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#1.

Eustaquio v. Rimorin
AC No. 5081, Mar 24, 2003

Facts: On June 17, 1999, complainants Emiliana Eustaquio, Piorillo Rubis, and Alicia Rubis, filed a complaint against Atty. Rex Rimorin in the SC. He was charged with grave misconduct for allegedly falsifying certain documents which enabled him to sell complainants land without their knowledge and consent.

It was revealed that on June 22, 1991, while complainants Piorillo and Alicia Rubis were both in the US, respondent Rimorin executed a Special Power of attorney purportedly notarized, with the Rubis spouses present and appearing on same date before Notary Public Fallarme of Baguio city. Using this spurious SPA, respondent subsequently executed a Deed of Absolute Sale over the same property in favor of Mr. and Mrs. So Hu of Baguio City. The execution of this deed of sale resulted in the issuance of TCT over the land in favor of the So Hu spouses.

The Court referred the case with the IBP for investigation, report and recommendation. Because of respondents failure to file his answer, the Commission resolved to declare respondent to have waived his right to file an answer and the case was deemed submitted for resolution. Hearings were conducted and on Nov. 13, 2001, the Investigating Commissioner found respondent Atty. Rimorin guilty of grave misconduct and recommended his disbarment.

The Board of Governors of the IBP passed a resolution resolving and adopting the report and recommendation of the Investigation officer with modification that respondent be suspended instead of disbarred.

ISSUE: WON respondent be subjected to suspension or disbarment.

HELD:

Time and again, we have stressed the settled principle that the practice of law is not a right but a privilege bestowed by the State on those who show that they possess, and continue to possess, the qualifications required by law for the conferment of such privilege.19 Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. A high sense of morality, honesty, and fair dealing is expected and required of a member of the bar. Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that, "A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct."20 The nature of the office of a lawyer requires that he shall be of good moral character. This qualification is not only a condition precedent to the admission to the legal profession, but its continued possession is essential to maintain ones good standing in the profession.21 A lawyer can be deprived of his license for misconduct ascertained and declared by judgment of the Court after giving him the opportunity to be heard.22 Respondents deceitful conduct makes him less than worthy of his continued practice of law. A lawyer is expected at all times to uphold the integrity of the legal profession.26 Commission of grossly immoral conduct and deceit are grounds for suspension or disbarment of lawyers.27 Whenever it is made to appear to the Supreme Court that an attorney is no longer worthy of the trust and confidence of the public, it becomes not only the right but the duty of the Court which made him one of its officers and gave him the privilege of ministering within its bar to withdraw the privilege.28 WHEREFORE, Atty. Rex C. Rimorin is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for five (5) years. His commission as Notary Public is revoked, and he is perpetually disqualified from appointment as Notary Public.

#2.

COJUANGCO v PALMA
September 15, 2004

Adm. Case No. 2474

Facts: Complainant Cojuangco was a client of Angara Concepcion Regala and Cruz Law Offices and Palma was the lawyer assigned to handle his cases. Palma's relationship with the Cojuangcos became intimate. He frequented the is house and even tutored Cojuangco's 22-year old daughter Maria Luis Cojuangco. Without the knowledge of complainant Cojuangco's family, Palma married Lisa in Hongkong. It was only the next day that Palma informed complainant of such fact. Complainant was shocked, knowing fully well that Palma is a married man and has 3 children. Complainant filed with CFI a petition for declaration of nullity of the marriage between respondent Palma and Lisa. CFI delared that marriage null and void. Thereafter, Cojuangco filed with the SC the instant complaint for disbarment. Meanwhile, the first division of SC issued a resolution setting aside the CFI Decision declaring the marriage null and void

and remanding the case to the CFI for proper proceeding. To this date, the records fail to disclose the outcome of this case. Issue:W/n Palma should be disbarred... Held: YES. There is no distinction as to whether the transgression is committed in the lawyer's professional capacity or in his privatelife. Professional competency alone does not make a lawyer worthy member of the Bar. Good moral character is alwaysan indispensabel requirement. The truth is respondent married Lisa while he has a subsisting marriage with Elizabeth Herosisima. Therefore he exhibiteda deplorable lack of that degree of morality required of him as a member of the bar. Respondent's culpability isaggravated by the fact that Lisa was just 22 years old and was under psychological treatment for emotional immaturity. The subsequent judgment of annullment of marriage has no bearing to the instant disbarment proceeding. A disbarmentcase is sui generis for it is an investigation by the court into the conduct of its officers.

COJUANGCO v PALMA
Adm. Case No. 2474 September 15, 2004

"The practice of law is a privilege accorded only to those who measure up to certain rigid standards of mental and moral fitness. For the admission of a candidate to the bar, the Rules of Court not only prescribe a test of academic preparation but require satisfactory testimonials of good moral character. These standards are neither dispensed with nor lowered after admission: the lawyer must continue to adhere to them or else incur the risk of suspension or removal."1 Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr. filed with this Court the instant complaint for disbarment against Atty. Leo J. Palma, alleging as grounds "deceit, malpractice, gross misconduct in office, violation of his oath as a lawyer and grossly immoral conduct."
FACTS:

Complainant and respondent met sometime in the 70s. Complainant was a client of Angara Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRA) and respondent was the lawyer assigned to handle his cases. Owing to his growing business concerns, complainant decided to hire respondent as his personal counsel. On June 22, 1982, without the knowledge of complainants family, respondent married Lisa in Hongkong. It was only the next day that respondent informed complainant and assured him that "everything is legal." Complainant was shocked, knowing fully well that respondent is a married man and has three children. Upon investigation, complainant found that respondent courted Lisa

during their tutoring sessions. Immediately, complainant sent his two sons to Hongkong to convince Lisa to go home to Manila and discuss the matter with the family. Lisa was persuaded. Complainant also came to know that: (a) on the date of the supposed marriage, respondent requested from his (complainants) office an airplane ticket to and from Australia, with stop-over in Hong Kong; (b) respondent misrepresented himself as "bachelor" before the Hong Kong authorities to facilitate his marriage with Lisa; and (c) respondent was married to Elizabeth Hermosisima and has three children, namely: Eugene Philippe, Elias Anton and Eduardo Lorenzo. Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr. filed with this Court the instant complaint for disbarment against Atty. Leo J. Palma, alleging as grounds "deceit, malpractice, gross misconduct in office, violation of his oath as a lawyer and grossly immoral conduct." On March 20, 2003, Investigating Commissioner Milagros V. San Juan submitted a Report and Recommendation finding respondent guilty of grossly immoral conduct and violation of his oath as a lawyer. She recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of three (3) years.
The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the above Report and Recommendation, but it reduced respondents penalty to only one (1) year suspension ISSUE: WON respondent Atty. Palma should be disbarred HELD:

At the outset, it must be stressed that the law profession does not prescribe a dichotomy of standards among its members. There is no distinction as to whether the transgression is committed in the lawyers professional capacity or in his private life. This is because a lawyer may not divide his personality so as to be an attorney at one time and a mere citizen at another.17 Thus, not only his professional activities but even his private life, insofar as the latter may reflect unfavorably upon the good name and prestige of the profession and the courts, may at any time be the subject of inquiry on the part of the proper authorities.18

The ringing truth in this case is that respondent married Lisa while he has a subsisting marriage with Elizabeth Hermosisima. The Certification20 from the Local Civil Registrar of Cebu City shows that he married Elizabeth on December 19, 1971 at Cardials Private Chapel, Cebu City. On the other hand, the Certificate of Marriage21 from the Deputy Registrar of Marriages, Hong Kong, proves respondents subsequent marriage with Lisa on July 9, 1982. That Elizabeth was alive at the time of respondents second marriage was confirmed on the witness stand by Atty. Victor P. Lazatin, Elizabeths classmate and family friend.22

Undoubtedly, respondents act constitutes grossly immoral conduct, a ground for disbarment under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court. He exhibited a deplorable lack of that degree of morality required of him as a member of the Bar. In particular, he made a mockery of marriage which is a sacred institution demanding respect and dignity. His act of contracting a second marriage is contrary to honesty, justice, decency and morality.

