Lawyer gets 5-year suspension for undervaluing land in bogus deeds

Lawyer gets 5-year suspension for undervaluing land in bogus deeds

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The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the suspension of lawyer Domingo Laeno for 5 years for executing two spurious deeds of sale to undervalue his property and avoid paying the proper taxes.

In a recent 5-page en banc resolution, the SC found Laeno guilty of violating Canons 1, 7, 10 and 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

But, the SC modified the penalty sought by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Board of Governors (IBP-BOG), which recommended only a 2-year suspension.

The case arose from Laeno’s sale of a house and lot to Marcelina Agustin for P6.5 million. In turn, Laeno would rent the property from Marcelina’s daughter Perpetua.

When Laeno started to miss rental payments and refused to vacate the premises, Marcelina’s son Ferdinand instituted an ejectment case against him.

Only then was it discovered that Laeno executed two deeds of sale covering the same property. The deeds reflected the amounts of P2 million and P2.5 million, less than half the actual value of the transaction.

Aside from executing two spurious deeds and undervaluing the agreed amount, the SC faulted Laeno for offering one of the bogus documents as evidence.

Laeno was also held liable for filing multiple lawsuits as a ploy to avoid the enforcement of a court order for his eviction.

Meanwhile, the SC dismissed the case against lawyer Romeo Robiso, who notarized Laeno’s deeds, because of his death.

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