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Lawyer in family dispute case escapes disbarment raps

The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed a disbarment complaint against a lawyer caught in the middle of a family squabble over real estate holdings.


In a resolution published online on November 7, the high court adopted the findings of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and cleared lawyer Jordan Pizarras.


The complainant, Enrique Javier de Zuzuararregui, claimed that Pizarras had been his “de facto” lawyer in a case involving the family’s landholdings in Balara, Quezon City leased with developer Gotesco Properties Inc. (GPI).


However, Zuzuararregui said Pizarras abandoned him.


Pizarras was sued for allegedly conspiring with the children and common-law wife of Zuzuararregui’s deceased brother, Antonio, and fraudulently executed a compromise agreement in 2016 with GPI.


Left out of the deals, Zuzuararregui claimed the lawyer misappropriated for his own interest PHP61.7 million, representing the complainant’s supposed one-third share in rentals paid by GPI.


Pizarras argued that he was consulted only by Antonio and his scope of engagement never included the representation of Enrique.


The lawyer claimed he was not under any obligation to advise the complainant regarding the case as it was the trial court itself that did so through its service of summons.


“In the instant case, complainant failed to adduce substantial evidence that would establish an attorney-client relationship between him and Atty. Pizarras. Consequently, the duties of a lawyer to his or her client have not set in,” the SC said, adding that the complainant had made his own representations with GPI that do not include Pizarras


Source: Philippines News Agency