SC junks disbarment suit vs. IT firm exec for insufficient cause

Domestic Affairs

The Supreme Court(SC) has dismissed a disbarment complaint against a lawyer involved in the corporate control battle of an information technology (IT) service contractor of the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

In a 10-page resolution released Friday, the SC Second Division dismissed the complaint for disbarment against lawyer Gene Pilapil as the complaint “failed to sufficiently establish any cause for disciplinary action”.

Pilapil is the corporate secretary of IT company Stradcom Corp., which had been ravaged by an intra-corporate controversy between two groups under key officials Cezar Quiambao and Bonifacio Sumbilla.

“Private persons, disgruntled opponents, in particular, may not be permitted to use the courts as vehicles through which to vent their rancor on members of the Bar,” the SC ruled.

Sumbilla filed the disbarment suit against Pilapil, who is under the Quiambao group, for allegedly harassing and threatening a law firm so it won’t represent the complainant’s faction.

The SC said the language, tone, and choice of words in Pilalpil’s letter to the law firm did not use defamatory, offensive or improper language nor did it contain any threat aside from the possibility of legal action and that his acts “remained well within the ethical standards imposed on members of the Bar”.

In July 2015, the Court of Appeals ruling recognized the Quiambao group as in control of Stradcom.

A subsequent petition filed by the Sumbilla group before the SC to question the CA ruling was dismissed June 2016.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) ended the deal with Stradcom in December 2016.

A one-year phaseout agreement was laid down to allow LTO to subscribe to a new IT service provider covering hardware, software, and data component requirements of the agency, and to give Stradcom time to turn over the source code and database to the government.

The DOTr likewise agreed to settle the PHP8-billion debt of the government to Stradcom.

Stradcom and LTO’s IT agreement began in 1998 under DOTr forerunner Department of Transportation and Communications.

Source: Philippines News Agency