In a decision released recently, the SC ordered Renato B. Pagatpatan disbarred following a complaint of Rev. Fr. Jose P. Zafra III.
Zafra had sued two of the wayward lawyer's clients but was made the subject of a letter complaint sent by Pagatpatan to the Bishop of the Diocese of Tandag, Surigao Del Sur.
A subsequent inquiry by the church later cleared Zafra, who then initiated the administrative complaint against Pagatpatan.
The lawyer turned out to have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law at the time, having been suspended by the court in another administrative case against him.
"Attorney Pagatpatan had been representing party litigants in court from 2005 until the case was filed before the IBP in 2016," said the SC, adding that the lawyer "made a mockery of this court's authority by defying this Court's suspension order for over eleven years".
"If Zafra had not filed the instance case, Attorney Pagatpatan would have continued disregarding the suspension order of this court," the tribunal said.
The SC found Pagatpatan guilty of simple misconduct and fined him PHP5,000 for unethical behavior over his letter against Zafra, and disbarred from the practice of law effective immediately.
"His actions clearly constitute gross misconduct which is a sufficient cause for suspension or disbarment," the tribunal explained.