Supreme Court disbars lawyer for stealing his brother’s identity

Supreme Court disbars lawyer for stealing his brother’s identity

- Richard Caronan, who was admitted to the Bar as 'Atty. Patrick A. Caronan', was disbarred by the Supreme Court for stealing his brother’s name and identity

- The fake lawyer, after committing fraud, further violated the law for his involvement in gun-running activities, illegal possession of explosives, and violation of the Bouncing Checks Law

- The Supreme Court pointed out that Richard exhibited dishonesty and moral unfitness to be a member of the Bar by assuming his brother’s name and for bringing adversities to his brother’s life

The Supreme Court ordered that the name 'Patrick A. Caronon with Roll of Attorneys No. 49069' be removed in the Roll of Attorneys, through a per curiam decision in Administrative Case No. 11316 which was promulgated last July 12, 2016, after Richard A. Caronan stole the identity of his sibling to practice the law.

The high court further barred Richard A. Caronan, who has been admitted as a member of the Bar as 'Atty. Patrick A. Caronan'. Further, all identification cards and certificates issued by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) to Richard Caronan under the name 'Atty. Patrick A. Caronan' are nullified by the high court.

Moreover, the Office of the Court Administrator was ordered to publicize Richard Caronan’s photograph to warn all the courts in the Philippines of his fake identity as 'Atty. Patrick A. Caronan'.

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The high court stated, “[R]espondent made a mockery of the legal profession by pretending to have the necessary qualifications to be a lawyer. He also tarnished the image of lawyers with his alleged unscrupulous activities, which resulted in the filing of several criminal cases against him. Certainly, respondent and his acts do not have a place in the legal profession where one of the primary duties of its members is to uphold its integrity and dignity.

Supreme Court disbars lawyer for stealing his brother’s identity
Supreme Court

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The real Patrick Caronan is the younger brother of Richard Caronan. In 2013, the Commission on Bar Discipline of the IBP received a complaint from Patrick Caronan against his brother after he resigned from his work because of the consequences of his brother’s doing.

The real Patrick Caronan was a degree holder of Business Administration from the University of Makati (UM) while his brother Richard studied at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) and was later transferred to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA). Richard Caronan was discharged from PMA after a year to help in their car rental business. He never went back to school and moved to Nueva Vizcaya with his wife and three children in 1997.

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Richard Caronan informed his brother two years after that he was enrolled at a law school in Nueva Vizcaya. In 2004, Patrick was informed by his mother that his brother passed the Bar examination. He was further informed that Patrick used his name and college records to enroll at St. Mary’s University College of Law.

Supreme Court disbars lawyer for stealing his brother’s identity
National Bureau of Investigation

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When the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) asked Patrick’s office for his participation in an investigation against 'Atty. Patrick A. Caronan' for committing qualified theft and estafa, Patrick was forced to resign which drove him to file a complaint against his own brother.

The fake lawyer was also arrested for gun-running activities, illegal possessions of explosives, and violation of the Bouncing Checks Law.

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All allegations were denied by Richard who strongly argued that an earlier administrative case, AC No. 10074, resolved and closed the issue on his identity. However, Patrick was able to clearly establish before the high court that he is the real 'Patrick A. Caronan.'

It was further pointed out by the IBP that Richard does not have a pre-law degree because of his non-completion of his undergraduate bachelor’s degree.

“Good moral character is essential in those who would be lawyers. This is imperative in the nature of the office of a lawyer, the trust relation which exists between him and his client, as well as between him and the court,” emphasized the court.

Richard’s actions and behavior were held by the high court as dishonest and a display of moral unfitness to be a member of the Bar.-NB, Kami Media

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