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SC disbars lawyer for practicing law while under suspension

The Supreme Court (SC) has disbarred a lawyer for practicing law while still under suspension.

In A.C. No. 12457, the SC disbarred Atty. Renato B. Pagatpatan and fined him P5,000 for simple misconduct for his unethical behavior in sending a letter to the Bishop of the Diocese of Tandag, Surigao Del Sur against complainant Rev. Fr. Jose P. Zafra III.

Records showed that Pagatpatan was the counsel of respondents in the estafa case filed by Fr. Zafra with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Tandag City, Surigao Del Sur

While the case was pending, Pagatpatan wrote the Bishop of Tandag requesting an investigation of Fr. Zafra, alleging the latter to have concocted stories against his clients.

Fr. Zafra was eventually investigated by the Board of Consultors with the Bishop, where he was able to clear his name.

Aftewards, he filed a complaint against Pagatpatan with the IBP for stirring controversies by making the said letter, adding that the counsel engaged in the unauthorized practice of law despite a 2005 suspension order by the SC.

“Atty. Pagatpatan has made a mockery of this Court’s authority by defying this Court’s suspension order for over eleven (11) years. If Fr. Zafra had not filed the instant case, Atty. Pagatpatan would have continued disregarding the suspension order of this Court. His actions clearly constitute gross misconduct as defined under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, which is a sufficient cause for suspension or disbarment,” the SC ruled.

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