This is not the first occasion that we censure immorality. Thus, we have somehow come up with a common definition of what constitutes immoral conduct, i.e., "that conduct which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and which shows a moral indifference to the opinion of the good and respectable members of the community."24 Measured against this definition, respondents act is manifestly immoral. First, he abandoned his lawful wife and three children. Second, he lured an innocent young woman into marrying him. And third, he misrepresented himself as a "bachelor" so he could contract marriage in a foreign land.
The circumstances here speak of a clear case of betrayal of trust and abuse of confidence. It was respondents closeness to the complainants family as well as the latters complete trust in him that made possible his intimate relationship with Lisa. When his concern was supposed to be complainants legal affairs only, he sneaked at the latters back and courted his daughter. Like the proverbial thief in the night, he attacked when nobody was looking. Moreover, he availed of complainants resources by securing a plane ticket from complainants office in order to marry the latters daughter in Hongkong. He did this without complainants knowledge. Afterwards, he even had the temerity to assure complainant that "everything is legal." Clearly, respondent had crossed the limits of propriety and decency.

Anent respondents argument that since the validity of his marriage to Lisa has not yet been determined by the court with finality, the same poses a prejudicial question to the present disbarment proceeding. Suffice it to say that a subsequent judgment of annulment of marriage has no bearing to the instant disbarment proceeding. As we held in In re Almacen,33 a disbarment case is sui generis for it is neither purely civil nor purely criminal but is rather an investigation by the court into the conduct of its officers. Thus, if the acquittal of a lawyer in a criminal action is not determinative of an administrative case against him,34 or if an affidavit of withdrawal of a disbarment case does not affect its course,35 then the judgment of annulment of respondents marriage does not also exonerate him from a wrongdoing actually committed. So long as the quantum of proof --- clear preponderance of evidence --- in disciplinary proceedings against members of the bar is met, then liability attaches.36 The interdict upon lawyers, as inscribed in Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, is that they "shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct." This is founded on the lawyers primordial duty to society as spelled out in Canon 1 which states: "CANON 1 A lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes." Corollarily, the above responsibility is enshrined in the Attorneys Oath which every lawyer in the country has to take before he is allowed to practice.

In sum, respondent committed grossly immoral conduct and violation of his oath as a lawyer. The penalty of one (1) year suspension recommended by the IBP is not commensurate to the gravity of his offense. The bulk of jurisprudence supports the imposition of the extreme penalty of disbarment. WHEREFORE, respondent Leo J. Palma is found GUILTY of grossly immoral conduct and violation of his oath as a lawyer, and is hereby DISBARRED from the practice of law.

#3.

EDERLINDA K MANZANO VS. ATTY. SANTIAGO C. SORIANO


The law profession is not a trade or a business venture.[1] The practice of lawand membership in the bar for that matteris a high personal privilege burdened with conditions[2] and is limited to citizens who show and continue to show the qualifications and character traits required by law for the conferment of such privilege.[3]In accordance, therefore, with its constitutional mandate to regulate the legal profession and its authority to discipline its erring members, it behooves the Court to keep an ever watchful eye on, among others, unscrupulous lawyers with a penchant for hoodwinking, at every turn, their trusting clients; and, in general, on those whose misconduct tends to blemish the purity of the legal profession. And if need be, the Court shall remove from the ranks those unable to adhere to the rigid standards of morality and integrity required by the ethics of the legal profession. So it must be in this disciplinary proceeding.

FACTS:
In a verified complaint for disbarment dated March 23, 2006, with enclosures, filed with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), complainant Ederlinda K. Manzano charged respondent Atty. Santiago C. Soriano with dishonesty (misappropriation) and misrepresentation and/or usurping the authority of a notary public. The case was docketed as Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) Case No. 06-1702. According to complainant, she engaged respondents services to commence and pursue collection cases from individuals dealing with her construction supply/hardware business. As part of the agreement, respondent was allowed the free use of an office space in the Manzano Complex building in Nabua, Camarines Sur. After a time, complainant noticed that not a single successful collection was ever made, albeit respondent kept on asking for money to cover incidental expenses. Later on, complainant discovered that respondent had succeeded in convincing one of her debtors, Abelino G. Barela, to sell to him, for PhP 65,000, a piece of land and the house standing on it. The condition of the sale was that, out of the proceeds, respondent should deliver PhP 50,000 personally to complainant to Hilly cover Barelas indebtedness. As complainant would later claim, the PhP 50,000 was never turned over to her.

In the light of this unsettling development, complainant severed her client-attorney relationship with respondent and evicted him from his office-space at the Manzano Complex. She, together with Barela, later charged respondent with estafa. Complainant also allegedly discovered further that respondent had for a time been acting as a notary public for and in the province of Camarines Sur without the necessary notarial commission. In his Report and Recommendation dated March 31, 2008, Investigating Commissioner Pedro A. Magpayo, Jr. found respondent guilty of grave misconduct (misappropriating the funds belonging to his client) and malpractice, and recommended his disbarment. On May 22, 2008, the IBP Board of Governors passed Resolution No. XVIII-2008-237, approving Commissioner Magpayos report and recommendation with modification insofar as the recommended penalty was concerned, that is Atty. Santiago C. Soriano is hereby SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY from the practice of law. ISSUE: WON Atty. Soriano should be disbarred.

HELD: Respondents acts immediately adverted to are reflective of his gross and wanton disregard of the Code of Professional Responsibility, more specifically its Canon 16, which provides that a lawyer shall hold in trust all money and property collected or received for or from the client. Time and again, the Court has reminded lawyers that, as an officer of the court, theirs is the duty to obey, respect, and uphold the law and legal processes by not engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral, or deceitful conduct.[7] An immoral or deceitful conduct necessarily involves moral turpitude.[8] Needless to stress, the commission of any of these unlawful acts, which amounts too to a violation of the attorneys oath, is a ground for suspension or disbarment of lawyers.[9] The Court agrees too with the other inculpatory finding of malpractice on the part of respondent consisting of exercising the powers of a notary public without having the appropriate commission. The act of notarizing without the necessary commission is not merely a simple enterprise to be trivialized. So much so that one who stamps a notarial seal and signs a document as a notary public without being so authorized may be haled to court not only for malpractice but also for falsification. xxx [Performing a notarial without such commission is a violation of the lawyer's oath to obey the laws, more specifically the Notarial Law. Then, too, by making it appear that he is duly commissioned when he is not, he is, for all intents and purposes, indulging in deliberate falsehood, which the lawyer's oath similarly proscribes.[12] x x x

A lawyer, by taking the lawyers oath, becomes a guardian of the law and an indispensable instrument for the orderly administration of justice. As such, he is expected to have a mega-dose of social conscience with the end in view of making a meaningful difference and with a little less of self-interest. A lawyer, by taking the lawyers oath, becomes a guardian of the law and an indispensable instrument for the orderly administration of justice. As such, he is expected to have a mega-dose of social conscience with the end in view of making a meaningful difference and with a little less of self-interest. As between the penalty recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors and that of the Investigating Commissioner, we find that of the latter to be more appropriate. We take this course of action, fully aware that only in a clear case of misconduct that seriously affects the standing and character of the lawyer as officer of the court and as a member of the bar will disbarment be imposed as a penalty.[15] Judging from his past actions, respondent has become a liability to the legal profession. His act of notarizing a sham deed of sale where he is named as a vendor is reprehensible. He cannot be trusted any longer with the sacred duty and responsibility to protect the interest of any prospective client and pursue the ends of justice. His continued practice of law will likely subvert justice, bring further dishonor to the bar, and lessen the respect and the trust reposed by the public in the integrity of the legal society.[16] WHEREFORE, the premises of this case considered, respondent Atty. Santiago C. Soriano is DISBARRED from the practice of law.

