December 22, 2013
FOR allegedly refusing to complete the payment of the legal service fee of a private lawyer they have contracted to assist them in their Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA) with the management, officials and members of the employees’ association of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) in Pasay City have been charged in court.
In a nine-page complaint filed before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC), lawyer Mauro John Reyes 3rd of the Reyes and Reyes Law Offices accused the Kapisanan ng mga Manggagawa sa GSIS (KMG) of ignoring his demands for the payment of his legal services for the third and final tranche of the labor union’s CNA incentive they received on February 12, 2012.
As part of his Specific Performance with Damages suit, Reyes also asked the court to require KMG to indemnify him P150,000 for the legal expenses and damages.
Charged were KMG President Gelanie Mariano and 65 other officials and members of the association’s Joint Executive and Legislative Assembly (JELA), who did not recognize the agreement entered by previous KMG officers with Reyes in July 2007 to represent them in the CNA negotiation with the GSIS management.
Under the Contract of Legal Service between KMG and Reyes, KMG shall pay Reyes a monthly retainer fee of P5,000 and a contingent fee of five percent of whatever amount that shall be awarded to the KMG.
“Through the great effort of the KMG panel, the KMG was able to negotiate the grant of CNA Incentive to all GSIS employees in three annual tranches from June 19, 2009 to June 2011,” Reyes said.
The KMG was able to fulfill its obligation to Reyes on the first two tranches of the CNA incentive on July 20, 2009 and June 12, 2010.
But in February 2012, the new management of KMG, led by its new president Abdon Imperial, refused to pay Reyes’ legal service fee for the third and final tranche of the CNA incentive.
KMG has repeatedly ignored Reyes’ demand letters and instead filed a case of estafa against the lawyer and the former officers of the KMG, alleging that the 2007 Contract of Legal Service and the issuance of checks were tainted with fraud and deceit.
The Office of the City Prosecutor (OCP) in Pasay City subsequently dismissed the estafa charges and ruled that the former KMG management “performed within their duties and functions when they signed and issued checks for respondent Atty. Reyes.”
“Despite the favorable resolution of the OCP declaring the validity of the Contract of Legal Services entered into by the then KMG President and the Plaintiff, as well as repeated written demands to comply with the provisions of the Contract of Legal Services, respondents failed or have refused to comply with their reciprocal duty and obligation to pay under the Retainer Agreement and the Contract of Legal Service,” Reyes said in his complaint.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO