CHAPTER 4, DELIBERATE MISCUES
At the outset, (mentioned in the extended prologue, but not yet posted), I have pointed out that the Court would pick out the weakest argument of party and demolish this argument in a long and winded-rhetoric but it would not dare discuss a very relevant and material issue of the case if it has already made its mind on how to dispose of it.
Observe how the Court had demolished the contention of Atty. Inocentes that as a Senior Partner, he should not be held responsible for the “fiasco” of the attorneys’ in his employ. The Court’s discussion of this issue was kilometric and complete with 2 page-full footnotes and citations of authorities.
But in the case of a lawyer who was implementing a lawful writ of execution and had received partial payment for the debts from someone who offered to pay the debts mentioned in the court decision, the SC did not cite any single authority except to say that the lawyer is liable for “technical extortion”. But why so?
Not a single case was cited to support the position that a lawyer implementing a lawful writ can be subjected to technical extortion from losing litigants. And if my case is the first case, the Supreme Court would normally introduce the concept as being novel and first of its kind. But in the case of a senior partner who did not supervise his associate, the Court citations of authorities were kilometric. Atty. Inocentes di d not deserve to be admonished not because he was not part of this fiasco but because there was no fiasco.
The Court remains mute in the face of the challenge made by the author that it defines the term “extortion or technical extortion” and to find out if those crimes, (if there is such a crime of technical extortion) applies to a situation of lawyer who was implementing a court order to evict the defendant, Gliceria and any other persons claiming rights under her to vacate the premises in question for unpaid rents and to collect the unpaid rents there from, did so pursuant to such court order.
Readers should take note too that Atty. Camano did not go to George or Elvira to collect the unpaid rents. The mother-son tandem had approached Atty. Camano after they were refused audience by Atty. Inocentes and offered to liquidate the unpaid rents of the apartment long vacated by Gliceria and subsequently occupied by George and Elvira after the deputy sheriff had served on them the notice to vacate the apartment.
In any adversarial legal contest, you do not surrender any of your legal position to the opponent without a fight. Atty. Inocentes, in the light of erroneous finding of the IBP that there was a “technical extortion” committed by one of his associates, could have argued first that there was none by adopting the very reasons Atty. Camano had advanced early in the stage of the proceedings before the IBP. Then he could have embellished his argument with the usual legal refrain: “assuming for the sake of argument that one of his associates has committed the heinous act of technical extortion”, he should not be faulted for this “fiasco”.
The author finds it astonishing as well as perplexing that a lawyer seemed so pleased and overjoyed for being admonished by the Court for a “fiasco” that he has nothing to do about.
There was some slant too in the way the IBP or the Supreme Court has alluded to the fact that the apartment complex in question were sequestered because they were owned by Mr. Marcos’ cronies and thus created already a bias that the lawyers were Marcos loyalists. The law office of Atty. Inocentes was not entirely the lawyer of the spouses as the law firm was virtually forced on the spouses by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) because the one hundred or so tenants of the complex had taken advantage of the sequestration as an excuse not to pay the rentals. The PCCG had issued a memorandum to all the tenants in 1986 to remit their rentals to the PCGG but no one has complied with the memorandum.
Paralyzed by the legal impasse, the PCGG has authorized the law firm of Atty. Inocentes allegedly as the lawyer of the spouses to eject the non-paying tenants and among those sued the following year after the sequestration was Gliceria Solatan, sister of complainant in the administrative case, George.
Take note also that neither the IBP nor the Court has defined the meaning of extortion or the term “technical extortion”. The IBP made a conclusion unsupported by the facts and the Supreme Court gobbled it up lock, stock and barrel.