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PLUMPTRE vs. ATTY.

RIVERA
A.C. No. 11350, August 9, 2016

FACTS: Complainant Adegoke R. Plumptre filed a complaint for disbarment against


respondent Atty. Socrates Rivera alleging that on March 7, 2014, he called respondent
and asked for help in his application for a work permit from the Bureau of Immigration
and he paid respondent P10,000 as professional fee. The second time they met,
complainant gave respondent another P10,000 together with his passport for the
processing of his work permit. The third time, respondent asked complainant to submit
ID photos and asked for another P10,000 but complainant refused to pay since they
only agreed on the amount of P20,000. Respondent also asked for an additional P8,000
for the other case involving the complainant he was working on.

Complainant claims that after respondent received the money, he never received
any updates on the status of his work permit and pending court case. Further, whenever
he called respondent to follow up on his work permit, respondent hurled invectives at
him and threatened him and his wife.

On May 27, 2015, the Investigating Commissioner recommended respondents


suspension for two (2) years from the practice of law and the return of P28,000 to
complainant.

On June 20, 2015, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Board of Governors
adopted and approved the Investigating Commissioners recommendation, but modified
to disbar respondent from the practice of law.

ISSUE: Whether the acts of Atty. Rivera warrants disbarment.

RULING: Atty. Rivera failed to serve his client with fidelity, competence, and diligence.
He not only neglected the attorney-client relationship established between them; he also
acted in reprehensible manner towards complainant. Respondents behavior
demonstrates his lack of integrity and moral soundness.

Although nothing in the records showed whether the court case was indeed
decided in complainants favor, respondents act of soliciting money to bribe a judge
served to malign the judge and the judiciary by giving the impression that court cases
are won by the party with the deepest pockets and not on the merits.

By implying that he can negotiate a favorable ruling for the sum of P8,000,
respondent trampled upon the integrity of the judicial system and eroded confidence on
the judiciary. This gross disrespect of the judicial system shows that he is wanting in
moral fiber and betrays the lack of integrity in his character.

A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at
lessening confidence in the legal system. Further, a lawyer shall not state or imply that
he is able to influence any public official, tribunal or legislative body.
In conclusion, the Court issued an order suspending Atty. Socrates Rivera from
the practice of law for three (3) years. He is likewise ordered to return to complainant
Adegoke R. Plumptre the amount of P28,000 with interest at 6% per annum from date
of promulgation of the Resolution until fully paid. He is also directed to submit to the
Court proof of payment for the amount within 10 days from payment.