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JORGE A. PASCUA FACTS: Private respondent Atty. Jorge Pascua filed a complaint for collection of attorneys fees for not having received compensation for his professional services as a counsel against his former clients, Petitioner Andres Sumaoang and his brothers. The Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija rendered judgment in favor of herein private respondent and awarded to him the sum of P110, 000.00 as attorneys fees. Petitioner filed a petition asking for the nullification of the aforesaid decision of the lower court on the contention that the award of P110, 000.00 as attorneys fees was unconscionable. ISSUE: Whether or not HELD: A lawyer it not merely the defender of his client's cause and a trustee of his client in respect of the client's cause of action and assets; he is also, and first and foremost, an officer of the court and participates in the fundamental function of administering justice in society. It follows that a lawyer's compensation for professional services rendered are subject to the supervision of the court, not just to guarantee that the fees he charges and receives remain reasonable and commensurate with the services rendered, but also to maintain the dignity and integrity of the legal profession to which he belongs. Upon taking his attorney's oath as an officer of the court, a lawyer submits himself to the authority of the courts to regulate his right to charge professional fees. In the instant case, the Court considers that the fees which private respondent Atty. Pascua received from petitioner and his brothers became unreasonable and unconscionable in character, not because the original agreement between Atty. Pascua and his clients was itself unreasonable and unconscionable but rather as a result of the subsequent dispositions of the trial court.

Case no. 34 SESBREO VS CA G.R. No. 117438 June 8, 1995 FACTS: Petitioner Atty. Raul H. Sesbreo was hired as counsel of fifty-two employees who sued the Province of Cebu and then Governor Rene Espina for their reinstatement and back wages. Thirty-two of said employees signed two documents whereby they agreed to pay petitioner 30% as attorney's fees and 20% as expenses to be taken from their back salaries. Ten employees, herein private respondents, filed manifestations before the trial court asserting that they agreed to pay petitioner 40% to be taken only from their back salaries. The trial court fixed petitioner's attorney's fees at 40% of back salaries, terminal leave, gratuity pay and retirement benefits and 20% as expenses, or a total of 60% of all monies paid to the employees. Not satisfied with the attorney's fees fixed by the trial court, petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals claiming additional fees for legal services before the Supreme Court, reimbursement for expenses and a clear statement that the fee be likewise taken from retirement pay awarded to his clients. The appellate court noted that in this jurisdiction, attorneys fees are always subject to judicial control and deemed the award of 20% of the back salaries awarded to private respondents as a fair, equitable and reasonable amount of attorney's fee. ISSUE: WON attorneys fees are always subject to judicial control. HELD: It is a settled rule that what a lawyer may charge and receive as attorney's fees is always subject to judicial control. A lawyer is primarily an officer of the court charged with the duty of assisting the court in administering impartial justice between the parties. When he takes his oath, he submits himself to the authority of the court and subjects his professional fees to judicial control.


Private respondent Interbank, constrained to seek judicial remedy, through its counsel Norberto J. Quisumbing and Associates, for collection of sum of money with an application for a writ of preliminary attachment against RWI and Guevara covering the principal sum of P1,585,933.61 plus penalties, service charges, interests, attorney's fees, costs and exemplary damages. Thereafter, further proceedings were conducted by the trial court particularly on the issue of the alleged unreasonableness and unconscionableness of the attorney's fees. It appears from the records of the cases, however, that Atty. Norberto J. Quisumbing, counsel for the private respondent Interbank, was able to adduce his evidence in support for the attorney's fees due to his said client, while Attys. Reyes and Guevara, counsel for petitioners in the trial court, were not given their request for further hearing against the claimed attorney's fees. The trial court reduced Interbank's claim for attorney's fees, from the stipulated 10 % to 8 %. Not satisfied with said trial court's order, petitioners appealed the same before the respondent appellate court; however, the latter affirmed in toto the assailed order of the trial court. Petitioners filed a petition for review of the assailed decision on the contention that the amount equivalent to 8 % of the recovery or sums of money due from the two civil complaints adjudged as attorney's fees by the trial court and affirmed by the respondent appellate court, is fair and reasonable and whether the court has discretion to modify the attorney's fees previously agreed upon by the parties under a valid contractual stipulation.

ISSUE: Whether or not


The high standards of the legal profession as prescribed by law and the Canons of Professional Ethics regulate if not limit the lawyer's freedom in fixing his professional fees. The moment he takes his oath, ready to undertake his duties first, as a practitioner in the exercise

of his profession, and second, as an officer of the court in the administration of justice, the lawyer submits himself to the authority of the court. It becomes axiomatic therefore, that power to determine the reasonableness or the unconscionable character of attorney's fees stipulated by the parties is a matter falling within the regulatory prerogative of the courts.

