Lawyer represents 2 parties in same case, suspended
CEBU, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has approved the suspension a trial lawyer for one year effective immediately for alleged violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility after she allegedly represented both the husband and the wife mired in a legal separation case.
Lawyer Gloria Lastimosa-Dalawampu was found guilty of violating Canon 15, Rules 15.01 and 15.03.
“The court hereby adopts and approves with modification the resolution dated January 31, 2015 rendered by the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, finding Atty. Gloria Lastimosa-Dalawampu guilty of Canon 15, Rules 15.01 and 15.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility,” read the notice.
This stemmed from a complaint filed by Atty. Elsa Wilson, who allegedly hired Dalawampu for her legal separation case she had filed with the Regional Trial Court Branch 9 in Cebu City against her husband, Claude Wilson.
Elsa and Dalawampu had a lawyer-client relationship.
However, the investigating commissioner observed that Dalawampu also made her representation as counsel for Claude in the legal separation case, as well as in a case for declaration of nullity of marriage that he filed against Elsa in the same court.
This prompted Elsa to file on August 31, 2000 a motion with the RTC to disqualify Dalawampu from representing Claude in court on the ground of conflict of interest, which was eventually granted by the Court of Appeals in its decision in 2004.
The SC second division, in its notice, stated: “Lawyers are duty-bound to maintain undivided allegiance to their clients and avoid any conflict of interest. A conflict of interest arises when a lawyer discharges inconsistent duties or represents inconsistent interests of two or more opposing parties.”
The SC also sternly warned Dalawampu that a repetition of the same or any similar act shall be dealt with more severely. (FREEMAN)