SC suspends lawyer for delaying execution of judgment
The Supreme Court has suspended for two years for employing dilatory tactics to delay the execution of judgment in favor of the Government Service and Insurance System (GSIS).
Voting 8-0, the SC penalized Atty. Eligio P. Mallari for violating the Lawyer’s Oath Canons 10 and 12; and Rules 10.03, 12.02, and 12.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR).
Canon 10 stated that “a lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court, while Canon 12 requires a lawyer to exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice.
On the other, Rule 10.03 stated that “a lawyer shall observe the rules of procedure and shall not misuse them to defeat the ends of justice; Rule 12.02 stated that a “lawyer shall not file multiple actions arising from the same cause; while Rule 12.04 states that “a lawyer shall not unduly delay a case, impede the execution of a judgment or misuse Court processes.
The High Court adopted the findings of the IBP Board of Governor’s on Mallari’s unethical conduct but modified the penalty in accordance with recent jurisprudence. The IBP, which initially recommended a one-year suspension, found that the means employed by Mallari were dilatory moves to delay the execution of the judgment in GSIS’ favor in violation of his Lawyer’s Oath and the CPR.
The Court stressed that Mallari “must be reminded that he is not merely the litigant in his case. He is also his own counsel and an officer of the court with a duty to the truth and the administration of justice.”
It added that the respondent cannot escape liability by claiming that it was his counsel who signed most of his pleadings.
Concurring with Justice Francis
Jardeleza’s ponencia were Senior Justice Antonio T. Carpio and Justices Mariano C. del Castillo, Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa, Samuel R. Martires, and Alexander G. Gesmundo.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno and Justices Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr., Teresita J. Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado M. Peralta, Lucas P. Bersamin, Noel G. Tijam, and Andres B. Reyes, Jr. did not take part.
Court records showed that in 1968, Mallari obtained two loans from the GSIS which were secured by mortgages over two parcels of land registered under his and his wife’s names. But Mallari failed to meet his obligations to the GSIS.
In 1984, the GSIS applied for the extrajudicial foreclosure of the mortgage due to Mallari’s failure to settle his account, but, the latter stalled this by requesting for a final computation of his outstanding account and persuading the Sheriff to hold the publication of the foreclosure notice in abeyance.
In 1986, Mallari filed a complaint for injunction with application for preliminary injunction against the GSIS and the Provincial Sheriff of Pampanga in San Fernando Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 44.
The RTC decided in his favor but, the Court of Appeals, upon appeal by the GSIS, reversed the RTC in 1996. Mallari elevated this to the SC but the Court, in GR. 124468, denied Mallari’s petition for review on certiorari and his subsequent motion for reconsideration, thus, making the 1996 CA decision final and executor, rendering unassailable the extrajudicial foreclosure and auction sale held in 1986 and the issuance of titles in GSIS’ name.
In 1999, the GSIS filed an ex parte motion for execution and/or writ of possession and the RTC issued a writ of execution, ordering the Sheriff to place the GSIS in possession of the properties. The RTC issued a writ of execution/writ of possession. The Sheriff, however, failed to serve the write, partly because of Mallari’s request for an extension of time within which to vacate properties.
Subsequently, Mallari filed a motion for reconsideration and/or to quash the writ of execution. He also filed a civil case that, among others, asked the RTC to hold the GSIS in contempt of court for painting the fence of the subject properties during the pendency of his MR. When the RTC denied his motions for contempt, Mallari raised the matter to the CA, which also denied his petition, prompting him to bring the matter to the High Court in GR No. 157659. The High Court affirmed the CA’s decision.