SC suspends abogado for refusing to refund business partner’s investment
The Supreme Court (SC) has suspended Cebuano abogado Audie Arnado for 1 year for deceitful conduct in easing a business partner out of their restaurant venture.
In a recent 5-page decision, the SC 2nd Division said Arnado was guilty of violating Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which prohibits lawyers from engaging in “unlawful, dishonest, immoral and deceitful conduct.”
The case arose from Arnado’s registration of City Grill-Sutukil Food Corporation with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in February 2004, even after complainant Freddie Guillen pulled out of the venture.
The SC said Arnado was fully aware that the original City Grill Restaurant was still registered in Guillen’s name at the time.
For the SC, Arnado’s registration of City Grill-Sutukil Food Corporation was meant “obviously… to take advantage of the goodwill earned by the name of City Grill Restaurant.”
“Arnado is guilty of taking advantage of his knowledge of the law and of surreptitiously easing out Guillen from their restaurant business partnership by registering a corporation under a different but similar name and style, in the same line of business, and using the same trade secrets,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta.