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Toledo vs. Abalos [A.C. No. 5141. September 29, 1999]

16 Aug

Ponente: MELO, J.

FACTS:

Atty. Erlinda Abalos obtained a loan of P20,000.00 from Priscila Toledo, payable within six months from date, plus interest of 5% per month.  To guarantee the payment of said obligation, respondent executed a Promissory Note.  After the lapse of six months, and despite repeated demands, respondent failed to pay her obligation.  Afraid that she will not recover her money, Ms. Toledo sought the help of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), which referred the matter to the Commission on Bar Discipline.

[T]he Commission issued an order directing Atty. Abalos to file her Answer to the letter-complaint of Ms. Toledo.  Despite receipt of said order, respondent did not answer the complaint. Investigating Commissioner issued an order setting the case for hearing Despite due notices, respondent failed to appear.  Accordingly, complainant was allowed to present her evidence ex-parte after which, the case was considered submitted for resolution.  Respondent received this order as shown by the registry return.  However, she again did not do anything about it.

ISSUE:

Whether or not Atty. Abalos may be disciplined by the IB

HELD:

YES. Respondent suspended for one (1) month.

RATIO:

According to the Supreme Court, the general rule is that a lawyer may not be suspended or disbarred, and the court may not ordinarily assume jurisdiction to discipline him, for misconduct in his non-professional or private capacity. It was, however, still necessary for respondent to acknowledge the orders of the Commission in deference to its authority over her as a member of the IBP. Her wanton disregard of its lawful orders subjects her to disciplinary sanction. Thus, her suspension from the practice of law is warranted.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Case Digests, Legal Ethics

 

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