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Republic of the Philippines OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN Cebu City

MITCH M. MCDEERE Complainant,

-versus-

BENDINI, LAMBERT & LOCKE Respondent. x

x

Case No. 118

COMPLAINT-AFFIDAVIT AGAINST BENDINI, LAMBERT & LOCKE FOR VIOLATION ON THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

I, Mitch M. McDeere, of legal age, Filipino and a resident of Lahug, Cebu City, hereby depose and state:

That I am employed as a Junior Associate for Bendini, Lambert & Locke.

That on 25 February 2019, I started my employment at Bendini, Lambert & Locke, a tax and accounting firm based in Mandaue City, Cebu.

That on 27 February 2019, two of the firm’s associates, Mr. Wayne Garber and Mr. Damian Lillard, were involved in a boat explosion incident which resulted to their instantaneous death in Olango Island , Lapu-Lapu City. The reason for the incident was unknown.

That on the night of the incident, I was tasked by Mr. Avery Talor, one of the firm’s leading tax lawyer, to act in lieu of the deceased lawyers for an appointment with Mr. Holden Cabusas, owner of the DC Motors, whose tax and accounting concerns is represented by Bendini, Lambert & Locke.

That on the same night, while working on such assignment in a local coffee shop located in Banilad, Cebu City, I was indirectly approached by two men whom I believed were agents of the National Bureau of Investigation.

That while chatting with the said two agents casually, they suddenly brought up the incident involving two of our lawyers in Olango Island, Lapu-Lapu City. Subsequently, in an implicit manner, the two agents stated the fact that in less than 10 years, four lawyers of the firm ended up dead for no concrete reason.

That on the following day, 28 February 2019, Mr. Talor and I traveled to Olango Island for the appointment with Mr. Cabusas. After such, we both proceeded to our respective resort houses. An hour later, I was requested by Mr. Talor to proceed to his resort house before going on a night out.

That upon entering Mr. Talor’s resort house, I then proceeded to the kitchen to grab some drinks while Mr. Talor was busy preparing. Incidentally, when requested by Mr. Talor to get bourbon from one of the kitchen’s locked storage, I opened the wrong storage room, then and there I discovered boxes containing the legal works of the deceased lawyers. As I perused such boxes, I found out about the illegal and unethical operation of the firm and its association with the Moroltos, a drug and crime syndicate in Cebu.

That upon discovery of such conspiracy within the firm, I decided to consult with my brother, Ray Mcdeere, who is imprisoned in Cebu City Jail for manslaughter. My brother recommended to ask the assistance of a retired police officer and former cellmate, Mr. Josh Briones.

That the day after, I went to the office of Mr. Briones and asked him to investigate the firm’s illicit transaction. He accepted such request and proceeded with the investigation. However, on the same day, Mr. Briones was found dead in his office. The cause of death was a fatal gunshot in the head. According to a witness, two men were found leaving the office after such incident.

That on 2 March 2019, I attended a tax law seminar in Crown Regency Hotel, Cebu City. Thru a news clipping attached in the seminar handbook by Mr. Michael Bay , the NBI agent I recently encountered, I found out about the death of Mr. Briones. After the seminar, I was given proper instructions by Mr. Bay to meet him outside the hotel where we could talk privately. During such talk with Mr. Bay and Mr. Bruce Willis, an officer from the Department of Justice, I was informed about the four-year investigation they have been conducting on the firm regarding its association with the most wanted drug and crime syndicate in Cebu, the Moraltos. The government officers further

stated that much of the profit the firm is receiving is from money laundering, drug smuggling, and its ties to the said mob. Consequently, they asked for my assistance to help indict the firm on counts of money laundering, murder, and falsified financial documents.

That after such discovery, I decided to investigate on my own with the use of confidential office documents and such unlawful acts of the firm was confirmed by my investigation.

That upon realizing that I cannot assist the government in their operation to implicate the firm without breaking my oath to uphold my position with the highest of standards and maintain the confidentiality of the attorney-client privileges, I decided to find another lawful way to assist the DOJ and the NBI in finding a substantial evidence to indict the firm without the threat of disbarment.

That through investigation within and outside the firm, I discovered that the firm falsified invoices to clients to launder the money of the Moroltos by overbilling the employees and the clients, which is a felony contemplated by our laws as mail fraud. This will be proved by the works of Mr. Garber and Mr. Lillard on the bank statements and tax accounts of the Moroltos and the affidavits of the clients affirming the overbilling.

That by these acts, I am charging Bendini, Lambert & Locke for violation of Rule 1.01 under Canon 1 and Rule 2.3 under Canon 2 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and of the Lawyer’s Oath. AFFIANT FURTHER SAYETH NAUGHT.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this 9 th day of March 2019, in Cebu City.

MITCH M. MCDEERE

Complainant/Affiant

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO before me, this 9 th day of March 2019 in Cebu City, Philippines. I hereby certify that I have personally examined the herein affiant and that I am satisfied that he voluntarily executed and understood his statements herein.

HON. RENATO T. VERSOZA

Ombudsman for the Visayas

VERIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION OF NON-FORUM SHOPPING

I, MITCH M. MCDEERE, of legal age, after having been duly sworn in accordance with law, depose and state that:

1. I am a complainant in the above-stated case;

2. I caused the preparation of the foregoing complaint;

3. I have read the contents thereof and the facts stated therein are true

and correct of my personal knowledge and/or on the basis of copies of documents and records in my possession;

4. I have not commenced any other action or proceeding involving the

same issues in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency;

5. To the best of my knowledge and belief, no such action or proceeding is pending in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency;

6. If I should thereafter learn that a similar action or proceeding has

been filed or is pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency, I undertake to report that fact within five (5) days therefrom to this Honorable Court.

MITCH M. MCDEERE

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this 9 th day of March, 2019 at Cebu City affiant exhibiting to me his Community Tax Certificate No. 435367 issued on March 2019 at Cebu City.

Doc. No. ; Page No. ; Book No. ; Series of 2019.