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SC disbars suspended lawyer over bouncing checks

May 24, 2024 People's Journal 123 views

THE Supreme Court has disbarred a lawyer for issuing two bouncing checks and failing to pay her debt despite demands.

In a decision, the Supreme Court En Banc found Atty. Elerizza A. Libiran-Meteoro guilty of gross misconduct and disbarred her from the practice of law. She was also fined P35,000.

In 2013, Atty. Libiran-Meteoro issued postdated checks in favor of Maliliw Lending Corporation for a personal loan. When deposited on the respective due dates, however, the checks were dishonored for being drawn against a closed account or for not being sufficiently funded.

William S. Uy, a representative of Maliliw Lending, discovered that Atty. Libiran-Meteoro had been previously suspended from the practice of law for six months, for gross misconduct.

He tried to call Atty. Libiran-Meteoro, but she ignored his calls, causing him damage in the amount of P245,000.

Acting on Uy’s complaint, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) investigated the matter and recommended Atty. Libiran-Meteoro’s suspension for one year and payment of P245,000 to Uy.

The IBP Board of Governors (BOG) adopted the IBP CBD’s findings but deleted the ordered payment to Uy, which should be the subject of a separate civil action.

The IBP BOG also added a fine of P45,000 for Atty. Libiran -Meteoro’s failure to file the required pleadings and her non-appearance at the mandatory conference despite notice.

The Supreme Court affirmed the IBP BOG’s findings, but increased the penalty to disbarment.

The Court ruled that Atty. Libiran-Meteoro’s acts of issuing worthless checks violated Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, which penalizes making or drawing worthless checks.

Such practice of putting valueless commercial papers in circulation injures the banking system and hurts society and the public interest.

As a member of the Bar, Atty. Libiran-Meteoro was expected not only to know the harmful effect of issuing worthless checks and the fact that this is prohibited, but to be the first to faithfully follow the law.

The Court lamented that not only were Atty. Libiran-Meteoro’s acts unlawful, they were dishonest and deceitful.

Her continued refusal to pay, much less acknowledge, her obligation, further show that her acts were willful and intentional.