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SC disbars ‘marrying’ judge, lawyer

/ 12:32 AM September 05, 2016

THE SUPREME Court has disbarred a former judge and a lawyer in a land case for separate cases of gross misconduct and dishonesty.

The high court on Aug. 30 disbarred Cebu City Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) Judge Rosabella M. Tormis for “repetitive” acts of solemnizing marriages without a license.

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The high tribunal said the misconduct, even if it was committed during her stint as a judge, tainted her qualifications to remain a lawyer.

“It is clear that [the] respondent’s repetitive acts of solemnizing marriages without a license showed her proclivity to disrespect the law and showed her lack of good character, and renders her unfit to continue to practice law,” the Supreme Court said.

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Earlier, the court dismissed Tormis for her failure to act on cases within the mandatory period.

 

Taken for P230,000

In a separate decision dated July 19, the high tribunal held lawyer Ferdinand L. Ancheta liable for duping a couple into giving him P230,000 to make arrangements with Court of Appeals justices to reopen a land recovery case after the ruling against them had become final and executory.

The high court ordered Ancheta to return the P230,000 to spouses Gabino and Flordeliza Tolentino, along with interest.

The Tolentinos secured Ancheta’s services after learning too late that the Court of Appeals (CA) in 2001 had affirmed with finality a trial court ruling ordering them to vacate the land.

Their previous counsel, Henry B. So of the Department of Agrarian Reform’s Bureau of Agrarian Legal Assistance, did not inform them of the CA decision before he left.

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 ‘Deceit and evasion’

Ancheta allegedly told the couple he could still file a “motion to reopen appeal case” and asked for P200,000 to make arrangements with the CA justices, in addition to the P30,000 he had gotten for accepting the case.  The Tolentinos later learned that no such motion was filed, and lodged a complaint against the lawyer.

The Supreme Court said Ancheta should have known the futility of an appeal. Because of this, it said his “deceit and evasion of duty was manifest.”

His repeated failure to comply with the SC’s orders to respond to the couple’s complaint also “shows a high degree of irresponsibility and betrays a recalcitrant flaw in his character.”

The high court dismissed the disbarment complaint against So because he had already resigned from DAR in 1997, four years before the CA decision was promulgated. Vince F. Nonato

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TAGS: Judge Rosabella M. Tormis, marriage, Nation, news, Supreme Court
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