SC clears woman lawyer sued by American citizen

MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) has exonerated a lady lawyer sued by an American national for reporting him to several agencies including the Bureau of Immigration (BI) over a row with his doctor, the lawyer’s client.

In an eight-page resolution dated Oct. 11, the SC’s Second Division dismissed the administrative complaint filed against lawyer Jeanie S. Pulido by American Robert G. Briant.

The dispute started after Dr. Minda Luz Manas sought legal advice from Pulido over a complaint filed by Briant who accused the physician of wrongdoing of twice subjecting him to undergo a medical examination when he sought a refill of his prescription for the sedative Valium.

In May 2013, Briant had shown Manas letters from his doctors in the United States that he needed a refill of the prescription but was informed by Manas that she must first evaluate him because Valium is a regulated drug. After the evaluation, Manas wrote out a prescription for Valium good for 30 days.

The following month, Briant sought another refill of Valium and was told again that an evaluation is needed before a prescription would be given. After the evaluation, and the refilled prescription was given, and was also given a medical abstract of his condition by Manas.

A month later, Briant talked to the clinic’s manager demanding a refund, including money he paid to get a second opinion from another doctor.

Briant was ignored, prompting him to lodge a formal complaint in July 2013 against Manas before the Philippine Psychiatric Association and sought a reimbursement of fees he paid amounting to PHP12,000. Aside from the complaint, Briant also sent an email to a Makati hospital where the doctor also had a clinic, demanding he is paid the sum.

In June 2014, the PPA absolved the physician of improper and unethical behavior.

Briant then threatened to file a complaint against Manas before the Philippine Regulatory Commission (PRC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

In reply, Pulido sent a letter to Briant asking him to cease his acts and informed him that Manas “would not hesitate to file a case” before the BI and have him declared as an undesirable alien for “clearly” not conducting “yourself in a manner befitting a tourist or an immigrant to the Philippines.”

Pulido furnished copies of the letter and also notified Immigration to apprise the agency of the tourist’s disrespectful behavior and harassment towards Manas.

Briant then initiated a complaint against the lawyer before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) but failed to attend the hearing set by the body which eventually recommended the dropping of the administrative charges.

“We carefully examined the subject letter and found that Atty. Pulido’s language, tone, and choice of words were not defamatory, injurious, or derogatory of one’s character,” the SC commented.

It added that Pulido merely narrated the series of interactions and informed Briant of her client’s action and recourse in case he persists in his act. (PNA)

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