4 cases where SC punished lawyers for not paying debts

In several cases, the Supreme Court has disciplined lawyers for their dishonesty and immoral conduct in refusing to pay their just debts.

In Constantino v. Saludares,[1] respondent unjustifiably refused to pay his f P,000.00 loan to complainant's son and gave paltry excuses for his non-payment. He was suspended for three (3) months from the practice of law. [2]

In Dr. Sanchez v. Atty. Somoso,[3] respondent paid his hospital bill totalling P44,347.00 with personal checks that were dishonored when deposited. The Supreme Court found Atty. Somoso guilty of misconduct in writing off a check from an account he knew to be closed and refusing to settle his bill despite demand. He was suspended from the practice of law for six (6) months.[4]

In Vda. de Espino v. Atty. Presquito,[5] complainant sold respondent a piece of land for which respondent issued eight (8) post-dated checks totalling P736,060.00 as payment. All eight checks were dishonored, and respondent refused to pay the amount despite demand. Complainant surmised it was because of respondent's reliance on the influence of his father-in-law who was a former Executive Judge in Cagayan de Oro Regional Trial Court and of his uncle who was also a judge.[6] Complainant's widow continued trying to collect from respondent but to no avail. The Supreme Court found the recommended penalty of six (6) months suspension too light and increased this to one (1) year suspension.[7]In Tomlin II v. Moya II,[8] complainant alleged that Atty. Moya borrowed money from him which was partially covered by seven (7) post-dated checks totalling P158,500.00. These checks were all dishonored when complainant tried to encash them, and Atty. Moya refused to pay his debt without justifiable reason. The Supreme Court suspended him from the practice of law for two (2) years.[9]

[1] Constantino v. Atty. Saludares, A.C. No. 2029, December 7, 1993, 228 SCRA 233 [Per J. Bidin, Third Division].
[2] Id. at 238.
[3] Dr. Sanchez v. Atty. Somoso, 459 Phil. 209 (2003) [Per J. Vitug, First Division].
[4] Id. at 213.
[5] Vda. de Espino v. Atty. Presquito, 416 Phil. 714 (2004) [Per J. Puno, Second Division].
[6] Id. at 717.
[7] Id. at 725.
[8] Tomlin II v. Moya II, 518 Phil. 325 (2006) [Per J. Ynares-Santiago, En Banc].
[9] Id. at 332-333.