On April 16, 1991, AMA filed with the Regional Trial Court a complaint for suspension as an attorney against Atty. A. D. Valmonte, under Section 27 and Section 28, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. 91-1038.
The complaint alleges that sometime in 1983, AMA and Emilio V. Tayao executed a contract of lease over the latter’s parcel of land. The parties agreed, among others, that the period of the lease shall be for six (6) years; that the land will be used by AMA as site for its school; and that it has an option to purchase the property.
When AMA was about to exercise its option to buy the land, Tayao commenced a scheme to frustrate the former’s plan by obtaining a loan from an absent party – the FELN International Corporation (FELN). To secure the loan, he executed three (3) simulated promissory notes amounting to PhP 4,500,000.00 in favor of FELN. The notes were without any consideration. Allegedly, Tayao defaulted in the payment of the loan. So, on July 13, 1989, FELN, through its alleged president Lai Chen Hsung, filed with the Regional Trial Court a fabricated complaint for collection of a sum of money against Tayao, docketed as Civil Case No. 89-4567. FELN’s counsel was respondent Atty. A. D. Valmonte.
On July 24, 1989, Tayao and FELN executed a Compromise Agreement whereby the former will pay the loan on or before July 31, 1989. This Compromise Agreement was approved by the trial court in its Compromise Judgment dated August 8, 1989. Subsequently, FELN filed with the trial court a motion for execution of its Compromise Judgment alleging that Tayao failed to comply with his obligation on time, specifically to pay his loan of PhP 50,000,000.00. The motion was granted. Eventually, the building occupied by petitioner was levied upon by the sheriff.
AMA then filed with the trial court a motion to lift the order of levy and execution but it was denied on the ground that the Compromise Judgment has become final and executory. This prompted AMA to file with the Regional Trial Court a complaint for suspension as attorney against Valmonte. AMA alleged therein that Valmonte committed fraudulent acts by filing a “mock action” for sum of money against Tayao based on fictitious promissory notes. Valmonte’s purpose was to deprive petitioner of its option to buy the subject property which, because of the levy on execution, disrupted the academic operation of its school with 3,000 students. In his answer to AMA’s complaint, Valmote alleged that there was no lawyer-client relationship between him and Tayao. The Compromise Judgment in Civil Case No. 89-4567 has long become final and executory and bars AMA from assailing the same.
On September 4, 1990, the trial court issued an order dismissing the complaint for non-suit and authorized Valmonte to adduce his evidence ex-parte. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration which was partly granted by the trial court by allowing counsel to cross-examine respondent. On May 17, 1996, the trial court rendered its decision in favor of Valmonte, ordering AMA to pay the latter PhP 300,000.00 as moral damages and PhP 50,000.00 as attorney’s fees. On appeal, the Court of Appeals, in its decision promulgated on April 20, 2001, affirmed the decision of the trial court. AMA filed a motion for reconsideration, but it was denied by the appellate court in its resolution dated September 6, 2001. AMA filed a petition for review on certiorari before the Supreme Court. The Supreme court denied AMA’s petition and the decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals were affirmed.
Filed under: Controversies Surrounding the AMA Education System | Tagged: ama makati, land dispute |