Mar 17, 2021 @ 13:29

SC suspends lawyer for 3 years for abandoning client’s case

The Supreme Court (SC) has suspended abogado Jerry Centro from the practice of law for three years for abandoning his client who faced a complaint for injunction and damages, going so far as to pretend that he filed a memorandum in court.

In a 7-page decision on A.C. No. 12875 dated January 26, the SC en banc found Centro guilty of violating the Lawyer’s Oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR) and warned that a repetition of the similar act would be dealt with more severely.

In his complaint, Prudencio Portuguese, Jr. alleged that after several follow-ups, Centro told him that he filed a memorandum in response to the injunction case before the Surigao City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 32.

On January 25, 2018, Portuguese and his family were shocked when he was served a copy of a notice by a sheriff giving him three days to comply with the writ of execution—the first time he learned that a judgment had been rendered in his case.

Portuguese claimed that Centro actually received a copy of the RTC’s July 10, 2017 decision on August 10, 2017, but the lawyer never told him about it and did not file an appeal. He also discovered that even the memorandum was never filed.

The SC said that he was “grossly negligent of his duty as counsel and was manifestly disinterested in his client’s cause” and reminded him that he was “duty-bound to serve his client with competence, and to attend to his client’s cause with diligence, care and devotion.”

It also faulted Centro for not answering Portuguese’s complaint, showing his “indifference to lawful orders and established processes.”

“He should have informed Portuguese at the earliest opportunity that he could no longer properly represent him and perform his functions as counsel. This way, Portuguese would have the option to secure the services of another lawyer so that his interests would be protected,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando.

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