SC suspends lawyer for 2 years for scamming client

MANILA–The Supreme Court has ordered the suspension of a lawyer for two years for swindling a client of PHP50,000 in legal fees for a case he did not actually file with the courts.

In an eight-page resolution by Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, the Court en banc also ordered lawyer Wilfredo B. Lina-ac, 78, to return to complainant Everdina C. Angeles the amount with interest.

Angeles engaged the services of Lina-ac in February 2010 to have her marriage annulled.

Despite numerous follow ups, Lina-ac, instead of filing an actual petition for the nullity of marriage, tried to dupe Angeles by furnishing her a copy of a complaint with a fraudulent received stamp purportedly from the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 11, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.

The Court ruled that Lina-ac’s action violates Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR), which provides, “A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral, or deceitful conduct.”

It further held that Lina-ac fell short of the standard required of him as Angeles’ legal counsel when he had failed to serve her with competence and diligence in violation of Canons 17 and 18, and Rules 1.01, 18.03, and 18.04 of the CPR.

The Court said the lawyer’s late filing of a petition even after the attorney-client relationship was severed to cover up his earlier negligence, “reflects his lack of integrity, and is a clear violation of the oath he took before becoming a lawyer.”  Benjamin Pulta / PNA –