The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the guilty verdict slapped on celebrity doctor Joel Mendez over his non-remittance of the Social Security System (SSS) contributions of his 40 employees amounting to P1,865,667.
The appellate court junked Mendez’s attempt to lay the blame on the alleged incompetence of his lawyer in backing a 2016 decision of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QC-RTC) of ordering his incarceration for up to seven years.
The lower court had also ordered Mendez to pay SSS a total of P1,865,657.50 representing unpaid contributions from October 2011 to January 2013 with an interest of 3 percent per month from July 2015 until full payment. He was also slapped a P15,000 fine.
Associate Justice Edwin Sorongon of the CA’s Special Eighth Division penned the six-page decision that upheld QC-RTC Judge Rosanna Fe Romero’s verdict that the physician violated the Social Security Act of 1997.
Mendez had sought a temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction from the CA against the lower court’s ruling. He may file a motion for reconsideration or appeal to the Supreme Court.
The CA did not give credence to Mendez’s claim that he was a victim of “extrinsic fraud” arising from the negligence and incompetence of the lawyer, Marc Perez, who represented him before the QC-RTC.
Mendez averred before the CA that his lawyer failed to inform him about the hearings set by the lower court and also that his presence in the said proceedings was required.
The lawyer also failed to protect him when the QC-RTC declared him to have waived his right to present evidence, Mendez said in his appeal.
While a motion for reconsideration was filed before the lower court, Mendez said this was not set for a hearing which consequently made the trial court’s ruling final and executory.
The CA said the reasons cited by Mendez did not constitute “extrinsic fraud.”
The appellate court explained that extrinsic fraud refers to “fraudulent act committed outside of the trial of the case, whereby the defeated party is prevented from fully exhibiting his side of the case by fraud or deception practiced on him by his opponent.”