Sunday, September 12, 2010

Guevarra vs. Eala A.C. No. 7136 August 1, 2007

Joselano Guevarra vs. Atty. Jose Emmanuel Eala

A.C. No. 7136

August 1, 2007

Facts: On March 4, 2002 a complaint of disbarment was filed before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Committee on Bar Discipline against Atty. Jose Emmanuel M. Eala a.k.a. Noli Eala for grossly immoral conduct and unmitigated violation of the lawyer’s oath. In the Complaint, Guevarra first met the respondent in January 2000 when his then fiancée Irene Moje introduced respondent to him as her friend who was married to Marianne Tantoco with whom he had three children.

After his marriage to Irene on October 7, 2000, Complainant noticed that from January to March 2001, Irene had been receiving from respondent Cellphone calls, as well as messages some which read “I love you,” “I miss you,” or “Meet you at Megamall.” He also noticed that Irene habitually went home very late at night or early in the morning of the following day, and sometimes did not go home from work. When he asked her whereabouts, she replied that she slept at her parent’s house in Binangonan, Rizal or she was busy with her work.

In February or March 2001, complainant saw Irene and Respondent together on two occasions. On the second occasion, he confronted them following which Irene abandoned the conjugal house. On April 22, 2001 complainant went uninvited to Irene’s birthday celebration at which he saw her and the respondent celebrating with her family and friends. Out of embarrassment, anger and humiliation, he left the venue immediately. Following that incident, Irene went to the conjugal house and hauled off all her personal belongings. Complainant later found a handwritten letter dated October 7, 2007, the day of his wedding to Irene, Complainant soon saw respondent’s car and that of Irene constantly parked at No. 71-B11 Street, New Manila where as he was later learn sometime in April 2001, Irene was already residing. He also learned still later that when his friends saw Irene on about January 18, 2002 together with respondent during a concert, she was pregnant.

Issue: Whether Concubinage or Adulterous relationship, be the reason for the disbarment of Atty. Jose Emmanuel Eala.

Held: Lawyer’s oath stated that a lawyer should support the Constitution and obey the laws, Meaning he shall not make use of deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct, grossly immoral conduct, or be convicted in any crime involving moral turpitude. In the case at bar Atty. Eala was accused of Concubinage, under ART. 334 of the Revised Penal Code, “ Any husband who shall keep a mistress in a conjugal dwelling, or, shall have sexual intercourse, under scandalous circumstances, with a woman who is not his wife, or shall cohabit with her in any other place, shall be punished by prision correccional in its minimum and medium period. Section 2 of ART. XV states that “Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the state. Respondent’s grossly immoral conduct runs afoul of the constitution and the laws, that he as a lawyer has sworn to uphold. Hence the court declared Atty. Jose Emmanul M. Eala DISBARRED for grossly immoral conduct, violation of his oath of office, and violation of canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 7, Rule 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

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