MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) has cleared four lawyers accused of fraudulently taking over the property of a client.
The SC decision, published online on Friday, dismissed the disbarment complaint filed by Vicencio Gulanes against lawyers Mariano Carrasco, Evangeline Carrasco, Al An Geñoso, and Angeline Marie Carrasco-Geñoso.
Gulanes had secured the services of Evangeline and Mariano in 2006 to handle the ejection of illegal settlers and facilitate the repurchase of a 23.2-hectare property in Sitio Mamaon, Barangay Indulang in Talakag, Bukidnon from the Development Bank of the Philippines, which foreclosed his mortgage in 1994.
The client claimed that the lawyers fraudulently secured a “waiver of rights” from various land reform beneficiaries occupying his property, thus making them the owners and possessors.
Tarpaulin signs were also placed on the property stating their names as the new owners.
Gulanes sued the four for allegedly being interested in and acquiring the property that was under litigation.
The lawyers, on the other hand, claimed the property they own and occupy is different from the property of Gulanes and that they acquired it from previous title holders in 2017, as shown by deeds of sale and certificates of title.
In a resolution dated June 12, 2021, submitted to the SC, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Board of Governors adopted the findings and recommendations of its investigator to dismiss the petition and noted that the two properties are indeed different.
In ruling for the lawyers, the court said “in disbarment proceedings, lawyers enjoy the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise and complainants bear the burden of proving the allegations in their complaints by substantial evidence. If complainants fail to show in a satisfactory manner the facts upon which their claims are based, the respondents are not obliged to prove their exception or defense.” (PNA)