SC disbars lawyer for ‘dishonesty,’ orders him to return P1.3M in docket fees to client
MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has ordered the disbarment of a lawyer for failing to account for the P1.3 million in docket fees that he collected from his client and entering into a compromise agreement without the client’s knowledge.
Manuel Camacho was ordered to return within 90 days to Marsman-Drysdale Agribusiness Holdings Inc. (MDAHI) the “additional docket fees” worth P1,288,260 that he collected or suffer a more severe penalty, according to Theodore Te, the high tribunal spokesperson.
The case for disbarment was filed against Camacho by Antero Sison, president of the Davao City-based holding firm and himself a lawyer, for violations of the “Code of Professional Responsibility” for law practitioners, specifically dishonesty.
Te did not provide further details of the lawsuit handled by Camacho for MDAHI and the initial investigation conducted by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
MDAHI is the holding firm of all the agribusiness ventures of the Marsman-Drysdale Group, which is internationally known for exporting bananas.
Camacho, according to Te, denied any wrongdoing and even claimed the money he received from his clients were “illicitly given to an officer of the court.”
In upholding the IBP’s earlier ruling, the Supreme Court, in its per curiam decision, ruled that Camacho’s acts were “so reprehensible, and his violations of the [Code] are so flagrant, exhibiting his moral unfitness and inability to discharge his duties as a member of the bar.”
“His actions erode rather than enhance the public perception of the legal profession. Therefore, in view of the totality of his violations, as well as the damage and prejudice caused to his client, Attorney Camacho deserves the ultimate penalty of disbarment,” the justices ruled. SFM
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