MANILA, Philippines - There will be no stopping a lawsuit against Pulupandan, Negros Occidental Mayor Magdaleno Peña after the Court of Appeals backed a state prosecutor's findings that he committed violence against his ex-girlfriend, actress and television host Maria Roxanne "Plinky" Recto.
A radio DZMM report said the CA Fourth Division backed a Department of Justice resolution in 2006 that found probable cause that Peña violated Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence against Women and their Children Act.
In a 19-page decision penned by Associate Justice Eduardo Peralta, the CA said there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of Prosecutor Hazel Valdez when she conducted a preliminary investigation on the case.
Then Justice Secretary Alberto Agra had earlier backed Valdez's recommendation on June 29, 2010, prompting Peña to file an appeal.
The court noted Peña had admitted pushing Recto thrice and trapping her with a rattan chair during a fight in their condo unit in Mandaluyong last June 29, 2005.
The CA, meanwhile, backed the decision of the Mandaluyong regional trial court denying Recto's petition for a Permanent Protection Order.
It said the RTC decision merely showed that there is no threat that the abuse against Recto will continue.
The CA decision was issued December 17, 2012.
Last year, the Supreme Court ordered Pena's disbarment for violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
The disbarment case against Peña, who is a former partner of actress Plinky Recto, arose from his allegations that Supreme Court Associate Justices Antonio Carpio and Maria Lourdes Sereno are guilty of falsification and cover-up in a case involving collection of services he rendered and for reimbursement of costs in connection with an ejectment case of sub-tenants in several commercial establishments along Roxas Blvd., Manila.
Peña claimed he should be paid a hefty P28.5 million, but the high court only granted a P3-million payment.
Peña lodged complaint letters in September 2011 against the two magistrates before the high court's Committee on Ethics and Ethical Standards and the Office of the Chief Justice, accusing them of giving undue favors to Urban Bank which petitioned against the completion of the sale of the condominium units.
He claimed Carpio falsified a ruling dated Nov. 13, 2002 of the First Division favoring the bank. Sereno, meantime, "protected" Carpio by refusing to inhibit from the case despite her "closeness" to the senior justice, Peña alleged.
In a per curiam (unanimous ruling where author is not indicated) decision dated April 17, the high court held that Peña violated 3 canons of the Code of Professional Responsibility and “has fallen short of the ethical standards of the noble profession and must be sanctioned accordingly.”
“For violating Canons, 8, 10 and 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and for failing to give due respect to the courts and his fellow lawyers… Peña is hereby disbarred from the practice of law, effective upon receipt of this decision…” the decision read.
The high court held that “conduct, demeanor and language with respect to his cause of action—in this court, no less—tend to undermine the integrity and reputation of the judiciary, as well as inflict unfounded accusations against fellow lawyers.” With a report by Alex Calda, radio dzMM