#4. Lawyers in government service; when allowed and not allowed to practice law.. In the case of FELIPE E. ABELLA vs. ATTY. ASTERIA E. CRUZABRA, A.C. No. 5688, June 4, 2009, the respondent was found guilty of engaging in notarial practice without the written authority from the Secretary of the Department of Justice, and was accordingly REPRIMANDED. She was warned that a repetition of the same or similar act in the future shall merit a more severe sanction. Thus:

X x x. Felipe E. Abella (complainant) filed a complaint for violation of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Section 7(b)(2) of Republic Act No. 6713[1] (RA 6713) or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees against Atty. Asteria E. Cruzabra (respondent). In his affidavit-complaint[2] dated 8 May 2002, complainant charged respondent with engaging in private practice while employed in the government service. Complainant alleged that respondent was admitted to the Philippine Bar on 30 May 1986 and was appointed as Deputy Register of Deeds of General Santos City on 11 August 1987.[3] Complainant asserted that as Deputy Register of Deeds, respondent filed a petition for commission as a notary public and was commissioned on 29 February 1988 without

obtaining prior authority from the Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ).[4] Complainant claimed that respondent has notarized some 3,000 documents.[5] Complainant pointed out that respondent only stopped notarizing documents when she was reprimanded by the Chief of the Investigation Division of the Land Registration Authority.[6] X x x. X x x. Section 7(b)(2) of RA 6713 provides: Section 7. Prohibited Acts and Transactions. - In addition to acts and omissions of public officials and employees now prescribed in the Constitution and existing laws, the following shall constitute prohibited acts and transactions of any public official and employee and are hereby declared to be unlawful: xxx (b) Outside employment and other activities related thereto. - Public officials and employees during their incumbency shall not: xxx (2) Engage in the private practice of their profession unless authorized by the Constitution or law, provided, that such practice will not conflict or tend to conflict with their official functions; or xxx Memorandum Circular No. 17[7] of the Executive Department allows government employees to engage directly in the private practice of their profession provided there is a written permission from the Department head. It provides: The authority to grant permission to any official or employee shall be granted by the head of the ministry or agency in accordance with Section 12, Rule XVIII of the Revised Civil Service Rules, which provides: Sec. 12. No officer or employee shall engage directly in any private business, vocation, or profession or be connected with any commercial, credit, agricultural, or industrial undertaking without a written permission from the head of Department; Provided, That this prohibition will be absolute in the case of those officers and employees whose duties and responsibilities require that their entire time be at the disposal of the Government: Provided, further, That if an employee is granted permission to engage in outside activities, the time so devoted outside of office hours should be fixed by the chief of the agency to the end that it will not impair in any way the efficiency of the other officer or employee: And provided, finally, That no permission is necessary in the case of investments, made by an officer or employee, which do not involve any real or apparent conflict between his private interests and public duties, or in any way influence him in the discharge of his duties, and he shall not take part in the management of the enterprise or become an officer or member of the board of directors, Subject to any additional conditions which the head of the office deems necessary in each particular case in the interest of the service, as expressed in the various issuances of the Civil Service Commission. (Boldfacing supplied) It is clear that when respondent filed her petition for commission as a notary public, she did not obtain a written permission from the Secretary of the DOJ. Respondents superior, the Register of Deeds, cannot issue any authorization because he is not the head of the Department. And even assuming that the Register of Deeds authorized her, respondent failed

to present any proof of that written permission. Respondent cannot feign ignorance or good faith because respondent filed her petition for commission as a notary public after Memorandum Circular No. 17 was issued in 1986. In Yumol, Jr. v. Ferrer Sr.,[8] we suspended a lawyer employed in the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for failing to obtain a written authority and approval with a duly approved leave of absence from the CHR. We explained: Crystal clear from the foregoing is the fact that private practice of law by CHR lawyers is not a matter of right. Although the Commission allows CHR lawyers to engage in private practice, a written request and approval thereof, with a duly approved leave of absence for that matter are indispensable. In the case at bar, the record is bereft of any such written request or duly approved leave of absence. No written authority nor approval of the practice and approved leave of absence by the CHR was ever presented by respondent. Thus, he cannot engage in private practice. As to respondents act of notarizing documents, records show that he applied for commission as notary public on 14 November 2000, before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San Fernando, Pampanga, Branch 42. This was granted by RTC Executive Judge Pedro M. Sunga, Jr., on 01 December 2000. However, the CHR authorized respondent to act as notary public only on 29 October 2001. Considering the acts of notarization are within the ambit of the term practice of law, for which a prior written request and approval by the CHR to engage into it are required, the crucial period to be considered is the approval of the CHR on 29 October 2001 and not the approval of the RTC on 04 December 2000.[9] In Muring, Jr. v. Gatcho,[10] we suspended a lawyer for having filed petitions for commission as a notary public while employed as a court attorney. We held: Atty. Gatcho should have known that as a government lawyer, he was prohibited from engaging in notarial practice, or in any form of private legal practice for that matter. Atty. Gatcho cannot now feign ignorance or good faith, as he did not seek to exculpate himself by providing an explanation for his error. Atty. Gatchos filing of the petition for commission, while not an actual engagement in the practice of law, appears as a furtive attempt to evade the prohibition.[11] Under the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, engaging in the private practice of profession, when unauthorized, is classified as a light offense punishable by reprimand.[12]

#4.

A.C. No. 5688

June 4, 2009

FELIPE E. ABELLA, vs. ATTY. ASTERIA E. CRUZABRA

Felipe E. Abella (complainant) filed a complaint for violation of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Section 7(b)(2) of Republic Act No. 67131 (RA 6713) or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees against Atty. Asteria E.

Cruzabra (respondent). In his affidavit-complaint2 dated 8 May 2002, complainant charged respondent with engaging in private practice while employed in the government service.
FACTS:

Complainant alleged that respondent was admitted to the Philippine Bar on 30 May 1986 and was appointed as Deputy Register of Deeds of General Santos City on 11 August 1987.3 Complainant asserted that as Deputy Register of Deeds, respondent filed a petition for commission as a notary public and was commissioned on 29 February 1988 without obtaining prior authority from the Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ).4 Complainant claimed that respondent has notarized some 3,000 documents.5 Complainant pointed out that respondent only stopped notarizing documents when she was reprimanded by the Chief of the Investigation Division of the Land Registration Authority.6 Complainant contended that respondent could not justify her act by pretending to be in good faith because even non-lawyers are not excused from ignorance of the law. Complainant branded as incredible respondents claim that she was merely motivated by public service in notarizing 3,000 documents. Complainant pointed out that respondent spent money to buy the Notarial Register Books and spent hours going over the documents subscribed before her, thereby prejudicing her efficiency and performance as Deputy Register of Deeds. Complainant believed that even if respondent had obtained authority from the DOJ, respondent would still be guilty of violating Section 7(b)(2) of RA 6713 because her practice as a notary public conflicts with her official functions.7
In her Comment, respondent admitted that she was a notary public from 29 February 1988 to 31 December 1989.8 Respondent stated that she was authorized by her superior, the Register of Deeds, to act as a notary public. In her Report and Recommendation (Report) dated 25 January 2005, Investigating Commissioner Lydia A. Navarro recommended to the IBP Board of Governors the dismissal of the complaint against respondent for lack of merit.

In a Resolution dated 12 March 2005, the IBP Board of Governors, in adopting and approving the Report, dismissed the case for lack of merit.
ISSUE: WON

HELD

It is clear that when respondent filed her petition for commission as a notary public, she did not obtain a written permission from the Secretary of the DOJ. Respondents superior, the Register of Deeds, cannot issue any authorization because he is not the head of the Department. And even assuming that the Register of Deeds authorized

her, respondent failed to present any proof of that written permission. Respondent cannot feign ignorance or good faith because respondent filed her petition for commission as a notary public after Memorandum Circular No. 17 was issued in 1986.

Under the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, engaging in the private practice of profession, when unauthorized, is classified as a light offense punishable by reprimand.23 Wherefore, we find Atty. Asteria E. Cruzabra guilty of engaging in notarial practice without the written authority from the Secretary of the Department of Justice, and accordingly we REPRIMAND her. She is warned that a repetition of the same or similar act in the future shall merit a more severe sanction.

#5 BUEHS VS. BACATAN FACTS:

A.C. No. 6674

June 30, 2009

Complainant Buehs instituted this disbarment when respondent represented Alvarez and Malukuh, complainants in a labor case filed against herein complainant as Executive VicePresident of Miramar Fish Company, Inc. (MFCI). Said labor case was assigned to respondent as an accredited Voluntary Arbitrator of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to decide upon. Respondent rendered a decision in favor of Alvarez and Malukuh and against complainant Buehs and MFCI. However, during the pendency of the proceedings, he recommended that a criminal case be filed against the Buehs and MFCI. In his Indorsement, respondent stated that he represents the Alvarez and Malukuh. Along with this, respondent issued an Order directing the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation to place herein complainant in its Watchlist and to issue a Hold Departure Order without notice and hearing. Complainant was not given a copy of the said Hold Departure Order. Hence this administrative case against Atty. Bacatan, complainant alleging that his (respondents) act of representing Alvarez and Malukuh, while a labor case involving the same parties was still pending before him, gave rise to a conflict of interests.

