Charges of estafa were filed in court against a Cebuano lawyer accused of preparing a bogus court decision for an annulment of marriage.
The Cebu City Prosecutors’ Office said it found probable cause to indict lawyer Luis Diores Jr. based on the complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7). Bail was recommended at P24,000.
In his resolution, Asst. City Prosecutor Rodulf Joseph Val Carillo said Diores was given a chance to submit his counter-affidavit to refute the allegations. However, the lawyer failed to do so.
Other than estafa, the prosecutor also found probable cause to file charges of falsification of public document against Diores.
Only the estafa case was filed before the Regional Trial Court in Cebu City so far.
In 2008, Aileen Colina Bell said she consulted Diores about a case she would file to annul her marriage to her German husband.
Bell, a resident of Mandaue City, said Diores accepted the case for a fee of P60,000.
She said Diores asked for a P40,000 downpayment and promised her a court decision in one week.
When she returned with the P20,000 balance in Nov. 11, 2008, Bell said she was given a photocopy of a court decision purportedly issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Olegario Sarmiento Jr., who presides over Branch 24. The court was designated to hear family cases.
Bell said she tried to have the document authenticated in court two years later and was “shocked to learn” that the court order was fake.
The NBI-7 said it also learned of other fake court decisions that bore the names of at least two Cebu RTC judges on the annulment of marriage.
The discovery was made after the National Statistics Office (NSO) noticed a typographical error in one document and went to Judge Sarmiento’s court to verify it.
This prompted the Local Civil Registrar in Cebu City to ask for specimen signatures of all 22 RTC judges in Cebu.
Diores, executive vice president of Pacific Lenders Inc., is facing a string of court cases in Cebu City on charges of estafa and violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 or the Anti-Bouncing Check Law.
In April 2010, he was convicted of estafa by RTC Judge Veloso of Branch 6 for swindling a couple who paid him P1.65 million.
He didn’t show up when the decision was promulgated. He was sentenced to four years to 20 years in prison. Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol