THE former law partner of former spokesperson of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Atty. Trixie Cruz-Angeles has welcomed her suspension for three years by the Supreme Court for violation of the profession’s ‘Code of Professional Responsibility.’
“I told you so,” said lawyer activist Argee Guevarra, who had warned people about Angeles.
Angeles was suspended from law practice by the Supreme Court based on a complaint filed by her client, Cleo Dongga-as, over an annulment case. Also suspended along with Angeles was her new law partner, Wylie Paler.
According to SC Public Information Chief Atty. Theodore Te, “despite constant follow-ups, respondents were unable to produce a petition for annulment, with various reasons being given by respondents for their failure to do so, including that there was no record of marriage (which was a false statement as verified by complainant).”
Dongga-as complained in 2003 that he had already paid some P350,000 in legal fees for his annulment case and which the lawyers refused to refund to him.
Angeles is known for her former ties to the Magdalo group such as new customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and for lawyering for former Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) members Lowell Menorca and road rage shooter Vhong Tanto.
Guevarra had earlier raised the Dongga-as issue against Angeles in online articles, and alleged that after kicking her out of their law office, he had discovered from staffers that Angeles had “a pattern of demanding attorney’s fees from clients and after payments to her have been made, she fails to render any legal service.”
Aside from Dongga-as, Guevarra alleged that Angeles had also defrauded another client named John Haber in a carnapping case.
Guevarra also alleged that individuals connected with the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA) had also revealed that Angeles––legal counsel for the NCCA––could not account for P240,000 from the Heritage Foundation.
Aside from refusing to refund Dongga-as, Angeles and Paler also charged their client an additional P45,000 in “consultancy fees.”
The IBP Committee on Bar Discipline had decided to slap a 4-month suspension against Angeles and Paler but the SC upgraded the disciplinary action to three years.