Ex-partner of Plinky Recto disbarred by SC

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 04 2012 04:11 PM | Updated as of May 06 2012 08:08 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the disbarment of Pulupandan, Negros Occidental Magdaleno Peña 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.”

Canon 8 states, "A lawyer shall conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and candor towards his professional colleagues, and shall avoid harassing tactics against opposing counsel."

Canon 9 states, "A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist in the unauthorized practice of law.

While Canon 10 states, "A lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court."

The high court also directed the En Banc Clerk of Court to investigate, and submit a report within 90 days, how Peña obtained several confidential and internal court records which he used against the justices.

Peña’s name was ordered stricken off the Roll of Attorneys.