Atty. Carmen Alcantara vs Atty. Eduardo De Vera
Legal Ethics – Canon 21 – Client’s Confidence and Secrets
Atty. Eduardo De Vera won a case for Rosario Mercado. De Vera garnished the bank account of the opposing party but he did not remit the same to Mercado, instead he claimed that he used the same to pay off the judge and what’s left was for his attorney’s fees. Mercado filed an administrative complaint and eventually De Vera was suspended from the practice of law for one year. In obvious retaliation, he filed various complaints against Mercado and her family, the IBP officers who suspended and several others. He attempted to re-open the case of her client in an attempt to collect more attorney’s fees. He also instigated the opposing party in the case he won for Mercado to file lawsuits against Mercado. The complaints were dismissed but he re-filed them nonetheless.
ISSUE: Whether or not De Vera should be disbarred.
HELD: Yes. What he did is grossly unethical and filled with ill-motive. It is the duty of the Supreme Court to remove from the profession a person whose misconduct has proved him unfit to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities belonging to an office of an attorney, and thus to protect the public and those charged with the administration of justice, rather than to punish the attorney.
Further, De Vera is in violation of Canon 21 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. In filing cases against Mercado, De Vera used matters and information acquired by him when he was still the counsel for Mercado. A lawyer owes loyalty and fidelity to his client even if the lawyer-client relationship has already terminated. A lawyer shall preserve the confidence and secrets of his client even after the attorney-client relation is terminated.
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