Case no. 32
G.R. No. 81830 October 1, 1990 RAYMUNDO HIPOLITO, JR., in his capacity as President and Chief Executive of SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION EMPLOYEES UNION (SMCEU) AND RODOLFO DESTURA, Union Treasurer, petitioners, vs. HON. PURA FERRER-CALLEJA, Bureau of Labor Relations Director, Department of Labor and Employment, Manila, HON. EDGARDO DE LA CRUZ, Med-Arbiter, National Capital Region, Department of Labor and Employment, Manila and DANIEL L. BORBON II, respondents. Raymundo Hipolito III for petitioners. Romeo C. Lagman for private respondent. FACTS:

Private respondent alleged the unilateral appointment by petitioner Hipolito, Jr. of his son, Atty. Raymundo Hipolito III as union counsel of the SMCEU in which petitioner is the president, as there was no resolution from the union's board of directors either appointing Atty. Hipolito as counsel or authorizing the payment of attorney's fees. The Med-Arbiter found that the union's board did not engage the services of Atty. Hipolito as union counsel, but ruled that the attorney's fees collected, if any, should be considered as payment for services rendered as a professional. On appeal, public respondent BLR upheld the Med-Arbiter's finding that the appointment was made without board authority but declared that since the appointment was ultra vires, it is illegal, and therefore Atty. Hipolito is not entitled to any legal fee. As a consequence, petitioners were ordered to return to the union the amount of P130,000.00 paid to Atty. Hipolito. Petitioners, however, maintain that the absence of a board resolution should not negate the fact that Atty. Hipolito had rendered service to the union for which he deserved remuneration. ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Hipolito is entitled to be paid for his legal services he rendered in the said Union. HELD: While it is true that Atty. Hipolito was not appointed by the board, the facts of the case show that not only did the board itself acknowledge and make use of the services of Atty. Hipolito, but that such services redounded to the benefit of the union. Taken together, these circumstances, i.e., that notwithstanding the absence of an express authority from the board, Atty. Hipolito represented the union with the knowledge and acquiescence of the board, and

the acceptance of benefits arising from the service rendered, entitle Atty. Hipolito to the reasonable value of his professional services on a quantum meruit basis. In determining the amount of attorney's fees on quantum meruit, the Court invariably takes into account the amount and character of the services rendered, the labor, time and trouble involved, the nature and importance of the activity in which the services were rendered, the responsibility imposed, and the results secured. In view of the foregoing, the Court declares the amount of P130,000.00 previously paid to Atty. Hipolito to be reasonable compensation for services rendered. Thus, petitioners' payment of P130,000.00 as legal fees in favor of Atty. Hipolito is deemed a reasonable expenditure of union.


Petitioner Quirante filed a motion in the trial court for the confirmation of his attorney's fees. According to him, there was an oral agreement between him and the late Dr. Casasola with regard to his attorney's fees, which agreement was allegedly confirmed in writing by the widow, Asuncion Vda. de Casasola, and the two daughters of the deceased, namely Mely C. Garcia and Virginia C. Nazareno. Petitioner avers that pursuant to said agreement, the attorney's fees would be computed as follows: A. In case of recovery of the P120,000.00 surety bond, the attorney's fees of the undersigned counsel (Atty. Quirante) shall be P30,000.00. B. In case the Honorable Court awards damages in excess of the P120,000.00 bond, it shall be divided equally between the Heirs of I. Casasola, Atty. John C. Quirante and Atty. Dante Cruz. The trial court granted the motion for confirmation in an order despite an opposition thereto. It also denied the motion for reconsideration of the order of confirmation in its second order. These are the two orders which are assailed in this case. ISSUE: Whether or not the assailed two orders rendered by the respondent court are correct. HELD:
Since the main case from which the petitioner's claims for their fees may arise has not yet become final, the determination of the propriety of said fees and the amount thereof should be held in abeyance. This procedure gains added validity in the light of the rule that the remedy for recovering attorney's fees as an incident of the main action may be availed of only when something is due to the client. The decision of the respondent court subject of the present recourse is hereby AFFIRMED.

NO. 28 G.R. Nos. 89971-75 October 17, 1990 CELIA B. CHUA, MARITES P. MARTINEZ and ARACELI A. ELARDO, For Themselves and in Their Capacity as Attorneys-In-Fact of 2,345, Former Daily-Paid Employees of Stanford microsystems. Inc., LUDIVINA L. SABALZA, ADELIZA E. CANTILLO and REMIGIO P. PESTAO, For Themselves and in Their Capacity As Attorneys-In-Fact of 3,244 Former Daily-Paid Employees of Stanford Microsystems, Inc., MARIO A. MENTIL, REMIGIO F. SANTOS and NOEL VILLENA, For Themselves and in Their Capacity As Attorneys-In-Fact of 599 Former Monthly-Paid Employees of Stanford Microsystems Inc., MAXIMO E. DAQUIL, GEORGE T. BARTOLOME and ERNESTO L. CONCEPCION, For Themselves and in Their Capacity As Attorneys-In-Fact of 300 Former Non-Unionized and Confidential Employees of Stanford Microsystems, Inc., and LIQUIDATION COMMITTEE OF STANFORD MICROSYSTEMS, INC., Duly Appointed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, petitioners, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION LABOR ARBITER DOMINADOR M. CRUZ, Public Respondents, and FERNANDO R.GUMABON, CARMELITA TOLENTINO, RICARTE CABASE, TERESITA ALORAN, ENCARNITA JULIANO, ANITA DAILEG, ERNESTO ALARCON, JOHNNY ARAGON, LEONCIO PIMENTEL, RODOLFO MERCADO, DANIEL ALMAZAN, ORLANDO DE LEON, EDITHA LIMA, MARILYN INES, LINDA ESTABA, NELIA DE BORJA, CECILIA CRUZ, FE RAYALA, ADELIZA MOYA, NATY LAMAN, JANET PONCE, ESTELA ALABASO, MILAGROS CERRA, JOSEPHINE BAYONETA and ANNABELLE SALABIT private respondents.