Supreme Court disbars ex-BOC exec for ‘sale’ of seized car

Nillicent Bautista - The Philippine Star
Supreme Court disbars ex-BOC exec for �sale� of seized car
This file photo shows the Supreme Court of the Philippines in Manila.
Philstar.com / EC Toledo

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has disbarred a lawyer who used his position as a former director of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to pretend to sell vehicles seized by the agency.

In a statement released yesterday, the SC disbarred Jorge Monroy and slapped him with a P20,000 fine for violating the code of professional conduct for lawyers.

According to the SC, Monroy falsely claimed that he was authorized to sell vehicles confiscated by the BOC as director III of the bureau’s financial services.

The case stemmed from Monroy’s offer to sell a Toyota Land Cruiser seized by the BOC to complainant Julieta Co for P1.4 million in July 2020.

Monroy, who was a trusted family friend of the complainant, assured her that the transaction was legal and that official receipts would be issued.

On July 18, 2020, the complainant gave Monroy a check amounting to P150,000 as an initial payment.

Three days later, she prepared a check for P1.25 million after Monroy said the vehicle was ready for delivery.

Monroy, however, insisted on cash payment, which he received in his office on the same day.

However, after receiving the payment, Monroy said the vehicle could not yet be released as he was still awaiting the signature of an official from the Department of Finance.

Three days later, the complainant returned to Monroy’s office, but she was told that the signature was still lacking.

Monroy later admitted to the complainant that the vehicle could no longer be released as someone had run off with the money. He also issued a receipt to guarantee the complainant that her money would be returned.

However, despite her repeated demands, the complainant claimed that Monroy kept avoiding her. This prompted her to file an administrative case for disbarment and two criminal cases for graft and estafa.

Convicted of graft, estafa

Monroy was found guilty of both criminal charges by the Sandiganbayan. An arrest warrant against him was also issued, but he remains at large.

In disbarring Monroy, the SC said Monroy committed a flagrant violation of Canon II, Sections 1, 2, and 28 of the lawyer’s code when he deceived the complainant in his “elaborate scheme” of pretending to sell a vehicle seized by the BOC.

The SC also pointed out that the totality of the evidence presented proved that “Monroy miserably failed to live up to the high moral standards required of members of the legal profession.”

“His lack of remorse when the complainant repeatedly begged him to return her money, and his futile attempt to use an unknown employee of the BOC as a scapegoat all demonstrate his unfitness to continue in the practice of law,” the SC said.

The court also affirmed the P20,000 penalty imposed on him by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines due to his willful disregard and refusal to comply when the IBP required him to answer the mandatory conferences regarding his disbarment case.

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