Issues: 1.) respondent represented conflicting interests by acting as counsel for Alvarez and Malukuh in the criminal case they filed against herein complainant while the labor case filed by Alvarez and Malukuh against complainant was still pending before him. 2.) he usurped the judicial powers of the Regional Trial Court and the higher judicial authorities by issuing a Hold Departure Order/Watchlist Order without any notice or hearing Ruling:

1. Respondent claimed that it was erroneous to say that the issue was still pending with the arbitrator at the stage of execution because when he submitted the Decision, he was already in functus oficio. Respondent is mistaken. Jurisdiction, once acquired, is not lost upon the instance of the parties but continues until the case is terminated, or until the writ of execution has been issued to enforce the judgment. When respondent was appointed as Voluntary Arbitrator for the parties in the illegal dismissal case he was expected to exhibit neutrality and impartiality. However, what he displayed is the opposite. He even indorsed a criminal complaint against herein complainant, and signed the said Indorsement as counsel for complainants in the illegal dismissal case, an act which was clearly reprehensible and violative of the principle of conflict of interests. 2. On the second issue, as a defense, respondent asserted that it was complainant who resorted to legal maneuvers to delay, if not evade, his monetary obligations. Thus, the former was compelled to ask for an Order to place petitioner in the Watchlist to prevent him from absconding, completely contravening Supreme Court Circular No. 3997, which provides that said Orders shall be issued only in criminal cases within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts. In doing so, responded showed gross ignorance of the law. Based on the foregoing, the Court found respondent Atty. Inocencio T. Bacatan guilty of gross misconduct for representing conflicting interests, gross ignorance of the law for issuing an order without authority, and is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for two (2) years.

#6.

#7 1. A.C. No. 8010 June 16, 2009

KELD STEMMERIK, represented by ATTYS. HERMINIO A. LIWANAG and WINSTON P.L. ESGUERRA, Complainant, vs. ATTY. LEONUEL N. MAS, Respondent. Complainant Stemmerik was interested in acquiring real property in the Philippines. He consulted respondent who advised him that he could legally acquire and own real property in the Philippines. Respondent even suggested a property in Subic, Zambales with the assurance that the property was alienable. Trusting respondent, complainant purchased the property through him as his attorney-in-fact. Complainant also engaged his services for the preparation of the necessary documents. For this purpose, respondent demanded and received a P400,000 fee. Complainant left for Denmark and entrusted the processing of the necessary paperwork to respondent. However, instead of having the property registered in complainants name, it was registered and conveyed in the name of a certain Alvin Gonzales. When he further inquired as to the status of the property he supposedly bought, he was devastated to learn that aliens could not

own land under Philippine laws. Moreover, upon verification, it was revealed that the property was inalienable as it was situated within the former US Military Reservation. Complainant filed a complaint for disbarment for gravely misrepresenting that a foreigner could legally acquire land in the Philippines and for maliciously absconding with complainants P3.8 million. Issue: Whether or not atty. Mas name should be stricken out from the Roll of Attorneys and be disbarred from the practice of law.

Ruling: The Court found the respondent to be dishonest and deceitful and "nothing more than an embezzler". He abused the trust and confidence reposed by complainant in him. Respondent, in giving advice that directly contradicted a fundamental constitutional policy, showed disrespect for the Constitution and gross ignorance of basic law. Worse, he prepared spurious documents that he knew were void and illegal. He advised the complainant that a foreigner could legally and validly acquire real estate in the Philippines and assuring complainant that the property was alienable. In this, respondent committed a serious breach of his oath as a lawyer and is also guilty of culpable violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility, the code of ethics of the legal profession. Thus the Court ordered that Atty. Mas be disbarred from further practicing legal profession and for him to return to complainant Keld Stemmerik the total amount of P4.2 million with interest.

#8

1. A.C. No. 7813

April 21, 2009

CARLITO P. CARANDANG, Complainant, vs. ATTY. GILBERT S. OBMINA, Respondent. This is a complaint filed by Carlito P. Carandang against Atty. Gilbert S. Obmina. Atty. Obmina was counsel for Carandang in an Ejectment case he filed. Carandang brought suit for Atty. Obminas failure to inform Carandang of the adverse decision in said case and for failure to appeal the decision. The Commission on Bar Discipline, issued an Order directing respondent Atty. Gilbert S. Obmina to submit his Answer. However, what the Commission received was a Manifestation by a certain Atty. Ma. Carmencita C. Obmina-Muaa, allegedly daughter of respondent. She further alleged that her father is already a permanent resident of the United States of America since March 2001 and had already retired from the practice of law.

On the scheduled Mandatory Conference, Commission directed Atty. Muaa to produce and present before the Court the alleged withdrawal of appearance filed by her father and proof that her father is now really a permanent resident of the United States of America. Issue: Whether or not Atty. Obmina is liable for failure serve his client with competence and diligence as pursuant to Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Ethics and to inform his client as to the stus of his case pursuant to Rule 18.03 of Canon 18. Ruling: There is nothing on record that will show that Atty. Obmina notified complainant in any manner about the decision. Blame should not be attributed solely to the respondent because it was observed that complainant is partly to blame for his loss for failure to maintain contact with Atty. Obmina. The Supreme Court held that "clients should maintain contact with their counsel from time to time and inform themselves of the progress of their case, thereby exercising that standard of care which an ordinary prudent man bestows upon his business (Leonardo vs. S.T. Best, Inc.,). Nonetheless, the Court underscored the duty of respondent to notify his client as to what happened to his case. However, the respondent who has in his possession the complete files and address of the complainant, should have exerted more efforts to notify Mr. Carandang as to what happened to his case. Whether the decision is adverse to or in favor of his client, respondent is duty bound to notify the clients pursuant to Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Ethics. That as a result of the respondents failure to notify the complainant, the latter lost the case leading to his eviction. The Court ordered that Atty. Gilbert S. Obmina be suspended from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year. Although the said respondent is reportedly in the United States of America and accordingly retired from the practice of law, the Commission resolved not to close its eyes on the negligence that respondent has committed while in the active practice.

#9 TANU REDDI vs. ATTY. DIOSDADO C. SEBRIO, JR., A.C. No. 7027, 2009 Jan 30

FACTS: Respondent was introduced to Complainant (an American citizen) whom he enticed to acquire certain real estate to further her philanthropic desire of establishing a hospital for the poor. Respondent advised Complainant (being a foreigner), to use corporate vehicles (thus, the formation of three corporations) for the purchases of lands in Tagaytay City (which turned out to be have been acquired by another person via foreclosure sale), Las Pias City, Makati City(which she later discovered was not actually owned by the buyer), Quezon City (which lot is occupied by SM North Mall but claimed by Respondent to be owned by his client), and Pasay City (supposedly vacant lots which were actually owned by certain banks). Complainant alleged that Respondent duped her into giving him a total of $3M for these purchases. RULING: Respondent DISBARRED for violating Canon 1 (to uphold the Constitution, obey laws of the land and promote respect for the law and legal processes), Rule 1.01 (not to engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct), Canon 16 (to hold in trust all

moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession), Rule 16.01 (not to state or imply that he is able to influence any public official, tribunal or legislative body); his name ORDERED STRICKEN from the Roll of Attorneys; ORDERED TO RETURN to Complainant US$544,828. Respondent violated By Respondents own admission, he received a total of US$544,828 from Complainant, which he could not properly account for. The orchestrated manner in which he carried out his fraudulent scheme, in connivance with other persons, and by taking advantage of Complainants naivete in the workings of the real estate business in the Philippines, depict a man whose character falls way, way short of the exacting standards required of him as a member of the bar and an officer of the court. Thus, Respondent is no longer fit to remain as such. Respondent only ordered to return US$544,828 because, while Complainant submitted documents showing her bank remittances involving different sums of money, some of these remittances were not made in Respondents name. Complainant herself declares, the amount of US$3,000,000 as a mere estimate of her total claim (Complainant is not precluded from litigating her claim for any balance due her in the proper forum).

