Nov 16, 2020 @ 9:49

Colonel pulls rank at traffic adjudication hearing, loses disbarment case versus officers

The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed the disbarment complaint filed against former San Juan City administrator Ranulfo Dacalos and lawyer Romualdo de los Santos by a colonel who kept pulling rank and caused a ruckus during a hearing on the confiscation of his brother’s license.

In a recent 7-page minute resolution, the SC 2nd Division said complainant Eduardo Ramos “failed to prove by substantial evidence” that Dacalos and De Los Santos committed gross misconduct and violated the Lawyer’s Oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR).

Eduardo claimed that during the February 2, 2010 hearing by the Adjudication Board of the Traffic and Parking Management Office on his brother Felino’s complaint for unlawful confiscation and extortion, chairman Dacalos loudly interrogated the complainant.

He claimed that Dacalos and board member De Los Santos arrogantly denied his request to speak on Felino’s behalf and forced both of them out of the office. He complained that the hearing was conducted in an oppressive manner and “without due regard to his being a Colonel… and a senior citizen.”

But, the SC said that on the contrary, the records showed that “it was Eduardo who caused the disturbance after it appeared to him that his brother was being interrogated by the respondents and after they refused him to answer on his brother’s behalf.”

The SC said it was “understandable” for Dacalos and De Los Santos to ask Felino “ordinary questions” about his experience as a driver, his understanding of a counterflow violation, and his exact location when he was apprehended by Police Officer 1 (PO1) Pepito Lopiga.

It found “nothing wrong” with the refusal to hear Eduardo since Felino was the complainant and the former was not even in the vehicle when the latter was apprehended.

The SC deemed “more credible” the testimonies of the lawyers, Lopiga and the board’s assistant Sandra Bantiling that it was Eduardo who instructed his brother to walk out.

“More likely, when Eduardo was refused to be heard by respondents despite his repeated invocation of his Colonel rank, he was heavily disappointed and walked out. We find this to be more probable under the circumstances,” read the minute resolution signed by Deputy Division Clerk of Court Teresita Aquino Tuazon.

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