Divina, 20 others face disbarment


NILO Divina and 20 members of his law office are facing a disbarment complaint, filed on Tuesday by the estranged wife of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Juan Andres Bautista.

SCORNED Patricia Paz Bautista holds a copy of the disbarment complaint she filed on Tuesday against Nilo Divina for allegedly giving her husband, elections chief Juan Andres Bautista, illegal commissions.PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN

Patricia Paz Bautista, accompanied by her lawyer Lorna Kapunan, filed the case before the Supreme Court after an impeachment complaint against Bautista was junked by the justice committee of the House of Representatives on September 20.

Kapunan said the Comelec chairman was not included in the disbarment raps because he has immunity from suit, being an impeachable official.

Divina, dean of the UST Faculty of Civil Law, was dragged into the Bautistas’ marital dispute because of Patricia’s claims that her husband got illegal commissions from the Divina Law Office for client referrals.

Patricia accused Divina and his colleagues of violating the lawyers’ Code of Professional Responsibility because of their alleged corrupt ties to Bautista.

She also asked the high tribunal to shut down the Divina Law Office.

Patricia accused her husband of having ill-gotten wealth worth P1 billion, noting that the Comelec chief declared only P176.3 million in net worth last year.

She wants to divide their assets following their separation.

Patricia claimed to found several checks and commission sheets issued by Divina in the name of Bautista or his relatives.

“Despite the absence of the direct adverse corrupt acts of the herein respondents [lawyers]towards me, I know for a fact that the injury is towards the more general and abstract Filipino public,” the complaint stated.

The Divina Law firm acted as lawyer for Smartmatic, the Venezuelan company that won the contracts for the 2010, 2013 and 2016 automated polls.

“We have documents to show that not only did [Bautista] receive them (commissions); he received them close to the [2016] elections. We also have canceled checks paid by DivinaLaw Offices not only to Chairman Bautista but to his sister Susan and to the mother and the father….These are not mere allegations. The documents will speak for themselves,” Kapunan told reporters.

Divina belittled the charges and promised to answer the accusations in due time.


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