10 ANGALAN vs. ATTY. DELANTE This is a complaint filed by maria, nena, dionicio, Magdalena, francisca, rosario and Josefina (Angalan) against Atty. Leonido Delante. These are the heirs of Angalan Samal( angalan) and Sanaan Samal( Sanaan). 1971 Angalan and complainants borrowed 15k fr. Navarro Eustaquio and Arabella, to secure the loan they mortgaged 8.102 ha of 9.102 ha property and surrendered to the sps. Eustaquio by affixing their thumb marks on the doc. When complainants tried to pay sps. Eustaquio refused and learned that it was deed of absolute sale. Complainants engaged the services of respondent for the purpose of recovering their property. A receipt evidencing payment was issued by the complainants for the full payment of his professional fees was also given. Respondent then filed a complaint with the court of first instance (CFI) now RTC. 1977 Complainants and eustaquio entered into an amicable settlement: a) Complainants offered the sum of 30k as repurchase which defendant accept b) Upon signing plaintiff shall pay 15k the deed of reconveyance shall be executed by the defendant C.)While balance not paid defendants continue to possess and if necessary to gather the produce of the property

Complainants didnt have the 30k repurchase price. Respondent advanced the 30k in return complainants allowed respondent to possess the property until he is paid. When complainants tried to repay respondent refused. In 1977 a former Filipino client now a permanent resident in NYork was looking for a property and he was referred to defendant eustaquio and decided to buy and left a money and to buy the said property under defendants name with the understanding to turn over as soon as his family shall have returned to d country. Complainants filed a complaint but parties failed to appear and asked to submit their position papers. Respondent stated that angalan and capul went to his office to seek advice about borrowing money. His client from NY bought the property from the sps.Eustaquio and the complainants executed a motion to withdraw the complaint for the disbarment and an affidavit of desistance. WON the respondent committed grave violation of the CPR when he bought the property from his client without their knowledge and against their will? HELD: Angalan and complainants went to respondents office not to seek advice about borrowing money but to engage his services for the purpose of recovering the property where respondent filed a complaint with the CFI, and when they issued a receipt and a letter address to barrio captain stating that he is the lawyer. Respondents allege that his client fr. NY bought the property from the sps. Eustaquio. The court was not impressed first the complainants and Eustaquio entered into an amicable settlement that would repurchase the property. And second a letter to the barrio capt. Stated that the complainants repurchased the property through him. Respondent story is unbelievable for he did not give detail or proof the name of the allege client, the old passport showing immigration stamps. Respondent violated canon 16 and 17. 16 states that a lawyer shall hold in trust all properties of their clients that may come into their possession. He should have returned the property to complainants. Instead he transferred the title to his name refused to return and referred the complainants charges as malicious and untruthful. 17 states that lawyers shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him, complainants allege that they are illiterate sps. Eustaquio took advantage of them, instead of protecting the interest of the complainants he took advantage of them too. C17 constitutes gross misconduct. A person taking 8.102ha to his illiterate clients who is incapable of telling truth is unfit to be a lawyer. It is destructive of the confidence if the public in the fidelity, honesty and integrity of the legal profession.

#11 RE 2003 BAR EXAMINATIONS: ATTY. DANILO DE GUZMAN FACTS:the leakage of bar questions in mercantile law during the 2003 bar examinations warranted the nullification of the results in that subject and the subsequent distribution of the corresponding percentage thereof among the seven bar subjects. thorough investigation revealed that a certain danilo de guzman, one of the assistant attorneys at the balgos and perez law firm, was responsible for the leakage. atty. marcial balgos, a senior partner in the firms, happened to have been commissioned by justice jose vitug to prepare questions in mercantile law. atty. de guzman admitted to downloading the questions from atty. balgos'

computer and distributing the same to two of his brothers in the beta sigma lambda fraternity. from the point, the leaked questions spread and an unknown number of examinees were able to obtain copies thereof. atty. de guzman was thus disbarred, while atty. balgos was reprimanded for his negligence and lack of due care in safeguarding the proposed questions in mercantile law. ISSUE: whether or not disbarment was proper HELD: yes. atty. de guzman, by transmitting and distributing the stolen test questions to some members of the beta sigma lambda fraternity, possibly for pecuniary profit and to give them undue advantage over the other examinees in mercantile law, abetted cheating and dishonesty by his fraternity brothers in the examination, which is violative of rule 1.01 of canon 1 as well as canon 7 of the code of professional responsibility. de guzman was guilty of misconduct unbecoming a member of the bar. he violated the law instead of promoting respect for it and degraded the noble profession instead of upholding its dignity and integrity.

# 11 RE: 2003 BAR EXAMINATIONS PER CURIAM; February 4, 2004 NATURE ADMINISTRATIVE MATTER in the Supreme Court. Bar Scandal. FACTS - On September 22, 2003, the day following the bar examination in Mercantile Law, Justice Jose C. Vitug, Chairman of the 2003 Bar Examinations Committee, was apprised of a rumored leakage in the examination on the subject. He then reported to Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. and to the other members of the Court, recommending that the examination on the subject be nullified and that an investigation be conducted forthwith. - On September 2003, the Court adopted the recommendation of Justice Vitug and resolved to nullify the examination in Mercantile Law and to hold another exam on the said subject against which petitions were filed. The petitions voiced out the support to nullifying the exam on the said subject and not to take another exam due to the emotional, physical and financial burdens it will cause the barristers. Alternative proposals were submitted to the Court. The Court moved to nullify and to spread out the weight of the Mercantile Law among the remaining seven bar subjects. - The Court resolved also to create a Committee composed of three retired members of the Court that would conduct a thorough investigation of the incident subject of the September 23, 2003 resolution. The Investigating Committee found that the leaked test questions in Mercantile Law were the questions which the examinee, Atty. Balgos had prepared and submitted to Justice Jose Vitug. His questions constituted 82% of the questions asked in the examination in Mercantile Law in the morning of September 21, 2003, Sunday, in some cases with slight changes which were not substantial and in other cases exactly as Atty. Balgos, 71 years old, proposed. - The circumstances that the leaked test questions consisted entirely of test questions prepared by Atty. Balgos proves conclusively that the leakage originated from his office, not from the Office of Justice Vitug. Atty. Balgos claimed that the leaked test questions were prepared by him on his computer. Without any doubt, the source of the leaked test questions was Atty. Balgos computer. The culprit who stole or downloaded them from Atty. Balgos computer without the latters knowledge and consent, and who faxed them to other persons, was Atty. Balgos legal assistant, Atty. Danilo De Guzman, who voluntarily confessed the deed to the Investigating Committee. De Guzman revealed that he faxed the test questions, with the help of his secretary Villasis to his frat brods in Beta Sigma Lambda Fraternity, namely,

Garvida, Arlan, and Erwin Tan. In turn, Garvida faxed the test questions to Iigo and Bugain. Iigo passed a copy or copies to other Betan Guiapal who gave a copy to the MLQU-Beta Sigmas Most Illustrious Brother, Ronald Collado who ordered the printing and distribution of 30 copies to the MLQUs 30 bar candidates. - Atty De Guzmans act of downloading Balgos test questions in mercantile law from the latters computer, without his knowledge and permission, was a criminal act of larceny. It was theft of intellectual property. - Besides theft, De Guzman also committed an unlawful infraction of Balgos right to privacy of communication and to security of his papers and effects against unauthorized search and seizurerights zealously protected by the Bill of Rights of our Constitution. He transgressed the very first canon of the lawyers Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that a lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land, and promote respect for law and legal processes. - De Guzman also violated rule 1.01 of Canon 1, as well as Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for members of the Bar, which provide: Rule 1.01A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. Canon 7A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and support the activities of the Integrated Bar. - He is guilty of grave misconduct unbecoming a member of the Bar. Also, the Investigating committee does not believe that he acted alone. Palma, secretary of Atty. Balgos and Atienza knew of the password. Certain brods should also be investigated. The committee does not believe De Guzman did this out of love for the fraternity. There must have been an ulterior material consideration for his breaking the law and tearing the shroud of secrecy that, he very well knows, covers the bar examinations. - Atty. Balgos is also negligent.He could have just used the typewriter considering his lack of adeptness with the computer. ISSUE WON Danilo De Guzman should be disbarred HELD YES. He should be disbarred plus he ought to make a public apology and pay damages to the Supreme Court - Atty. Balgos should be reprimanded by the Court and make a written apology as a result of his negligence. He is not entitled to receive any honorarium as examiner for that subject. - Further examination of the others should be held to show accountability and also to find out how De Guzman was able to secure a copy of the Supreme Courts CALR database without the courts permission.

#12 CAMBALIZA v CRISTOBAL-TENORIO

Facts: Cambaliza, a former employee of Atty. Cristal-Tenorio, charged the latter with grossly immoral conduct. Cambaliza alleged that Atty. has been falsely representing herself to be married to Felicisimo Tenorio, when in fact Felicisimo was already married to another woman (Atty. got a fake marriage license.). She also alleges that the Atty. caused the

dissemination to the public of a libelous affidavit against a Makati Councilor. At the helm of her complaint was the allegation that the Atty. cooperated in the illegal practice of law by her husband Felicisimo, who is not a member of the bar. Atty. denies all the allegations. She says that her firm is a sole-proprietorship; hence, she had no partners in her law office.

