TWO lawyers of late businessman Benedict Gochangco are facing disbarment before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for grave misconduct, misuse of rules, misuse of the law (Republic Act 9262) and violation of their Oath and Code of Professional Responsibility of Lawyers.

The case was filed by the former common-law wife of Gochangco, Ma. Lita Fe Landazabal, against Bacolod-based lawyers Maphilindo Polvora and Michelle Abella.

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The disbarment case based on the documents obtained by Sun.Star-Bacolod, stemmed when the late businessman filed cases of "qualified theft" and "attempted murder" against her, which she said maliciously fabricated.

The complainant further stated that the late businessman staged an ambush on himself on August 18, 2009 and pointed her as the mastermind.

Meanwhile, Polvora said he has not yet received the official copy of the complaint against them.

He said he was only informed by some friends about the case, adding that since the name of the client was mentioned, he already supposed that it has something to do with the case of Gochangco.

Polvora said Landazabal filed a petition for protection order and support at the RTC 51 and the court's decision was adverse to them, the reason they appealed to the Court of Appeals. The case right now is pending before the said court, he said.

Polvora added that the disbarment case could be a retaliation of Landazabal against them being Gochangco's lawyers because during Gochangco's lifetime, they had protected his interest as lawyer-client relationship.

Gochangco was shot and died inside the house of his father on March 30, 2010.

Polvora also said that although he still has to see the complaint, the disbarment has no basis because they only exercise their profession as lawyers and they don't betray their fellowmen, especially their clients, and that he never allowed himself to be used by any client.

"I only discharge my function as a lawyer in good faith and in accordance with the law because there are also remedies that could also be exhausted under the law," he said.

Polvora said he will immediately answer the case once he formally receives the information. "I'm sure it won't hold water and will be dismissed."

The complainant said she suffered to be away from her three- month-old baby with Gochangco when she was incarcerated in Handumanan Jail because of those cases.

On January 22, 2010, Assistant City prosecutor Dennis Jarder dismissed the complaints and filed for the withdrawal of information after re-investigation on the ground that Gochangco was unable to prove the robbery and theft.

The complainant was released from Handumanan Jail on February 11, 2010. On January 13, 2010, An Ex Parte Temporary Protection Order (TPO) was issued by Hon. Judge Anita Chua of RTC Branch 51 of Bacolod City.

The complainant further stated that the disbarment case aided Gochangco in violating the temporary order by refusing to deliver Support Pendente Lite.

She said the respondents violated their lawyer's oath for filing baseless suits against her and they also aided and tolerated their client in violating a lawful order of the court and misused their knowledge of law and their profession. (Teresa Ellera-Dulla)