SC suspends pro-Duterte lawyer who sued Ombudsman exec

Supreme Court. Philippine Daily Inquirer/FILE PHOTO

The Supreme Court (SC) has suspended pro-Duterte lawyer Eligio Mallari for resorting to “dilatory tactics” to stall the Government Service and Insurance System (GSIS) from for forfeiting his two parcels of land in Pampanga.

Mallari, a member of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), was the same lawyer who filed a graft and corruption case against Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang, who was then suspended by Malacañang for 90 days.

In a statement on Friday, the High Court said it issued a two-year suspension order against Mallari.

The order stemmed from a case in connection with his failure to meet his obligations in 1968 after he obtained two loans from the GSIS worth P34,000 using mortgage over two parcels of land he owned in Pampanga as collateral.

While the GSIS sent Mallari a final computation of his balance and temporarily held the foreclosure notice of his land, the SC said that the lawyer still failed to settle his account.

Mallari filed a case with the San Fernando Regional Trial Court (RTC) to stop the foreclosure, which was granted by RTC judge in 1986. However, the Court of Appeals (CA) reversed the RTC ruling upon appeal by the GSIS in 1996.

The lawyer then elevated the case to the SC, but it denied both his petition for review on certiorari and his subsequent appeal, making the extrajudicial foreclosure and auction of his two parcels of land “final and executory.”

The San Fernando RTC in 1999 issued a writ of execution and writ of possession and ordered the Sheriff to place the GSIS in possession of the land, but the Sheriff failed to serve the writ because of Mallari’s request for an extension of time to vacate the property.

In another move, Mallari filed a motion for reconsideration and or to quash the writ of execution issued by the court.

“He also filed a civil case that, among others, asked the RTC to hold the GSIS in contempt of court for painting the fence of the subject properties during the pendency of his MR,” the SC said.

“When the RTC denied his motions for contempt, Mallari raised the matter to the CA, which also denied his petition, prompting him to bring the matter to the High Court in GR No. 157659. The High Court affirmed the CA’s decision,” it added.

The IBP Board of Governors then initiated a probe, which found that Mallari was employing “dilatory tactics” to delay the ruling in favor of GSIS in violation of the Lawyer’s Oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility.

The SC said it adopted the findings of the IBP’s probe on Mallari’s unethical conduct, but modified the penalty in accordance with recent jurisprudence.

Mallari, when asked to answer the administrative charges against him, did not lament his actions but even justified them despite rulings issued by courts against him, the SC said.

“By arguing a case that has already been rejected repeatedly, he abused his right of recourse to the courts. His acts of not conducting himself ‘to the best of his knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity to the courts’ constitute serious transgression of his professional oath,” the High Court stressed.

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