SC suspends lawyer for forum shopping, multiple filing

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THE Supreme Court has suspended a lawyer from the practice of law for 18 months over the filing of several pleadings in various courts even if the judgment in favor of a litigant had become final and executory. In a decision penned by Associate Justice Mariano Del Castillo and concurred by Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Jose Catral Mendoza, Marvic Leonen, and Francis Jardeleza, the High Tribunal’s Second Division found lawyer Andres Villaruel Jr. “guilty of violation of the Lawyer’s Oath and Rules 10.03 and 12.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.” Records of the case showed that complainant Patrocinia Salabao in 1995 filed a case against Elmer Lumberio for his deceitful or fraudulent conduct of taking her real property in Taguig City. After hearings, the Regional Trial Court issued its resolution in her favor in 2002. Villaruel then entered the picture as counsel for Lumberio. The lawyer then brought the case before the High Tribunal which ruled in favor of Salabao, but Villaruel brought the case to the Court of Appeals and then to the High Tribunal again.

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