For immorality: Supreme Court disbars Mandaue lawyer
Mylen P. Manto (The Freeman) - July 20, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Supreme Court has disbarred from the practice of law a former legal officer of Mandaue City after he was found guilty of immorality.

Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin ordered that the name of Atty. Eliseo B. Ceniza, Jr. be stricken off from the Roll of Attorneys. The high tribunal found him guilty of gross immorality in violation of Rule 1.01 and Rule 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility after he abandoned his family to elope with a married woman.

"By his scandalous and highly immoral conduct, therefore, the respondent showed that he did not possess the requisite good moral character needed for the continued practice of law. He deserves the extreme penalty of disbarment," the SC decision reads.

Amalia Ceniza, in her complaint, alleged that her husband left their home in 2008 while she was on a business trip in General Santos City. He took their car with him and personal belongings.

Amalia, who has been married to the respondent since 1989, said she learned about her husband’s illicit affair after she went to Mandaue City Hall after returning from her business trip to look for the respondent.

Amalia said she verified the information and found out to be true. The respondent then sought for the declaration of nullity of their marriage alleging that his wife was suffering from psychological incapacity.

The lawyer allegedly tried to negotiate with his wife to agree to the annulment but the latter refused. Instead, Amalia filed a complaint against her husband before the Office of the Ombudsman and the office of then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The president forwarded the complaint to the Office of the Bar Confidant, hence, the disbarment.

The respondent denied having an illicit affair with a married woman. He claimed that the person alluded to as his paramour was just a business partner. He denied living together with another woman after he left his family. According to him, he went home to his parents because of his wife’s unbearable behavior.

However, the high tribunal gave credence to the testimony of the complaint.

"His leaving his wife and family to cohabit with his married mistress definitely transgressed the clearly-defined bounds of decency and morality. His transgression inflicted on his wife and children a lot of suffering, including depression, as borne out by one child's attempt at suicide out of despair for what he had caused to their family. These circumstances were more than sufficient to establish the charge of gross immorality," the decision reads. —   FPL (FREEMAN)

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