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[ A.C. No. 12537, September 03, 2020 ]
Leolenie R. Capinpin filed a complaint[1] for disbarment against Atty. Rio T. Espiritu for
using and taking advantage of his legal knowledge to achieve his malicious, evil and
unlawful purpose. Capinpin narrated that Atty. Espiritu served as her legal adviser and
retained counsel. Sometime in 1993, Capinpin approached Atty. Espiritu with regard to
a mortgage she obtained from Banco de Oro (BDO), Cubao Branch.[2] Allegedly, Atty.
Espiritu advised Capinpin to execute a Deed of Sale in his favor, so that the former can
transact directly with BDO. At the same time, Capinpin gave Atty. Espiritu P200,000.00
to settle her indebtedness to BDO.
At one point, she went with Atty. Espiritu to BDO to settle her account. However, Atty.
Espiritu left her in the car to wait. Upon his return, Atty. Espiritu told Capinpin that the
bank refused to receive payment, and that a case was already filed in court.[3] Later
on, Atty. Espiritu made Capinpin execute a Special Power of Attorney as she will be
leaving for Germany. While Capinpin was in Germany, she entrusted to Atty. Espiritu
her Toyota Lite Ace, which she was selling.
In January 1994, Capinpin arrived in the Philippines and found out that Atty. Espiritu
was able to transfer the land and vehicle in his name.[4] Capinpin talked to Atty.
Espiritu, who promised to return her properties, but this promise was not heeded. After
a long time, it was only on February 8, 2014, that Capinpin and Atty. Espiritu's paths
crossed at Seahorse Hotel, Pollilo, Quezon. When Capinpin approached Atty. Espiritu,
the latter dismissed her saying, "ayaw kong pag-usapan ang bagay na nangyari 20
years ago."[5]
Finally, Capinpin averred that the foregoing acts of Atty. Espiritu merit his disbarment
for "unlawfully, maliciously, wittingly, and wilfully employing tactics, schemes and
methods which are not in accord with the standards of the legal profession."[6]
For his part, Atty. Espiritu countered that Capinpin's complaint is malicious and full of
perjured statements.[7] He denied receiving money from Capinpin, as well as, serving
as her legal counsel since he was a lawyer of the Quezon City District Office of the
Public Attorney's Office (PAO-QC) from 1990 to 1994.[8] He only accompanied Capinpin
to BDO-Cubao Branch, sometime in 1992-1993, as a favor when she visited him at


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