Issue: W/N the lawyer is guilty of cooperating in the illegal practice of law. Held: The lawyer is guilty. The court agrees with the finding of the Commissioner on Bar Discipline. According to the Commissioner, Atty. cooperated in illegal practice, in violation of Rule 9.01 based on the ff. evidence: (1) letterhead of Cristal-Tenorio Law office, with Felicisimo as senior partner, (2) Sagip Radio Comm. Group card of Atty. Felicisimo Tenorio (3) an ordered by the MTCC where Felicisimo entered his appearance as counsel. Any lawyer who allows a non-member of the Bar to misrepresent himself as a lawyer is guilty of violating rule 9.01. The lawyers duty to prevent or not assist in the unauthorized practice of law is founded on public interest and policy. The purpose is to protect the public, the client, the bar, and the court from the incompetence and dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice.

ANA MARIE CAMBALIZA vs. ATTY. ANA LUZ CRISTAL-TENORIO, A.C. No. 6290, 7/14/2004. FACTS: Complainant who was Respondents former employee, claimed that (a) Respondent falsely represented herself to be married to Felicisimo Tenorio despite the latters prior and subsisting marriage with another woman and that (b) Respondent, assisted Felicisimo in the illegal practice of law being not a member of the Philippine Bar. Respondent admitted that Felicisimo R. Tenorio, Jr., is not a lawyer, but he and a certain Gerardo A. Panghulan, who is also not a lawyer, are named as senior partners because they have investments in her law office. While the disbarment case was pending, Complainant filed a motion to withdraw complaint supposedly because it arose out of a misunderstanding. RULING: Respondent SUSPENDED. An affidavit of withdrawal of the disbarment case allegedly executed by Complainant does not, in any way, exonerate Respondent. A suspension/disbarment case may proceed regardless of interest or lack of interest of the complainant such proceedings involve no private interest and afford no redress for private grievance and are solely for the public welfare, that is, to preserve courts of justice from the official ministration of persons unfit to practice in them. Hence, if the evidence on record warrants, the respondent may be suspended or disbarred despite the desistance of complainant or his withdrawal of the charges. Respondent is guilty of assisting in the unauthorized practice of law. The Code provides that, a lawyer shall not directly or indirectly assist in the unauthorized practice of law (Canon 9),

a lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified person the performance of any task which by law may only be performed by a member of the Bar in good standing (Rule 9.01). Felicisimo R. Tenorio, Jr., is not a lawyer, but he holds himself out as one. His wife (Respondent admitted to abetting and aiding him in the unauthorized practice of the legal profession as he is listed (in the letterhead of the law office) as a senior partners because of an investment in her law office. That is a blatant misrepresentation. The (Sagip Communication Radio Group) identification card is another proof that Respondent assisted Felicisimo R. Tenorio, Jr., in misrepresenting to the public that he is a lawyer. Notably, the identification card stating that he is Atty. Felicisimo Tenorio, Jr., bears the signature of the respondent as Chairperson of the Group. The lawyers duty to prevent, or at the very least not to assist in, the unauthorized practice of law is founded on public interest and policy. Public policy requires that the practice of law be limited to those individuals found duly qualified in education and character. The permissive right conferred on the lawyer is an individual and limited privilege subject to withdrawal if he fails to maintain proper standards of moral and professional conduct. The purpose is to protect the public, the court, the client, and the bar from the incompetence or dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice law and not subject to the disciplinary control of the Court.

#13

Lao vs. Medel, 405 SCRA 227 [2003] Grounds for Disbarment or Suspension of a Lawyer

1.

Deceit

For a lawyer to be dealt with by the Supreme Court, the transaction entered into need not be in the performance of professional services. It can be in his private capacity. Professional honesty and honor are not to be expected as the accompaniment of dishonesty and dishonor in other relations.

#14 ESTRADA V SANDIGANBAYAN PER CURIAM; November 25, 2003 NATURE RESOLUTION of the Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court FACTS

-Joseph Estrada, through Atty Alan Paguia, filed a Petition for Certiorari under the Rules of Court against Sandiganbayan, which prayed 1. That Chief Justice Davide and the rest of the members of the Honorable Court disqualify themselves from hearing and deciding the petition; 2. That the assailed resolutions of the Sandiganbayan be vacated and set aside; and 3.That Criminal Cases No. 26558, No. 26565 and No. 26905 pending before the Sandiganbayan be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. -Atty Paguia, speaking for Estrada, asserted that the inhibition of the members of the SC from hearing the petition is called for under Rule 5.10 of the Code of Judicial Conduct prohibiting justices or judges from participating in any partisan political activity which proscription, according to him, the justices have violated by attending the EDSA 2 Rally and by authorizing the assumption of Vice-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to the Presidency in violation of the 1987 Constitution. Petitioner contended that the justices have thereby prejudged a case that would assail the legality of the act taken by President Arroyo. The subsequent decision of the Court in Estrada v. Arroyo is, according to petitioner, a patent mockery of justice and due process. -The SC dismissed the petition for lack of merit (Sandiganbayan committed no grave abuse of discretion) and the SC warned Atty Paguia of his conduct -- his attacks on the Court and making public statements on the case (violating Rule 13.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility). He was given 10 days SHOW CAUSE why he should not be sanctioned for conduct unbecoming a lawyer and an officer of the Court. - On 10 October 2003, Atty. Paguia submitted his compliance with the show-cause order. In a three-page pleading, Atty. Paguia, in an obstinate display of defiance, repeated his earlier claim of political partisanship against the members of the Court (for discussion on political partisanship please see original case), and continued to make public statements about Estradas case. ISSUES WON Atty Paguia should be suspended from the practice of law HELD YES. -Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates that the lawyer should observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and judicial officers and, indeed, should insist on similar conduct by others. In liberally imputing sinister and devious motives and questioning the impartiality, integrity, and authority of the members of the Court, Atty. Paguia has only succeeded in seeking to impede, obstruct and pervert the dispensation of justice. -The Supreme Court does not claim infallibility; it will not denounce criticism made by anyone against the Court for, if wellfounded, can truly have constructive effects in the task of the Court, but it will not countenance any wrongdoing nor allow the erosion of the peoples faith in the judicial system, let alone, by those who have been privileged by it to practice law in the Philippines. -The attention of Atty. Paguia has also been called to the mandate of Rule 13.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility prohibiting a member of the bar from making such public statements on a case that may tend to arouse public opinion for or against a party. Regrettably, Atty. Paguia has persisted in ignoring the Courts well-meant admonition. The Court has already warned Atty. Paguia, on pain of disciplinary sanction, to become mindful of his grave responsibilities as a lawyer and as an officer of the Court. Apparently, he has chosen not to at all take heed. Disposition Atty Paguia indefinitely suspended from the practice of law

#15 RAO SHENG v VELASCO FACTS: Rau Sheng Mao is a Taiwanese national who engaged the services of Atty. Angeles Velasco as his legal consultant and counsel of his company Foreign Investors Consultancy and Management, Inc (FICMI). Haru Gen Beach Resort and Hotel Corporation ,represented by Atty, Velasco as its director and stockholder, entered into a management agreement with FICMI Atty Velasco sold to Rau Sheng his 10,000 shares in Haru Gen for P1,000,000 but the former refused to deliver the certificates to the Taiwanese despite complete payment made by the Taiwanese Also, 3 lands of Atty. Velasco was bought by Rau Sheng for P3.3M with a remaining balance of P300,000, but Atty. Velasco still refused to deliver the titles Rau Sheng filed an administrative case against Atty. Velasco. Rau Sheng presented as evidence letters made by Atty. Velasco wherein the latter was asking money from the former to be given to judges hearing his cases An additional charge for immorality because of his illicit relationship with Lucy Matienzo who is not his legal wife was filed by Rau Sheng wherein he presented the baptismal certificate of Jenny Velasco which listed Atty. Velasco as its father together with the affidavits of several people confirming Velascos illicit relationship with Lucy as evidence Atty. Velasco denied all the allegations of Rau Sheng with these arguments: o He could not deceive Rau Sheng for the Taiwanese was always represented in all their transactions by Atty. Purog o He refused to deliver the certificate of stocks and the land titles because of the Rau Shengs incomplete payment of the purchase price o As to the immorality claim, Atty. Velasco presented affidavits of his wife and Lucy Matienzo

ISSUE: W/N Atty. Velasco is guilty of all the allegations made by Rau Sheng HELD: YES! Atty. Velasco was found guilty of the having illicit relationship with Matieza and giving Rau Sheng the impression that he was in the position to influence the court and he was ordered suspended from the practice of law for 2 years The court found it unlikely that Rau Sheng was deceived by Atty. Velasco in all their transactions for he was always represented by Atty. Purog in all the dealings But Atty. Velasco is guilty of having an adulterous relationship with Matienza with whom he has 3 children all bearing his surname as seen in all the school records of the children. Velasco violated Canon 1, Rule 1.101 by engaging in unlawful and immoral acts. Lawyers are burdened with the highest degree of social responsibility and thus must handle their personal affairs with the greatest caution. Their exalted positions as officers of the court demand no less than the highest degree of morality. What is more, Velasco violated one of the basic tenets of legal ethics by giving Rau Sheng the impression that he was in the position to influence the courts. Velasco claimed that he has connections with judges and they were claiming money from Rau Sheng. A lawyer is duty bound to avoid improprieties which gave the appearance of influencing the courts and place the integrity of the administration of justice in peril.

