SC suspends abogado for failing to pay friend for condo—and then suing her for estafa
The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the 1-year suspension of abogado Grace Buri for failing to pay her friend the P200,000 balance for the purchase of a condominium unit—and then having the nerve to file an estafa complaint against the said friend.
In a recent 7-page decision, the SC 2nd Division said Buri engaged in deceitful conduct and behaved in a scandalous manner in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR).
Complainant Michelle Yap said she sold Buri, her close firned, a condominium unit for P1.2 million and turned over the unit without a deed of absolute sale.
In January 2011, Yap asked for the P200,000 unpaid balance. Buri said she would pay on a monthly installment of P5,000. When Yap disagreed, Buri said she would cancel the sale.
The abogado also threatened Yap through text messages and later filed the estafa complaint. Buri claimed Yap sold the condominium unit without her husband’s consent and promised to return the P1 million but never did. The estafa case was later dismissed.
Yap then filed an administrative complaint against Buri. But the abogado never attended the proceedings and submit any reply.
The SC said Buri “obviously” wanted to “intimidate Yap and prevent her from collecting the remaining P200,000.” Her failure to respond to Yap’s complaint meant it remained unrebutted.
The decision, penned by Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, stated that Buri “forgot that she must not wittingly or willingly promote or sue any groundless, false or unlawful suit.”
“Buri has fallen short of the high standard of morality, honesty, integrity, and fair dealing expected of her. On the contrary, she employed her knowledge and skill of the law in order to avoid fulfillment of her obligation, thereby unjustly enriching herself and inflicting· serious damage on Yap,” read the decision.