Lawyer disbarred for promising annulment decision in 2 months

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MANILA – The Supreme Court said on Wednesday it had disbarred a lawyer who violated his oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility when he promised his client a marriage annulment order in 2 months and failed to to return the money paid for it.

The court also ordered lawyer Ronaldo Salvado to return with 6% annual interest the 420,000 pesos he received from his client for the backdated annulment decision he failed to issue.

In 2013, Salvado was asked by plaintiff Roger Asuncion to annul his mother’s previous marriage. He agreed to pay 700,000 pesos for legal documents that would show the 1983 marriage had been dissolved when she had a second marriage 5 years later, the court heard.

“The plaintiff claimed that Salvado had guaranteed a favorable judgment in two months and submitted screenshots of their text messages to show that the legal fees of 700,000 pesos included payment to Salvado’s relations for the promulgation of said judgment”, said the Supreme Court.

“Salvador’s deal with his connections would have failed when Roger failed to pay the full amount,” he added.

Receipts issued by Salvado show he received 420,000 pesos, the court heard.

He said Salvado knew all along that a judgment would not be issued within 2 months of filing a motion to quash, “yet he agreed to issue an antedated judgment on an annulment proceeding, which does not can only be obtained by illegal means”.

“The Court further held that the offense was consummated when Salvado had accepted an engagement which would entail the commission of an act contrary to the law, adding that his offense was further aggravated by the fact that he had not returned the sum paid to him by his client when they agreed did not materialize,” he said.

Salvado had already been suspended from legal practice twice – for issuing worthless checks and for violating canons 17 and 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

The SC said he “lacks good character and is unworthy of membership in the legal profession”.

Salvado’s disbarment is “effective immediately”, the court said.

– With a report by Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

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