No profession offers greater opportunity for public service than that of a lawyer. For the privilege conferred upon him, a lawyer was tasked with the equally greater responsibility of upholding the ideals and ethics established.

#16 [A.C. No. 4219. December 8, 2003] LOTHAR SCHULZ, complainant, vs. ATTY. MARCELO G. FLORES, respondent. FACTS: Atty. Flores knew too little of the provisions and application of PD No. 1508 which mandates that all disputes, except those specifically cited (the dispute between Lothar Schulz and Wilson Ong not included), between and among residents of the same city or municipality should be brought first under the system of barangay conciliation before recourse to the court can be allowed. Because of respondents transgressions, his client was haled to court as partdefendant. Respondent also refused to return petitioners money in spite of his meager service. Held: GUILTY of negligence and incompetence. SUSPENDED for (6) months. RETURN the money of complainant with interest. STERNLY WARNED that a commission of the same or similar act in the future will be dealt with more severely. The breach of respondents sworn duty as a lawyer and of the ethical standards he was strictly to honor and observe has been sufficiently established. Respondent has fallen short of the competence and diligence required of every member of the Bar. ***** CANON 17. A LAWYER OWES FIDELITY TO THE CAUSE OF HIS CLIENT AND HE SHALL BE MINDFUL OF THE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE REPOSED IN HIM. CANON 18. A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE Rule 18.03 A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. Respondent erred in not returning complainants money despite demands after his failure to file the case and his devious act of compelling complainant to sign a document stating that he has no financial obligation to complainant in exchange of the return of complainants papers. This conduct violated the following Canon: CANON 15. A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE CANDOR, FAIRNESS, AND LOYALTY IN ALL HIS DEALINGS AND TRANSACTIONS WITH HIS CLIENT. Rule 16.03. A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of client when due or upon demand. The failure of an attorney to return the clients money upon demand gives rise to the presumption that he has misappropriated it for his own use to the prejudice and violation of the trust reposed in him by the client. It is not only a gross violation of the general morality as well as of professional ethics; it also impairs public confidence in the legal profession and deserves punishment. In short, it is settled that the unjustified withholding of money belonging to his client, as in this case, warrants the imposition of

disciplinary action. A lawyer must conduct himself, especially in his dealings with his clients, with integrity in a manner that is beyond reproach. His relationship with his clients should be characterized by the highest degree of good faith and fairness. #17 LUCILA S. BARBUCO vs. ATTY. RAYMUNDO N. BELTRAN, A.C. No. 5092, 8/11/2004 Lawyer suspended for failing to file appellants brief resulting to the dismissal of his clients case. Rule 18.03 (a lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable). An attorney is bound to protect his clients interest to the best of his ability and with utmost diligence. Failure to file brief within the reglementary period certainly constitutes inexcusable negligence, more so if the delay of FORTY THREE (43) days resulted in the dismissal of the appeal. That Respondent was involved in a vehicular accident and suffered physical injuries as a result thereof cannot serve to excuse him from filing his pleadings on time considering that he was a member of a law firm composed of not just one lawyer. Respondent could have asked any of his partners in the law office to file the Appellants Brief for him or, at least, to file a Motion for Extension of Time to file the said pleading. Failure to timely file a pleading is by itself inexcusable negligence on Respondents part and his liability is further compounded by his failure to maintain an open line of communication with his client, in violation of Rule 18.04 (a lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable time to the clients request for information).

#18 RICARDO A. FORONDA vs. ATTY. ARNOLD V. GUERRERO, A.C. No. 5469, 8/10/2004 Lawyer suspended for trifling with judicial process by resort to forum shopping in filing multifarious petitions, motions and actions concerning a property despite the fact that SC had upheld the judgment of the trial court and appellate court. While a lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client, it should not be at the expense of truth and the administration of justice. In filing multiple petitions before various courts concerning the same subject matter, Respondent violated Canon 12 (a lawyer shall exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice) and Rule 12.02 and Rule 12.04 of the Code, as well as a lawyers mandate to delay no man for money or malice. While lawyers owe their entire devotion to the interest of their clients and zeal in the defense of their clients right, they should not forget that they are, first and foremost, officers of the court, bound to exert every effort to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice.

#19 BUADO v LAYAG Facts: Herein complainant Lising and her sister Rosita de Guzman ( mother of herein complianat Susana Buado) were the plaintiffs in a civil case which was decided in favor of the plaintiffs. Atty Layag represented the said plaintiffs in that case. Inland Trailways, the defendant in that case, issued checks: (1)payable to Atty Layag for P15,000 (2) payable to Lising for P30,180 (3) payable to De Guzman, who had by then passed away (for P45,000). The checks were received by Atty Layag. Atty Layag did not inform the plaintiffs about the checks. Instead he gave the checks to one Marie Paz Gonzales for encashment on the strength of a Special Power of Attorney, purportedly executed by De Guzman constituting Gonzales as agent. After discovering that checks have already been issued, Lising and Buado, as heir of De Guzman demanded the delivery of the checks. Gonzales, the agent gave Lising P10,000. No furhter amounts were remitted.

Issue: W/n Atty Layag's act of delivering the checks to Gonzales, the purported agent, constitutes malpractice...

Held: YES. As a lawyer, with more than 30 years in practice, respondent is charged with knowledge of the law. He should know that it was error for him to rely on a Special Power of Attorney after the death of the principal, De Guzman. When De Guzman died, the Special Power of Attorney ceased to be operative. With respect to the check payable to Lising, Atty Layag should have delivered it directly to Lising. The Power of Attorney did not cover Lising's case. He is therefore, suspended indefinitely, subject to further orders by the SC.

#21 TORBEN B. OVERGAARD vs. ATTY. GODWIN VALDEZ, A.C. No. 7902, 9/20/2008 FACTS: Complainant, a Dutch national paid Respondent P900,000 to represent him in several cases filed by, and against him. Despite continued efforts to contact (via unanswered phone calls and e-mails) Respondent to inquire on the status of the cases, Later, Complainant learned that Respondent did not file his entry of appearance in the cases he filed. Further, Respondent failed to inform him that he was entitled to prepare a counter-affidavit to answer the complaint for other light threats. Worse, Complainant had no knowledge that there had

already been arraignment dates for the criminal cases against him, and that warrants had already been issued for his non-attendance.

RULING: Respondent DISBARRED, his name STRICKEN from the Roll of Attorneys; ordered to immediately RETURN to Complainant all his papers and documents and his money.

Respondent has indubitably fallen below the exacting standards demanded of members of the bar. He did not merely neglect his clients cause, he abandoned his client and left him without any recourse but to hire another lawyer. To hide from Complainant, avoid his calls, ignore his letters, and leave him helpless is unforgivable; and to commit all these acts and omissions after receiving the full amount of legal fees and after assuring the client of his commitment and responsibility violates the CPR.

A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct (Canon 1, Rule 1.01 of the CPR). Deceitful conduct involves moral turpitude and includes anything done contrary to justice, modesty or good morals. It is an act of baseness, vileness or depravity in the private and social duties which a man owes to his fellowmen or to society in general, contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals. Representing to Complainant that he would take care of the cases filed against him, assuring Complainant that his property involved in a civil case would be safeguarded, and then collecting the full amount of legal fees of PhP900,000.00, only to desert the complainant after receipt of the fees, were manifestly deceitful and dishonest.

A lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence. A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.

The CPR further provides that a lawyer is required to keep the client informed of the status of his case and to respond within a reasonable time to the clients request for information. The respondent did the opposite. Despite Complainants efforts to consult him and notwithstanding numerous attempts to contact him, simply to ask for an update of the status of the cases, Respondent was able to avoid Complainant and never bothered to reply. A lawyer shall account for all money and property collected or received for and from the client (Rule 16.01, Canon 16). Complainant paid p900,000.00 to Respondent for legal services to be rendered. However, since Respondent did not carry out any of the services he was engaged to perform, he must immediately return the money he received from the client upon demand. However, he refused to return the money he received from Complainant despite written demands, and was not even able to give a single report regarding the status of the cases.

Acceptance of money from a client establishes an attorney-client relationship and gives rise to the duty of fidelity to the client's cause. Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose such as for filing fees but not used for failure to file the case, must immediately be returned to the client on demand.

#20. CHUA v MESINA, Jr Facts: Atty Simeon Mesina is the legal counsel of spouses Anna Chua and Chua An. The spouses leased a building ownedby Mesinas family. The property, however, was actually mortgaged in favor of a bank for a loan obtained byMesinas motherFelicisima Melencio (who was the registered owner as well). When Felicisima failed to meet her obligations to the bank, the spouses were convinced by Mesina to help hismother in consideration for the purchase of the same lot at a certain price. A deed of sale was made conveyingthe property to the spouses. But when the spouses were appraised for capital gains tax, Atty Mesina suggested to execute another deed of salethis time, the date of the transaction is 1979, which is before the effectivity of the law imposing capitalgains tax. Not long after the title was handed over to the spouses, another lessee of the building Tecsonquestioned thetransaction as he was, himself, interested in buying the property. Tecson filed charges for falsification of documents. To avoid the falsification charge, Mesina proposed to simulate a deed of sale wherein the spouses would appearto resell the property to Felicisima. A new title was issued to Felicisima by virtue of said deed but this wasentrusted in the hands of the spouses. Later on, Tecson desisted from pursuing the charges. Meanwhile, Mesina borrowed the title of the property fromthe spouses and promised to transfer, yet again, title in the name of the spouses. But Mesina failed to effect such transfer and the spouses learned that the property is being offered to a publicsale. Hence the action. The case was investigated by the IBP and recommended that Mesina be suspended forgross misconduct. Issue:Was Atty. Mesina guilty of gross misconduct? Held:Blimey! Of course! When Atty Mesina advised Chua to execute a deed of sale antedated to 1979 to evade payment of capital gains tax, he violated his duty to promote respect for law and legal processes. When he convinced Chua to executeanother deed to make it appear that the property was conveyed back to Felicisima, Mesina committed dishonesty. Andwhen he obtained the title upon the misrepresentation that he will return the same after 4 months, he committeddishonesty again. There were also badges of fraud that can be attributed to Mesina

as there were marked differences inthe signatures of Felicisima.Clearly, Mesina violated his oath of office and Canons 1, 7, 15, and 17 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Hisdisbarment is warranted.

#22 SANTOS-TAN vs. ROBISO

FACTS: Complainant charged respondent with malpractice for grossly neglecting his duties and responsibilities as counsel for complainant and for issuing a bouncing chec for P85,000.

Complainant engaged the legal services of respondent as her counsel for an intestate proceeding for her husband Eusebio Tan. She paid respondent P100,000 for acceptance fee. Several months passed and the case had no progress. not satisfied with respondent's services, she went to his office and demananded the return of the professional fees for there was no professional service rendered. Respondent then gave her a check amounting to P85,000. When she deposited the same, it was dishonored for insufficiency of funds. Complaianant made several demands but was unheeded by the respondent and said that he only issued the same to stop complainant's "acerbic verbal abuse."

Respondent alleged that he had been personally following-up the case but it was stagnant in the court for there was still no judge to preside. it was only later that respondent found out that the judged was suspended and not retired. he even made notes to record the dates of his visits in the court.

ISSUE: (1) whether respondent was negligent in handling complainants case; and (2) whether respondent should be disciplined for issuing a bouncing check.

HELD: The Court affirmed the findings of the IBP, that respondent be suspended for one month with strong warning that a commission of a similar offense would be dealt with more severity in the future. He also recommended that respondent be ordered to reimburse complainant the amount of <span>P</span>70,000.00, <span>P</span>30,000.00 of which corresponds to the services rendered by him on a quantum meruit. He did not find respondent to be grossly negligent in the performance of his duties as there was nothing more respondent could do in accelerating the resolution of the motions which were already submitted for resolution. The filing of additional pleadings or papers with the court would not be necessary. During the time the motion for reconsideration was pending the regular presiding judge of the court was under suspension and the acting presiding judge who issued the resolution considering the motion as submitted for resolution was not disposed to act on said motion but instead opted to wait for the regular presiding judge to act on it.

However, the hearing officer recommended that respondent be made liable for issuing the bouncing check. Whatever was respondents reason for issuing the check, the fact remains that the same was dishonored by the bank for having been drawn against insufficient funds. If respondents purpose was just to appease complainant to make her leave his office and he firmly believed that he had no obligation to return the <span>P</span>100,000.00, then he could have issued a stop-payment order to the bank before the encashment of the check, the hearing officer added.

#23 Angeles, et al. vs. Atty. Ibaez Facts: Complainants alleged that respondent Atty. Amado Ibaez notarized an "Extrajudicial Partition with Absolute Sale" without a notarial commission and in the absence of the affiants. The complainants denied that they executed the said document or that they ever appeared before respondent Atty. Ibaez for this purpose. Issue: Whether or not Atty. Ibaez may be disbarred on the ground of notarizing a document without a notarial commission and in the absence of the affiants. Ruling: Yes, Atty. Ibaez may be disbarred on this ground. As a member of the Bar, respondent should well know that notarization of a private document converts such document into a public one, and renders it admissible in court without further proof of its authenticity. Notarization engages public interest in a substantial degree and the protection of that interest requires preventing those who are not qualified or authorized to act as notaries public from imposing upon the public and the courts and administrative offices generally. The court ruled that respondent should not be disbarred but he should be suspended as well as his notarial commission.

#25MENDOZA vs. DICIEMBRE Complainant, a postal employee, is a creditor of respondent in the amount of P 20,000 payable in 6 months at 20% interest, secured by 12 blank checks. Complainant although not faithfully paying her obligation, ,but made remittances in the amount of P12,910 in respondent's Metrobank account. Not satisfied with the remitted amount, respondent filled up two postal checks she issued in blank, in the amount of P50,000 each in which respondent claimed was for the P100,000 cash that complainant received in Nov. 15,1999. Complainant denied having borrowed the P100, 000 from respondent and claimed that respondent victimized other employees of Postal Office by filling up without authorization, blank checks issued to him as condition for loans.

The case was referred to the IBP where it was initially found out in the Report dated Sept. 6, 2002, finding respondent guilty of dishonesty. The Supreme Court remanded the case and a second Report was made by Commissioner Funa stating among others, that respondent's allegations are mere fabrications for there were contradicting allegations. The loan alleged by respondent to have happened on November 15, 1999 never took place as it was respondent's modus operandi to demand a certain amount as "settlement" for the dropping of estafa complaints against his borrowers. The IBP in its Resolution indefinitely suspended Diciembre from practice of law.

ISSUE: Is the indefinite suspension against Diciembre proper?

HELD: The Court ruled that Diciembre should not indefinitely suspended but instead be disbarred from the practice of law and his name be stricken out from the Roll of Attorneys. Respondent is guilty of gross misconduct and violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 7, Rule 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. CANON 1 A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes. Rule 1.01. - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. CANON 7 A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and support the activities of the integrated bar. Rule 7.03. A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor should he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession. The fact that there is no attorney-client relationship in this case and the transactions entered into by respondent were done in his private capacity cannot shield respondent, as a lawyer, from liability. A lawyer may be disciplined for acts committed even in his private capacity for acts which tend to bring reproach on the legal profession or to injure it in the favorable opinion of the public.28 Indeed, there is no distinction as to whether the transgression is committed in a lawyer's private life or in his professional capacity, for a lawyer may not divide his personality as an attorney at one time and a mere citizen at another.29 In this case, evidence abounds that respondent has failed to live up to the standards required of members of the legal profession.