Oct 29, 2020 @ 8:26

SC disbars one, suspends five over delaying tactics that stalled demolition since 2005

The Supreme Court (SC) has disbarred abogado Diosdado Rongcal and suspended five other lawyers for one year for filing so many pleadings and delaying the execution of a writ of demolition even though the forcible entry case was terminated already in 2005.

In a recent 10-page decision, the SC found Rongcal, as well as Ildefonso Tario, Mark John Soriquez, Emiliano Pomer, Marilet Santos-Layug and Danny Villanueva guilty of violating the Lawyer’s Oath, Canons 1, 10 and 12, and Rules 10.03 and 12.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR).

The SC imposed a more severe penalty on Rongcal this time, because he was already found guilty of immorality and ordered to pay a P15,000 fine in 2006 for having an extramarital affair with his client.

The other lawyers were sternly warned that a repetition of a similar offense would be dealt with more severely.

The sanctions arose from the complaint of Jess David, heir of the plaintiff who filed the forcible entry case against Rongcal’s client Danny Cordova.

The Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) on January 20, 1998 ruled in favor of the plaintiff Leonardo David and ordered the defendants to vacate the lot. The Supreme Court upheld the MCTC decision on July 28, 2005, and an entry of judgment was issued on December 16, 2005.

David moved for the issuance of a writ of execution before the MCTC. But, Rongcal filed a motion to suspend proceedings, saying that the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) issued a December 5, 2006 order declaring Cordova as the owner of the land.

Rongcal also filed a motion for reconsideration on July 4, 2006, a motion for inhibition on December 4, 2006, and a motion to quash writ of execution on December 17, 2007. Tario also filed a motion to clarify order and writ on July 9, 2008.

Due to these incidents, the MCTC was only able to issue a writ of demolition on December 4, 2012.

Yet, the writ was “not immediately executed” as the lawyers continued to flood the court with more pleadings.

Soriquez filed an amended complaint for injunction on February 27, 2013; Pomer filed an urgent counter-manifestration with motion for issuance of subpoena on March 8, 2013. Santos-Layug filed an urgent motion to quash and/or recall writ of demolition on July 11, 2013.

Villanueva filed a comment/opposition on August 2, 2013 and a recusation on August 6, 2013. A motion for voluntary inhibition was also filed on March 10, 2014.

These “dilatory tactics” ultimately encroached upon the rights of David as the heir of the winning party of a forcible entry case that was already decided with finality in 2005.

“There is no doubt that the judgment on the forcible entry case remains unexecuted due to the filing of the frivolous motions orchestrated by the respondent lawyers with the sole intention to stall or to delay the enforcement of a final judgment,” read the per curiam decision.

The lawyers argued that they were merely advocating their clients’ cause and that the DAR order in favor of Cordova was a sufficient supervening event that can stay the execution of the judgment.

The SC disagreed, noting that the sole issue in an ejectment case is the physical or material possession of the property, independent of any claim of ownership by the parties.

“It is therefore apparent that respondent lawyers abused the legal process when they filed frivolous motions with the intent of delaying the execution of the MCTC Decision that had long been final and executory. It is a blatant disregard of the precepts of judicial process which ultimately resulted in the failure to administer justice,” it added.

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