SC disbars ex-customs official over illegal sale of SUV

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
SC disbars ex-customs official over illegal sale of SUV
This photo shows a picture of the building of the Bureau of Customs.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — A former official from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has been disbarred by the Supreme Court (SC) who misrepresented himself as a BOC director with the authority to sell seized vehicles.

In a press release of the high court released on Friday, it said that lawyer Jorge Monroy’s name has been removed from the roll of attorneys after violating the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability (CPRA).

Monroy was also fined in the amount of P20,000 for his disobedience to the orders of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

In July 2000, Monroy offered to sell to complainant Julieta Co for the amount of P 1.4 million a Toyota Land Cruiser that was among the vehicles confiscated by the BOC.

Monroy assured the complainant that the transaction was legal and that official receipts would be issued.

Co proceeded with the purchase and initially paid P150,000 by check. 

Three days later, Monroy informed Co that the vehicle was ready for delivery, prompting Co to prepare a manager’s check for the balance of P1.25 million. Monroy, however, insisted on a cash payment which he received in his office. 

After waiting the entire day, Co was informed that the release of the vehicle was delayed because one signatory from the Department of Finance (DOF) had not yet signed the necessary documents.

On July 24, 2000, Co went back to Monroy's office, only to be informed that the signature of a DOF officer was still missing. 

She then accompanied Monroy's staff member to the DOF, where they were told that the documents were still in the office of an undersecretary. However, Monroy admitted to Co that the vehicle could no longer be released as someone ran off with the money.

Monroy issued a receipt to ensure the return of Co's money. Despite the complainant's repeated demands, Monroy continued to avoid returning the money.

This prompted Co to file the instant administrative case for disbarment and two criminal charges against Monroy. One for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and another one for estafa under the Revised Penal Code. 

The Sandiganbayan convicted Monroy of both criminal charges, but he remained at large despite the arrest warrant issued by the court.

In disbarring Monroy for violating the CPRA, the SC emphasized that “membership in the Bar is a privilege burdened with continuing requirements.”

“As such, the Court may suspend or even withdraw one’s practice of law once it is shown that the lawyer was not able to sustain the high degree of good moral character expected by the community from the members of the legal profession,” the high court’s press release read. 

“Monroy was found to have committed a flagrant violation of Sections 1, 2, and 28 of Canon II of the CPRA when he deceived the complainant through an elaborate scheme of pretending to sell a Land Cruiser confiscated by the BOC,” it added.

The estafa conviction from the anti-graft court, meanwhile, is also a sufficient ground for disbarment, according to the SC. 

“Monroy used his position as a BOC Director to make it appear that the transaction was legitimate by falsely representing to complainant that his position in the BOC had the specific authority to sell vehicles seized by the agency,” the high court’s press release read. 

vuukle comment






  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with