suspended anew
The Supreme Court has suspended anew a lawyer who represented her husband while she was temporarily barred from practicing her profession.
The high court, in a decision made public Thursday, said that while Atty. Carmelita Bautista-Lozada deserves a harsher penalty, it only imposed a six-month suspension, noting that her actions was prompted by her affection for her husband.
“Atty. Lozada would have deserved a harsher penalty, but this Court recognizes the fact that it is part of the Filipino culture that amid an adversity, families will always look out and extend a helping hand to a family member, more so, in this case, to a spouse. Thus, considering that Atty. Lozada’s actuation was prompted by her affection to her husband and that in essence, she was not representing a client but rather a spouse, we deem it proper to mitigate the severeness of her penalty,” the high court, in a decision penned by Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta, said.
In 2005, Atty. Bautista-Lozada was suspended for two years. The high court said she could not practice from 2006 to 2008. But while serving her suspension, she appeared as counsel for her husband on June 5, 2007, in a case titled Edilberto Lozada, et al. v. Alvin S. Feliciano. She actively participated in the proceedings by signing her name as one of the counsels and the transcript of stenographic notes showed that she conducted direct and cross-examinations of the witnesses during the trial.
But the high court warned her that a repetition of the same or similar offense will warrant a more severe penalty.
The high court reminded that when it orders a member of the bar suspended from the practice of law, “the lawyer must desist from performing all functions requiring the application of legal knowledge within the period of suspension,” even if that legal helping hand is for a family member. IDL
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