TABANG vs. GACOTT

Posted: April 8, 2017 in case digests, legal ethics, PALE, Uncategorized
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TABANG vs. GACOTT
A.C. No. 6490 July 9, 2013
By: Karen P. Lustica

FACTS:
Lilia Tabang intended to purchase a total of thirty (30) hectares of
agricultural land. Judge Gacott noted that under the government’s
agrarian reform program, Tabang was prohibited from acquiring vast
tracts of agricultural land as she already owned other parcels. Thus,
Judge Gacott advised her to put the titles of the parcels under the
names of fictitious persons.
Lilia Tabang was able to purchase seven parcels and obtained the
corresponding Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) under the names of
fictitious persons.
Complainants decided to sell the seven parcels as they were in need of
funds for their medication and other expenses. Claiming that he would
help complainants by offering the parcels to prospective buyers,
respondent Glenn Gacott borrowed from Lilia Tabang the TCTs covering
the parcels.
Respondent then told the complainants that he had lost all seven titles.
Upon learning that Lilia Tabang had filed a new set of petitions,
respondent executed several documents that included revocations of
SPAs and various affidavits of recovery purportedly signed by the
parcels’ (fictitious) owners. Respondent then caused the annotation of
these documents on the TCTs of the seven parcels.
Also, respondent caused the publication of notices where he
represented himself as the owner of the parcels and announced that
these were for sale. Later, respondent succeeded in selling the seven
parcels.
Alleging that respondent committed gross misconduct, dishonesty, and
deceit, complainants filed their complaint directly with the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

ISSUE:
WON Gacott should be disbarred.

HELD:
YES.

RATIO:
After a careful examination of the records, the Court concurs with and
adopts the findings and recommendation of Commissioner Limpingco and
the IBP Board of Governors. It is clear that respondent committed
gross misconduct, dishonesty, and deceit in violation of Rule 1.01 of
the CPR when he executed the revocations of SPAs and affidavits of
recovery and in arrogating for himself the ownership of the seven (7)
subject parcels.
While it may be true that complainant Lilia Tabang herself engaged in
illicit activities, the complainant’s own complicity does not negate,
or even mitigate, the repugnancy of respondent’s offense. Quite the
contrary, his offense is made even graver. He is a lawyer who is held
to the highest standards of morality, honesty, integrity, and fair
dealing. Perverting what is expected of him, he deliberately and
cunningly took advantage of his knowledge and skill of the law to
prejudice and torment other individuals. Not only did he countenance
illicit action, he instigated it. Not only did he acquiesce to
injustice, he orchestrated it. Thus, We impose upon respondent the
supreme penalty of disbarment.
Under Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of Court (Rules), a lawyer may
be disbarred for any of the following grounds:
deceit;
malpractice;
gross misconduct in office;
grossly immoral conduct;
conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude;
violation of the lawyer’s oath;
willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court; and
willfully appearing as an attorney for a party without authority to do so.
It is established in Jurisprudence that disbarment is proper when
lawyers commit gross misconduct, dishonesty, and deceit in usurping
the property rights of other persons.
In this case, complainants have shown by a preponderance of evidence
that respondent committed gross misconduct, dishonesty, and deceit in
violation of Rule 1.01 of the CPR.
DISPOSITION: Respondent ATTY. GLENN C. GACOTT, having clearly violated
the Canons of Professional Responsibility through his unlawful,
dishonest, and deceitful conduct, is DISBARRED and his name ordered
STRICKEN from the Roll of Attorneys.

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