VITRIOLO v. DASIG A.C. No. 4984, April 1, 2003 Procedural Digest

Procedural Filing of Disbarment case

VITRIOLO v. DASIG A.C. No. 4984, April 1, 2003
 
Filing of Complaint
Almost all complainants in the instant case are high-ranking officers of the CHED. In their sworn Complaint-Affidavit filed with this Court on December 4, 1998, complainants allege that respondent, while she was OIC of Legal Affairs Service, CHED, committed acts that are grounds for disbarment under Section 27,2 Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, which was filed to the Supreme Court.

Notice to File Comment

In SC resolution of February 3, 1999, SC required respondent to file a Comment on the charges. A copy of said resolution was sent to the respondent at her address at Blk. 4, Lot 12, Hobart II Subdivision, Novaliches, Quezon City, only to be returned to this Court with the notation “Unclaimed.”11

On July 5, 1999, we directed that a copy of the resolution of February 3, 1999, be served by registered mail to respondent at her office address in CHED.

In a letter dated August 28, 2000, the Postmaster of the Ortigas Center Post Office informed the Court that the said mail matter had been delivered to, received by, and signed for by one Antonio Molon, an authorized agent of respondent on August 27, 1999.

Referring the case to Commission on Bar Discipline(CBD), IBP

On November 22, 2000, we granted complainant’s motion to refer the complaint to the Commission on Bar Discipline, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report, and recommendation.

Notice to Submit Answer

In its order dated February 6, 2001, the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline directed respondent to submit her Answer to the Complaint, failing which she would be considered in default and the case heard ex parte. Respondent failed to heed said order and on January 8, 2002, the Commission directed her anew to file her Answer, but again she failed to comply with the directive. As a result, the Commission ruled that she had waived her right to file her Comment or Answer to the Complaint and the case was mainly resolved on the basis of the documents submitted and on record.

Recommendation of  the CBD to the Board of Governors IBP

In its report and recommendation, dated April 5, 2002, the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline stated as follows:

From the foregoing evidence on record, it can be concluded that respondent in violation of her oath as a government official and as a member of the Bar, indeed made unlawful demands or attempted to extort money from certain people who had pending applications/requests before her office in exchange for her promise to act favorably on said applications/requests. Clearly, respondent unlawfully used her public office in order to secure financial spoils to the detriment of the dignity and reputation of the Commission on Higher Education.

For the foregoing reasons, it is recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for the maximum period allowable of three (3) years with a further warning that similar action in the future will be a ground for disbarment of respondent.

Resolution of the BG-IBP

On August 3, 2002, the IBP Board of Governors passed Resolution No. XV-2002-393, the full text of which reads as follows:

RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED, the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner of the above-entitled case, herein made part of this Resolution/Decision as Annex “A:; and, finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules; and considering that respondent unlawfully used her public office in order to secure financial spoils to the detriment of the dignity and reputation of the Commission on Higher Education, Respondent is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for three (3) years.13

Judgment of the Supreme Court

WHEREFORE, respondent Arty. Felina S. Dasig is found liable for gross misconduct and dishonesty in violation of the Attorney’s Oath as well as the Code of Professional Responsibility, and is hereby ordered DISBARRED.

Distribution of the Court Decision

Let copies of this Resolution be furnished to the Bar Confidant to be spread on the records of the respondent, as well as to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for distribution to all its chapters, and the Office of the Court Administrator for dissemination to all courts throughout the country.

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