SC disbar Negros Mayor over charges vs 2 justices

PNS — THE Supreme Court disbarred Pulupandan, Negros Occidental Mayor Magdaleno Peña, ex-husband of former movie actress Marie Roxanne “Plinky” Recto, for accusing two justices of manipulating a ruling against his favor.

The High Tribunal ordered the name of Peña removed from the Roll of Attorneys after he was found guilty of violating the canons of professional and ethical conduct for lawyers.

“For violating Canons, 8, 10 and 11 of the Code and Professional Responsibility and for failing to give due respect to the courts and his fellow lawyers… Peña is hereby disbarred from the practice of law, effective upon receipt of this decision,” the SC said.

The ruling was based on the recommendation of the SC’s committee on ethics and ethical standards which investigated the complaint filed against Peña for insinuating that Justices Antonio Carpio and Maria Lourdes Sereno influenced the ruling.

The case stemmed from Peña’s bid to collect P28.5 million in attorney’s fees from the defunct Urban Bank. The case reached the SC.

In November last year, the SC issued a ruling penned by Sereno dismissing his claim and awarding him only P3 million as reimbursement for his expenses and P1.5 million as compensation for his services.

Disgusted, Peña accused Sereno and Carpio of cover-up and manipulating the ruling to rule against his favor.

Peña also accused Justice Sereno of “protecting” Carpio by refusing to inhibit from the active case despite her closeness to the latter.

The High Court said Peña’s claims were “unfounded.”

“His conduct, demeanor and language with respect to his cause of action — in this court, no less — end to undermine the integrity and reputation of the judiciary, as well as inflict unfounded accusations against fellow lawyers.”

The SC said that Peña “has shown and displayed in these proceedings that he has fallen short of the ethical standards of the noble profession and must be sanctioned accordingly” and that “he has not shown remorse or contrition for his ways.”

Last year, Peña lost a custody battle over his 7-year-old son with Plinky.