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True to his topnotch reputation, this lawyer took to task  no less than a magistrate of the highest court of the land.

Considered a first in Bohol’s bar and judicial history, lawyer Victor de la Serna is now in hot water after he accused a Supreme Court justice “on the ground of credible allegations of bribery”. The amount the lawyer quoted was P10 million.

For such a wanton display of legal bravado, de la Serna, a bar topnotcher earned a citation for indirect contempt.

The bribery rap stemmed from the request for inhibition of the unidentified High Court justice filed by de la Serna when he filed a motion for consideration arising from a decision penned by the SC justice.

An indirect contempt charge carries a penalty of disbarment as maximum and reprimand as minimum. The erring lawyer can also be suspended of private practice if found guilty. Since the case involved the highest court of the country, the penalty is no longer appealable.

For almost four hours last June 18, de la Serna during the oral argument of the charge was grilled by all the members of the SC  second division. A member of the division was at the receiving end of de la Serna’s bribery tirade.

BACKGROUND

In his motion for inhibition, de la Serna zeroed in on the second division justice citing alleged credible allegations of bribery based on the statement of a certain Johnny Chan and other compelling circumstances.
Chan, a Manila-based businessman is representing a realty firm identified as Cattleya Land, Inc. The company was interested to buy a property in Panglao to pave the way for the construction of a resort hotel known as Bellevue Hotel. A hotel of the same name and possibly owned by Chan is now in operation in Alabang, Muntinglupa.

The owner of the property in question is a certain  Carmelita Fudot who chose de la Serna as her lawyer in the litigation that followed.

What drove the goat of de la Serna and subsequently went ballistic by crying bribery was decision of the Supreme Court whose ponente was the object of de la Serna’s verbal attack.

The decision was promulgated on September 13, 2007. The same decision was the subject of de la Serna’s motion for consideration.

Thirteen days or on September 26 upon promulgation, the decision was released as evidenced from the mailing date from the Central Post office in Manila.

De la Serna  recalled that on September 25, 2007 or a day before the decision was mailed to all interested parties,  the topnotch lawyer together with Chan met at the Bellevue Hotel in Alabang. In that meeting, the businessman, according to de la Serna, stated that he could no longer continue negotiations for the purchase of the land of Fudot because he has already spent P10 million for the SC justice to render a favorable decision for Cattleya Land, Inc.

De la Serna’s suspicion was that what Chan wanted was to buy also the interest or claim from Fudot over the same property and put an end to the litigation. At this time, the case has not yet reached the Supreme Court.
Then a second meeting was set at the private dining room of the Bellevue Hotel a few days later with lawyer Tomas Toledo in attendance. It may be noted that during the first meeting, Toledo was also there as an intermediary representing Chan. In the second meeting, no agreement on the purchase price was reached.

Then a third meeting was held, still at the private dining room of Bellevue Hotel this time arranged by lawyer Dionisio de la Serna, a cousin of  the Boholano lawyer. The same as in the previous ones, no agreement was reached during this meeting.

What was notable during  this meeting according to de la Serna was that a certain Pol Petralba offered to the petitioner’s counsel P4 million for the interest of Fudot regardless of the case in the Supreme Court.

Knowing that the property registered in the name of Fudot was worth much more than the P4 million, again no agreement was reached, de la Serna added.

Sometime in the middle of September 2007, de la Serna received a text message from a certain Cecil Eleazar, an engineer of Chan, requesting for another meeting at the Bellevue Hotel.

De la Serna said dutifully and in good faith, the petitioner’s counsel again flew to Manila for that requested meeting at the Bellevue Hotel.

Set on September 25, 2007, the meeting was no longer held at the hotel’s private dining room. It was held at the public dining area which was noisy with latter loud music. In that meeting de la Serna noted that Chan arrived almost an hour late.

As narrated by de la Serna in his motion, the meeting after the usual civilities, Chan curtly told him that all negotiations for the purchase of the petitioner’s property were off. Chan said that he had already given out P10 million to the High Court justice in exchange for a favorable decision. On the basis of this information, Chan said there was no more reason for him to talk to de la Serna.

Meanwhile, de la Serna noted that the fourth and last meeting was held on September 25, 2007 while the next day September 26, the decision of the Supreme Court was mailed to the contending parties.

ADVANCE KNOWLEDGE

In support of his bribery claim, de la Serna said the advance knowledge of the decision only confirms the bribery as bragged by Chan.

De La Serna added even as early as August 2007, Petralba who turned out to be one of the lawyers of Chan was already intimating of a bribery of a SC justice. De La Serna said when Petralba made a final offer of P 4million regardless of the outcome of the Supreme Court case, there was ready a veiled ultimatum for de la Serna to accept their generous offer of P4 million. - Bohol Sunday Post

Linkback: https://tubagbohol.mikeligalig.com/index.php?topic=13714.0

Lorenzo

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Re: Bohol's Topnotch Lawyer Facing Contempt Charge From Supreme Court
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2008, 07:54:51 AM »
Despite the outcome, I must say that I am impressed with Atty de la Serna's bravado.

Whatever the outcome may be, this man is truly deserving of respect for his ranching of the highest court in the land.

I take my hat off to you, Atty de la Serna.



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Re: Bohol's Topnotch Lawyer Facing Contempt Charge From Supreme Court
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2008, 09:34:05 AM »
O my, what a shame intawn, after all those years he's been through...it comes to this!
mangin tawn nalang ko.

Lorenzo

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Re: Bohol's Topnotch Lawyer Facing Contempt Charge From Supreme Court
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2008, 09:45:39 AM »
I do hope that Atty de la Serna can fight his way out of this predicament. Perhaps the SC justices can just slap him with a warning.


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Re: Bohol's Topnotch Lawyer Facing Contempt Charge From Supreme Court
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2008, 05:28:45 AM »
unsa na may update ani. bilib ko ni de la serna. he is living up to his reputation as a fearless crusader for justice. more power to atty. de la serna

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Re: Bohol's Topnotch Lawyer Facing Contempt Charge From Supreme Court
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2008, 05:31:52 AM »
ang angay nga e disbar ani mao ang sc justice nga buaya. dili si dela serna. ug nag ka hiusa pa unta tang mga bolanon and we have more influence, we can throw our weight behind this brave bolanon lawyer, pure breed nga kaliwat ni dagohoy



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